Indefinitely growing up

Burning the “Boyfriend Box.”

Finding handwritten notes shaped like a triangle or artfully folded into a square and throwing them away without even reading them.

Not getting upset when your dad paints over the height measurements you –– at 13 –– and your ex boyfriend had recorded in brown Sharpie on your closet’s wooden frame.

Putting that sweater in the donate bin –– even though it still fits you –– because you’ve had it since eighth grade.

Realizing the book “How To Get Over the Nerd You Used To Call Your Boyfriend” your mom gave you when you’d been dumped at 13 isn’t relevant anymore because you can now just buy wine. And get drunk.

Reminiscing for two seconds when you find handwritten essays from your favorite high school English classes (and narcissistically admiring your own cursive)…then adding them to the burn pile.

Wondering why it was ever OK for your high school to give out martini glasses and beer mugs as prom favors while noticing you’d never put pictures in the engraved picture frame they gave out two years later when they finally smartened up (THE GLASSWARE PROMOTES UNDERAGE DRINKING, DUH) because, even then in your teenage naïveté, you probably figured you wouldn’t care about that prom date in a few years.

Throwing out bouquets of dried flowers. Bouquets of fake flowers. Bouquets of roses made of feathers. And a giant-ass Valentine’s Day card.

Rearranging your closet –– ridding it of porcelain dolls you find really creepy, making you wonder who got you interested in collecting them in the first place –– and finding just enough room for each article of clothing you own.

Settling in indefinitely
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Going to a job interview.

Getting the job.

Looking for apartments on Craigslist.

Finding the perfect apartment.

Realizing everything you’d done in your childhood bedroom to settle in for the “long haul” has to be done all over again. This time more thoroughly.

Saying goodbye to more clothing that you’ve had since high school that you really don’t need.

Putting more tee shirts sporting your high school’s musical or play or event into the donate pile.

Preparing yourself for the number of complaints sure to come from your parents and brothers when they see just how much stuff you have to move.

Living for a few more days under your parents’ roof, under their care, under their security blanket.

Looking into buying a washer and dryer, a bed and more furniture for your place.

Growing up.

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Welcome home

Home doesn’t feel like home anymore.

Sure, the dogs greeted me and Weezie the cat made a few appearances, but it’s not my home.

My childhood bedroom with its lime green, sky blue, raspberry pink and orangey orange walls close me in after branching out too far.

I can’t relate to 13-year-old Emily anymore. She’s the one who picked those colors and the bedding. I’m still very colorful, but I shed experiences every time I walk through the doorway. I’m back to the beginning, making the glow-in-the-dark flowers on the ceiling into triangles of Mickey Mouse’s nose and ears. My drawers are full of abandoned poetry books, cellphones and hair accessories. My bedroom door took a beating during my “nobody understands me!”, braces-clad phase. Returning is a bit debilitating and a hit to my morale.

I’m so happy with where I am now.

It’s a new place I am making my own. I’m discovering the area’s quirks, little by little. Thirteen-year-old, metal-mouthed Emily used to gaze in wonder as her oldest brother, Jordan, showed the family around the Chautauqua Institution, an area unbeknownst to us. Now 19-year-old Emily is doing what Jordan did.

I run and check out the neighborhoods. I brought my bike back with me from home this past weekend and discovered a really neat park tonight where I plan to spend a lot of my summer. And you just can’t beat the main, bustling street full of family-owned shops and boutiques. I find something new every time I walk/run/bike down it.

I’m secure with being alone and doing things for me. Running for me. Biking for me. Finding new nooks and new swingsets to swing the evenings away on.

And then watching the sun set every night:

image

The commander, the laughter and the fighter

I laid down on the bed in my multi-colored room. Four walls, four different colors. Sky blue, raspberry, bright orange and light green. My thirteenth birthday present: a grown-up room.

Image…and yet, not quite. On the orange wall next to the window, I pinned a Powerpuff Girl poster. A Paramore poster is above it, sure, but the real glint of my childhood shines from the Powerpuff Girl one.

I’ve written about them before. I was obsessed as a kid. Powerpuff Girl shoes, backpacks, socks, purses, shirts, movies, pencil cases, pencils to put in the pencil cases, books, dolls… you get the point.

It wasn’t until yesterday that I realized how The Powerpuff Girls really influenced me.

Here’s how the theme song goes:

Blossom, commander and the leader 
Bubbles, she is the joy and the laughter 
Buttercup, she’s the toughest fighter 

I looked at the poster on my wall. All three of the girls floating, their jets of color trailing along behind them. That theme song ran through my head. Along with my epiphany.

I am all three of The Powerpuff Girls.

I’m bossy like Blossom, sweet (and apparently “cute,” some would say) like Bubbles and a tough cookie like Buttercup.

I like to lead, but I also like to laugh and make other people smile. And when necessary, I can be pretty ferocious, especially when I’m fighting for something I believe in.

The Powerpuff Girls –– along with my mother, of course –– taught me how to be the woman I’ve become. I’m not taking their poster down any time soon.

C’mon, let’s face it, who doesn’t love little kindergarten-age girls who kick ass and save the world, all before bedtime? You’re crazy if you don’t.

Just listen

If you’ve been reading Blackbyrd for as long as it has existed, you might be aware I purchased a record player when I was fifteen (if I remember correctly). I hauled up my parents’ old records, dusted them off and stuck them under the needle. I found Joan Jett & the Black Hearts, Pat Benatar, Boston, REO Speedwagon and the like. Like anything, I discovered a favorite among them: Styx.

Whenever I put a record under the needle and let it spin with my dad in earshot, he appears in my doorway. It never fails. He’ll stand there for awhile, just listening. Each song that comes on with the different pattern of lines on the record receives a “whoa, good song!” and he’ll sit. We sit and just listen. Records are flipped, removed and added.

During the ride hom from the Bona game (WE WON AFTER TWO OTs!), I plugged in my iPod Classic and scrolled to find Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Styx and Supertramp. From there, I made a playlist and we listened to whatever song came on. The driving conditions were not preferable, and yet we sat with the music blasting, turning it up when the beat picked up and turning the dial to the left during softer parts. “Time For Me To Fly” got us to sing every word (of course, we know every word) and “Too Much Time On My Hands” got me clapping. If I know the company riding with me, I tend to play music I know they would like. The plus side with Dad’s music is this: I love it just like he does. We both enjoy it, and each time, a story about his childhood and teenage years comes out of the songs. He tells me how he was able to relate to songs Styx put out when he was a kid. He loves how their lyrics come from situations they faced in real life. Everything about Styx is relatable.

We drove those black, rainy country roads in a purply-blue Bug singing our hearts out.

I couldn’t help but think nights like tonight are what I’m going to tell my kids about.

 

 

One time we watched this concert on TV. It’s amazing (and I have a huge crush on Tommy Shaw, which is quite strange seeing as how I think he and my dad look very alike…).