Ever since I graduated from college, I've been putting off turning into that weird thing that I call a "grown-up" and think of as completely separate from myself. To be honest, it's embarrassing to me that I think this way. Because I should be excited to get older. And sometimes I am... kind of. But mostly it just scares the shit out of me.
Probably because I think about being an adult the way I've seen it in movies and read about in books. Where you suddenly panic that all your neck skin is shriveling and that you're going to develop unbearable bunions. It's not cute.
So for a while I insisted on living like a child still: eating Oreos on special occasions and staying awake until 3am just to prove I still can. Which is even more embarrassing because I'm only 23. By all accounts, I am still an infant.
Then, today, I came across this poem, which I must have written sometime when I was still in college. And it so perfectly captures my mental state when it comes to growing up: if it can't be unabashedly glamorous, I'm not interested.
My Imagined Life
I miss my imagination.
The anxiety I faced from playing house
And worrying that my baby dolls
Would never get into college.
I miss cutting out dresses
With fold-over tabs
And shopping for plastic
Making room for imaginary friends
To sit next to me
On the sofa--
I’m getting old.
I hear myself say things like
"Kids these days"
And "When I was young"
And I feel my hair turning grey
My arthritis flaring up
The pains in my hip
When it’s about to rain.
I am old.
Feels like fake teeth old
And dinner by 4 old.
Feels like playing bingo and scrabble and
What happened to my make-believe,
Fairy tale life?
Where I had three movie deals
And two clothing lines
Where my phone rang off the hook
And my boyfriends waited around the block
And someone was hired to do my hair
Because I was
When did I shave my head--
And get responsible?
Bald and tall---
I am my baby doll in college.
To say Ma-ma or just cry
And I miss my imagination.
I want to color by number,
And paint pictures with my fingers,
Feel like a princess in a castle
Feel like playing hide and seek and cops and robbers
And pudding cups.
Feel like telling him he has cooties
So he’ll leave me alone.
I have lost my imagination.
Replaced it with primetime television
And seven letter words.
Somewhere my imaginary friend
Has made it.
She has a new perfume coming out in spring
And a boyfriend named Jean Claude.
She wears high-heeled shoes
To the set of her next movie
And someone does her hair
She wears cut out dresses
With fold-over tabs
And shops for plastic real estate…
And when we run into each other,
Darling--- look at us.
We’re getting so old.