I’ve watched the rain droplets summon on the window for thirty seconds now. It’s dark outside, so I cannot see much. These four walls that surround me, this big brown house that holds them, is cold. Do I hold myself and cry under cotton sheets or do I perform cartwheels across the room? Do I laugh and smile, or do I hang my head and cry? Do I thank God for another year or do I get angry for another year closer to no more years?
I glance at my phone screen.
In less than 24 hours, I will be an adult.
I will be eligible for lots of things: voting, driving, drinking, real doctor appointments with real doctors, being compared to Kylie Jenner at 18, two numbers closer to not remaining a teen, expected not to burp in public, be told to “act your age”, making life altering choices, having my own *~insurance~*.
Being sixteen is so young sounding, and seventeen sounds so transitory, while eighteen just screams “awkward adult.” The thought of remaining in that bubble frightens and excites me. I want it to pop, but I enjoy the thin film of protection it offers. It seems I am bursting with contradictions tonight.
Reader, we have grown together. Being seventeen has taught me many things, and as a tradition, I’d like to share those things with you as long as some of my fondest memories and moments.
So this is it. I’ve remained a nuisance for 6, 205 days and it has been fantastic. I’m more happy than I am sad, and I’m more grateful above it all. Another rotation around the sun, and god damn it was great.
"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these."
Forensics class is not where many people go for blog post inspiration, or life changing thought, for that matter.
This most recent chapter, which my favorite group of hyperactive teenagers still found some way to poke jokes at, was about the stages of decomposition. From maggots to body farms, I had the opportunity to see my body for what it really was: a clump of the cells and organs in my bones that one day, will decide to stop doing what they do. And that day will be my last.
Yes, the same body I spent hours dressing, training, loving, and hating. The same locks I spent hours caressing, flat ironing, curling, turning, and twisting. The same eyes I loved looking at the stars with. The nose I spent hours watching in the mirror with a frown. All of me...tucked into a six foot deep hole in the cold, dark ground. All of me: from rotting flesh, a fine dust, to bones.
In that moment, I will not be Duriba. I will be the grave you tell your little sister not to step on (it’s bad manners!). I will be a half eaten corpse under white fabric. I will not come back. You will not see my smile, or hear my voice, or feel the warmth of my body beside yours. If you look hard enough, you will see me in photographs, and hear audio clips, and you will close your eyes and remember the things we did together, and you will smile. Cry, maybe. But I will not come back. I cannot.
And one day, if you miss me enough, you’ll come to pay respect to my body. You’ll stand before a poorly decorated tombstone and pray for me, and I’ll be happy about that. Maybe you’ll leave tulips. I’ll thank you, but you won’t hear me.
But thankfully, today is not that day.
Every single day you come home unharmed and loved is a blessing.
You may have heard this too many times, or maybe not enough times. Nonetheless, I’ll say it again. I’ll say it however many times I need to to get my point across, that life is not something you can take for granted. You are blessed for all of your fingers, fully functioning organs, and the ability to move and breathe without being hooked up to a machine.
You could be driving home and lose a leg, or you could be walking to class and lose your life. So please, your issues are not as big as they seem; you don’t own all the world’s problems. Every day, minute, and second is solely a blessing from God almighty. So practice kindness, and speak the truth. Never put anybody down, and be patient. It could be better, but it could be worse.
“Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you.”
When I ask myself, “where do I see myself in the future, some ten, fifteen years or so?” I never have an exact answer.
In fact, I’ve pictured all the possibilities.
A small, teal, victorian style house around downtown with an art gallery and profound garden. A book written, a degree earned. I’ve even pictured inviting neighbors over: placing cute little tea cups and biscuits before them, making anything but small talk. On weekdays, I’ll sit and write in the morning, on weekends I’ll rise early to jog with a friend. Maybe I’ll have a husband, maybe I won’t. I won’t mind if I won’t.
My car will break down for the fourth time, and this time will be the worst. I’ll dial my father, only to realize that I haven’t paid my phone bill. Not because I forgot to, but because I couldn’t afford it. I’ll have the same clothes since the twelfth grade, and they’ll be holes in my shoes. The hot Texas sun will beat against my cheeks through the battered windshield, and I’ll roll the windows down, pretending to help the situation. I’ll pray a little, then fall asleep in the backseat.
A trendy condo in one of the tallest buildings in the world, luscious long hair and long eyelashes. Except I don’t know how my lashes will just become longer. They just will. I’ll likely have a little poodle named something superficial, like “Cinnamon Dolce Latte” or “Coco”. I’ll wear high heels that make my ankles hurt and pretend to enjoy it. I’ll know many famous people, and I’ll wear sunglasses indoors.
The craziest part of it all?
Whether I end up in one of these three scenarios of beyond depends on the choices I make today, tomorrow, and within this next hour.