I’ve always walked a fine line of being perfectly healthy and utterly unhealthy.
I never drink soda, energy drinks, or coffee. I don’t like donuts because they’re too sweet for me.
However, I do have impulses to eat any and all food in front of me without any self control to stop, especially when it comes to binge-worthy snacks like chips or cookies, though I rarely buy them on my own. I always got excited for random road trips where we stop at McDonalds for McFlurries or fries. I never liked vegetables as a kid. I liked the basic ones like corn and carrots, sometimes peas or green beans, but I would be repulsed at the sight of an avocado back in the day.
But, lately, something has changed.
My family always said it’d happen eventually, that I’d eventually start liking the vegetables. I’d always say no to them when we’re out at restaurants and laughed at them for thinking I’d change. Vegetables were disgusting, weren’t they?
But the last several times I’ve had fast food, I’ve felt sick to my stomach and just thinking about having it makes me sick. I bought snacks today, but just a couple bites made me put them back in the drawer and I’ve had no desire to bring them out like I usually do. I’ve said no thank you to ordering desserts at restaurants and haven’t had anything else to drink this week except water and half a strawberry lemonade.
Then, there’s the vegetables. Brussel sprouts have become one of my top favorite vegetables and I get excited for them when they’re at restaurants. Whenever I go home and my uncle asks me what I want for dinner, I get more excited about asparagus than anything else and lately I’ve had a strong craving for guacamole, something I used to cringe at the thought of.
I guess it’s weird. I didn’t imagine the day I’d like avocados – or any other vegetable for that matter – would ever come, but it did. It might just be my taste buds changing, but I guess it’s just a part of growing up.
I like coffee now. I used to always think it tasted like fancy dirt water, no matter how much milk and sugar I’d put in it.
But, I really like it now. I like the deep, bitter taste of it and I especially like the smell of it.
I’m starting to like a lot of those things that I used to consider “adult things”. I like watching the news or reading articles on whether or not organic eggs are better than regular eggs. I like having red wine with my dinner (only when I’m in Germany, I promise). I like waking up early on the weekends, to get as much out of my day as possible, and even take in a pastel sunrise once in a while.
I guess I’ve waited for this period in my life for a long time now. I always imagined that when I’d graduate, I’d essentially be an adult. I’d be mature and responsible. I’d be a little taller at least and my skin would have cleared up and I would know how to do taxes.
Truth is, I’m still getting there. Maybe I won’t grow any taller and maybe I’ll need to work on my maturity a bit, but I’m on the right track. I’m transitioning, I guess.
All this is what I’ve been waiting for, and it’s exciting. But, I like coffee now and it makes me sad, because I realize that, soon, I won’t be able to be a kid anymore.
When I was around six years old, I remember my parents slowly walking up to me in the morning and giving me a hug. They kneeled down beside me and said in a soft, slow, sad, and apologetic voice: “I’m sorry, honey. The raccoons got Mrs. Frizzel last night.”
I sobbed for hours. I was sad for days. I made my parents have a funeral. My tears fell to the ground as we buried my dead chicken. My parents bought a chick that I raised and loved, but I still missed Mrs. Frizzel.
When I was eight, Fluffy and Ginger passed away. My parents broke the news to me in the same way. I cried the same way as I had before. I got two more chicks.
When I was twelve, my parents again approached me with the same sad tone and told me that that a couple of our chickens died in their sleep. I didn’t cry as much when they died, partially because I was old enough to understand that everything dies of old age at some point. It was much more bearable. I would be sad, but not sobbing like I had done in the past.
Today, I came home and asked if he bought food at the store. He said no. Something happened, so he had to come home. “What I happened?” I asked.
“The neighbors dog got into our yard and into the chicken coop,” he said with a flat tone.
“You stopped right, the chickens are okay?”
“No,” he said. “They are dead, all but three are dead.” He said it with the same flat tone.
He just told me straight up, assuming I wouldn’t be sad. No soft, slow, sad, or apologetic voice. He patted my back and walked away.
I went outside. The corpses were gone. All that remained was feathers.
Eight year old me popped in to my mind. The funeral for Mrs. Frizzel. My parents stroking my back and telling me everything was going to be okay.
There would be no funeral, my dad had put their limp bodies in the trash before I came home. There would be no comfort from my parents. Fifteen year olds don’t cry when their chickens die.
I’m shouldn’t be sad. I’m too old to be sad. But, I’m sad.
I remembered holding the chickens when they were less than a week old. Moving them to the big coop when they were old enough. Hand-feeding them mealworms and celebrating the day that they laid their first egg.
I raised them. They are dead now.
If I was a child I would be sobbing in my parents arms. Now, I’m sobbing alone.
I know if I went to them they would comfort me, but there’s an age where you need to accept reality on your own.
Being treated like a child is now nonexistent. Just like my chickens.
When I was little, if I had a lot of homework, my parents would tell me I could do it and tell me I could have a cookie when I finished. Now, when I complain about my homework, they say lots of homework is part of growing up.
When I was little, my parents were by me at every moment to guide me through life. Now, I am old enough where I need to handle things on my own.
When I was younger, my parents could fix everything. They could make everything feel better. In their arms, I was safe.
Yes, the death of my chickens is part of the reason I’m crying. But, there’s more to the tears running down my cheek.
No matter how much I want to believe it, my parents can’t fix everything. As much as I want it to, they can’t hug me and make me not be sad. As desperately as I want to deny it, my parents can’t protect me anymore.
I don’t know why all of this came from a dog breaking into my chicken coop, but it did…
Rest in peace Lucky, Trouble, Darwin, Lemon, Pepper, Oreo, and Henry. I may not be a child anymore, but I still love you and miss you.
It’s something we all do, but it seems as though no one talks about it. There’s no step-by-step books, no instructions. Nothing to guide you, nobody that tells you exactly what to do. Yet, everyone acts like they know everything.
No one admits that they mess up, that they don’t know what to do or that they are grasping at straws like the rest of us. It’s scary to admit I don’t know what I am doing because I feel as though I’ll be standing alone.
I’m scared that in August I will be living on my own. I’m scared of being on the other side of the country from my mom. I’m scared of having to figure most things out on my own.
I’m also so excited to start my life. I’m excited to be in control of what I do. Most of all, I am excited to show the world who I am and see where it takes me.
When I was in elementary school I first encountered Calvin and Hobbes. Since then it has resurfaced in various parts of my life surprisingly more and more topically.
Bill Watterson’s perennial comic often addresses the problems and anxieties of growing up, the pain of reality, and everything in between.
Watterson manages to cleverly address issues that still persist today through the eyes of the constantly adventurous and surprisingly observant six-year-old boy.
To this day, I find myself enjoying the comics in spare moments, pulling out weather-beaten copies with broken binding hoping to find a laugh or something to prove that I’m not just panicking, that growing up is indeed hard.
Watterson manages to perfectly characterize the angsty feelings of growing up and having to face oncoming reality, and sometimes it just makes me laugh and feel happy despite the panic I feel about having to continue to grow into adulthood.
But my personal favorite remains the very last panel Watterson ever drew for Calvin and Hobbes:
Monogamy as a concept is a strange thing, but little girls are taught from early childhood to believe that it is the ultimate goals.
More than half of my friends parents are divorced, often times with one parent leaving the other behind completely abandoned.
For me, I don’t even remember my parents kissing because I was so young when they divorced. Yet, pretty much every story I was read at night ended with a boy and a girl falling in love and living happily ever after.
Now, I sit here in my late teenage years watching beautiful relationships turn toxic in the blink of an eye.
What was once the most amazing time of your life quickly becomes a distant and wildly painful memory.
I just broke up with the first person that I’ve ever loved and because of that I’m feeling certain emotions that I’ve never felt before.
I’m not sure how to dispose of these feelings for someone who I’m still kind of in love with, even though they hurt me so deeply and so consistently.
How do you know your last kiss will be your last kiss?
How do you know when he says “I love you” that it will be the last time you ever hear those words grace his lips.
There is no rule book on this stuff – no matter how much I wish there was.
My mom always said “love shouldn’t hurt”, and that is a major factor into why certain relationships of mine have ceased to exist.
But mom, you’re wrong.
It hurts when you’re so full of passion that your heart could practically explode.
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