become what you are

by s.

The morning that you wake up and realize that the person you are is a person you are perfectly happy to be takes place shortly after your 30th birthday. You wake up with the familiar feeling that you’re performing a silent version of Angela Chase dancing to the Violent Femmes. You are totally over Jordan Catalano!

As it happens, like most high school boyfriends, Jordan Catalano is really a compendium of the things you don’t like about yourself.

You plant things because you like playing in dirt. You like the way dirt smells. You fall asleep in your backyard in the afternoon listening to Bad Company’s two decent albums, and you get a sunburn. You know very well how bad the sun is for you, but you can’t help but think that it feels really healthy.

You enjoy sweating.

Some time after you wake up, you think about all of the years when your rough edges embarrassed you. You know that you swear too much, and that when you get frustrated you say what you mean all too easily. You tell stories when you’re drinking, and they are sometimes long and sometimes inappropriate. You still think you look odd in pants that aren’t jeans, and even as you assert your womanhood, you are someone who always wants to be climbing a tree or getting a new tattoo or drinking a glass of scotch.

(Your co-workers will always comment on the latter. “Look at you, you badass,” they say, and you can never tell whether they admire your drinking choices or are judging them.)

As you wake up from your brief nap, you examine the dirt in your fingernails as Bad Company’s “Shooting Star” floats through the stereo speakers, and you realize: the day you become comfortable with who you are is also the day you realize you have grown up to become your father.