Ready For All Things: A Femsplain Response

Written as a response to Femsplain’s prompt of Impermanence

I’m thirteen, and my bedroom has pink walls. My best friend lives around the corner and we see each other almost daily, to the point where her home is my home and her family is my family. I attend a small private school where I know each classmate and each teacher knows my brother and me.

I’m waiting for my first real kiss. I’m hoping that a day will come when I’m tall and beautiful and when I’ll feel comfortable in my own skin. Until then, I spend my days singing karaoke in my friends’ bedrooms and playing hide and seek in my neighborhood. I don’t think about time or worry about the future. All I’m planning for is the summer ahead.

***

I’m seventeen, and my dorm room has stone walls. My best friends live across campus in another building. We found each other in high school, and have created a lifetime of inside jokes in the four years that we’ve known each other. We attend a large, public university in the city I call home and I’m struggling to find my place here among all of its students.

I’m waiting to fall in love. I’m hoping to find new experiences and adventure, but I’m not sure if I can find that where I’m at right now. I spend my days studying and my nights wondering if I made the right choice. I think about how time is moving so fast, and I worry about the future daily. I’m planning for the semester ahead.

***

I’m twenty-one, and my apartment has white walls. My best friends live in the same complex, but a floor below. They have made this new school feel like home, and have been by my side through my lowest lows. We attend a small university among the cornfields in Iowa, where I know nearly every student and my professors have become close mentors.

I no longer have to wait for love or heartache because I’ve felt it all. I’m hoping that this next transition will be kind, but I have a strong feeling that there are great challenges ahead. I spend my days trying to retain my status as an excellent student, and my nights laughing and dancing in crowded living rooms. I think about how I want these moments to last forever, and I worry about how unknown the future is. I’m trying to plan but at this point, it seems foolish.

***

I’m twenty-three, and my bedroom has blue walls. My best friend lives in a city nine-hundred miles away. We thank technology daily for keeping us together, but count the days until we can meet each other again for a new adventure. We’ve graduated college together and have been present for the big decisions that weigh heavily on our shoulders. She is graduating from her master’s program, while I have just decided to start one.

I’m waiting for my new beginning. I’m hoping that this fresh start is the answer that I’ve been desperately searching for. I spend my days chasing my niece around the home I grew up in, and my nights staring at the ceiling wondering how I got back here. I think about how precious time is, and realize that the future is as fragile as I am. I know that the best way to make God laugh is by telling him my plans.

***

Nothing is permanent, not bedroom walls or childhood friends. The cities keep changing, and I change along with them. It used to bother me, all this change. It used to make me mad when my parents told me that I would outgrow people and experiences. I used to want to hang on to it all. I kept my hands balled into fists not realizing that it was slipping away regardless, like sand.

I’m beginning to understand that it is best to keep my hands stretched open. It makes it easier to catch what is coming, even though it is impossible to know what will fall from the sky next. I still fear loss and heartache, but the fear is what makes me appreciate the present all the more.

So, all of this change? Well, in times of uncertainty I turn to the classic wisdom of, Gilmore Girls. I too have decided to adopt the motto of the life and death brigade, “In Omnia Paratus!” Which means, “ready for anything.” And with all that I’ve been through, I know that I am.

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