Chapter 12: Oh, the Serenity of Seniority
I wish it was that easy.
I wish I could say that the last four years flew by, just like everyone said they would. I am tempted to.
This statement, however, would do ‘these last four years’ a grave injustice. It would be as if I painted a masterpiece in slow-to-dry oil paint and then wiped my forearm across the canvas’ surface in a grand gesture of hatred for dust and desire for cleanliness, forgetting it was still trying to dry.
It is within this penultimate chapter of this digital memoir that I finally attempt to explain the complete and utter resonance Murphy’s law holds within my years maturing within an educational institution. The Murphy’s law sentiment doesn’t lie in what’s going wrong at the first possible second, it lies more so in the facts I knew about myself that let my mind sink into the concrete of my stubbornness while my identity was miles away, developing into who I am. It may hold a weaker resonance for you, dear reader, or none, in fact, at all. If these small, contrasting memories do anything for you, I hope they offer an ultimate sense of closure and contentedness-because though I still suffer from this STD called life and all of its symptoms, I’ve finally realized that it’s nothing to be ashamed of; we all have it, and we’ll all die of it in the end. No matter how morbid the thought, it’s freeing and comforting knowing that in this truth, none of us can stand to be alone.
Fortunately, I have the choice to divulge what I wish with this keyboard at the beck and call of my fingertips. Some Murphy-isms within my life are a tad too personal to relay to such a broad and anonymous audience, and with that disclaimer and assurance, we shall begin.
Idiom #1-Approximate age, 12: “I don’t want to go out for diving.”
Oh, honey. Honey honey baby child. You’ll hate me for saying this, and you’ll hate yourself even more when you realize it. Swallow your pride and admit it-mom and dad are right. That gymnastics background of yours honestly will come in handy. Not only that, but you’ll acquire a varsity letter and the “puzzle piece” award on senior night; “Because it’s like she’s been here the whole time”. Try not to cry. Please. You’ve spent enough time submerged underwater.
Idiom #2-Approximate age, cognitive awareness-11: “I’m Christian, and nothing will ever change that.”
You were partially right. You believe in a higher power; why not the one you were raised to have faith in? You still believe he’s the Father, you still pray, you just get a little uncomfortable during organized worship. It feels a little cult-like, I get it. Thank God (no pun intended) you finally realized there was a bug up your butt when you really thought about why you were considering staying after school to argue evolution with your Earth Science teacher.
There’s no harm in following your affinity for Eastern philosophy and tradition, girl. You might find that their values are thoughts you’ve been thinking since you could form cohesive thought and that some of their rituals actually involve that funny-looking, smoking stick that mom sometimes sticks into a platter and lights like a candle. Once again, that gymnastics could one day come in handy, but on a yoga mat instead of a diving board. Namaste.
Idiom #3-Approximate age, cognitive awareness-14: “I wouldn’t date someone in any grade above me.”
Why do you put these restrictions on yourself? I remember when you were afraid to talk to anyone with any label that created an assumption that they were older than you. You don’t feel like you meld with anyone in your grade? WIDEN YOUR CIRCLE AND EXPLORE. There’s a reason people mistake you for being a year or two older than you are, and with that height, it isn’t your looks. The fact that you’re worrying they’ll think you’re immature is a pretty strong indicator that this foreseen outcome is unlikely.
Somehow, you’ll get out of that wacky little un-comfort-zone you’ve created for yourself and discover many close friends this way. Some of them best friends. Some of whose hearts you’ll break. You’ll cry for days. You’ll survive.
Idiom #4-Approximate age, cognitive awareness-16: “I will not follow in my biological mother’s footsteps. An romantic age gap larger than two years is unfathomable.”
Good job lying to yourself for sixteen years.
Idiom #5-Approximate age, 8: “I’ll never be mentally ill.”
This is bordering on the edge of a little personal here, but in this case, I’m divulging this information in order to help apply community to any reader who is going through or has gone through similar issues.
There are words for being tired and on edge all the time. For when you think your friends despise you, even when you logically know this cannot be true; they’d tell you. They would, wouldn’t they? That’s why bullying is an issue, because people tell each other all the time. There is a word for making sure you eat, but never eating more than that, and doing your best to burn at least half its worth in calories when you get home. These are words you don’t want to hear. You still don’t want to hear them, even if some are now fading. These words you need to cling to like your name. Do not reject them. You must understand them, understand how they relate to you and you respond to them if you must begin to attempt to run them down like a Queen conquering her enemies.
Idiom #6-Approximate age, 7: “I hate writing.”
What a punk.
Idiom #7-Approximate age, 10-15: “Poetry is cheesy and I hate it.”
Congratulations! Poetry is cheesy! It’s almost like people, I dunno, have emotions and strong feelings about specific topics and want to attack them in such a way that is humorous, painful, sanguine, etc. etc. etc. for themselves, a friend, or an audience to follow! It’s just like prose, but with a tune like music that is silent and just for you to hear. Don’t even get current you started on slam poetry, ooooh no. It combines your former love for musical performance with your still-strong love for dramatic performance and gee whiz how did you repress this passion for so long?
Idiom #8-Approximate age, cognitive awareness-???: “I’m annoying and twisted and I’m pretty sure I offend like 80% of people.”
Yeah, people will disagree with you this one, eventually even to the extent that you win Homecoming Queen in yet another strange Murphy-ism of events, but maybe you’re just the kind of annoying and offensive people like-Bo Burnham got famous because of that sort of personality. Twisted? Quentin Tarantino, Helena Bonham Carter, Melanie Martinez; that’s all I’m going to tell you. You may not appreciate them now-or even know who they are-but they are going to make you feel right at home within that pastel-colored freak show of a brain.
Idiom #9-Approximate age, 10: “I’m never going to wear short shorts or anything of the kind because I respect myself!”
Fun fact, kiddo: you can wear short shorts and respect yourself. It’s a revolutionary theory, really. Put it into practice sometime.
Idiom #10-Approximate age, 11: “I never want to receive flowers because they’re girly and romantic.”
Pretty sure you’re in the cooties phase still, hun. Nothing wrong with being girly and romantic, as long as you don’t force the appreciation of those things upon others. Remember how you hated that.
The Murphy-isms could go on for days. The more I type, the more I realize I’ve contradicted childish ideals I held as truths for way too long. A part of that is growing up, yes, but the stronger ideals I held on to really did keep me hanging on a rope with weak hands while my feet were in quicksand I didn’t realize was made of glitter and chocolate (on a second thought, I realize this would render the chocolate inedible and the glitter disgusting, but for the sake of me adoring both of these things, let me have my inapplicable fantasy).
Next year, I get to start this entire metamorphosis all over again-I’m starting as a freshman in a completely new environment, and I can’t wait for Murphy to grab me by the legs, turn me upside down, and shake me until I can’t tell which way is right-side up.