In Which I Turn 35: Redux.

I was born thirty-five years ago to parents whom, before I caught in my mother’s womb, wondered if they might be infertile. Heh, even then, I took my own sweet time. My father named me, while my mother was still groggy from drugs and couldn’t protest, after a queen and a princess, “Because she is,” he allegedly said.

I think I remember my first birthday. I squished a cupcake onto an aqua-painted steel highchair tray.

Three-and-a-half: Green Eggs and Ham isn’t a mystery anymore. I’m reading!

In Kindergarten at four, I’m the only kid who knows what ‘soporific’ means.

Six: Ashamed I can’t write in my journal fast enough. My fingers won’t move fast enough to still have legible printing.

Eight years old, and I’m in both enrichment and remedial classes. My brain shows me fireworks and my hands can’t write them down!

I’m eleven, and I’m sitting next to a crying girl. She’s been excluded by the mean girls in the class. They pick on a new girl every day. I’ve also been excluded, so I make it a point to hang with the excluded girl. Every day. The mean girls hate me.

I’m twelve. Icy sweat runs down my back as I tell my teacher that not only girls sew, and his suggestion is misogynistic. Later on, he tells my mother, with some bemusement, that I will never march to a regular drummer.

At fourteen, I ask one of the ‘bad’ kids, in a grade above me, if I can borrow his hat. The popular mean girls never bother me again.

I am sixteen and I am so in love I can hardly stand it.

I am seventeen and I can’t believe I ever thought he was anything at all. I spend my lunch hours sketching my friends or escaping for coffee to a cafe.

Nineteen: Someone pulls the fire alarm at the university pub. Outside in the cold, a sincere engineer hands me a clumsy poem written to my dancing.

I’m twenty-one and I am sobbing my heart out as cars slide by on Pacific Boulevard. The man I love most in the world takes me into his arms.

Belly dancing! I am twenty-three and I cannot believe I’ve found a way to exercise that is this much fun!

Twenty-five. My ex-boyfriend is a monster, a shell of the person I thought he was. Goodbye, monster.

I am twenty-seven. I cannot believe how much the university throws at me, in order for me to become a teacher. It’s like they even hate me for trying. My favourite uncle dies. I don’t have time to grieve, I’ve got so much busywork.

Twenty-eight: This man I am dating is too simple. He must be hiding something.

Thirty: He’s not hiding anything. He is easy in his likes and dislikes. Thank God, because my mother is dying and I hate my job. How the hell did I ever think I could be a teacher?

At thirty-one: Mired in grief. My boyfriend and I move in together. I wake up crying, but I no longer rebel against getting out of bed. I get out of the regular classroom and start tutoring and teaching privately. E points put that I am happier to go to work, even with the dead mother issue.

Thirty-one: small-class ESL doesn’t make me want to kill myself. Result!

When I am thirty-three, my father moves a five-hour journey away. Cue more anger.

Thirty-four: I don’t wake up crying at all, almost. I can have a conversation with my father that lasts more than ten minutes. I’m pretty sure I am an adult.

Bring it on, thirty-five! What happens next?

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