Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quarter life

I've posted about how my birthday today is not going to be quite the celebration I'd hoped due to the horrific execution of Troy Davis in Georgia.  Now, I want to post about how, well ... I'm twenty-five.

It's weird to think about how much my life has changed over these twenty-five years.  I remember when I was a kid, I had ... no friends.  I was teased a lot, and I don't know why.  I've never been super cool by any standards, but as a six- or seven-year-old, I'm really not sure I was terribly uncool.  I mean, yes, I was hugely bossy, but I don't think I was being teased for that.

And then we moved, and I made friends for the first time.  Many of these people I'm still friends with today.  All of us have changed a lot, and yet we're still together.

I went through weird phases with clothing.  When I was young, I loved wearing pink, and I loved wearing skirts and dresses.  Then I switched gears; I cut my hair to my chin and refused to wear skirts, insisting that my favorite color was orange.  I didn't want to be a boy; I just didn't want to be a girl either.

In late elementary school and early middle school, I dressed extremely unfashionably, even for the late nineties.  I mean, really, really, really unfashionably.  Even throughout high school, I struggled to find a way to dress that I loved.  I went through my punk phase (giant Hot Topic pants and everything), and then settled on boring.  Experiments in fashion failed frequently.  It wasn't until this past year that I've really put myself together, to the point of receiving actual compliments on my outfits.  Huh.

My love life has had its ups and downs.  First was the epic crush I had on a friend who had a crush on me.  The crushes faded, returned, faded, returned, etc., never turning into anything, until we grew apart (or fell apart, more accurately).  My first kiss was at camp, as was my second.  My first boyfriend was a fellow musician, a member of the same Boston groups as I was.  Looking back, I see how UNserious we were, but when I was sixteen, I felt like he was totally perfect for me.  Our break-up threw me into a tailspin, and was the catalyst that brought me to therapy.

My first huge relationship was in college; it was with this boyfriend that I had sex for the first time, and learned how difficult it can be to balance principles with practice.  The relationship ended in a huge emotional mess, and it took me almost a year to pull myself out and move on.  It was then that I finally started dating for the first time, and even when dates sucked, I enjoyed it.

About a year later, I started dating my most recent boyfriend.  It started out with boring dating, became a moderately interesting relationship, and then fizzled.  I still had a tough time when it ended, but moving on was much faster and easier, especially when I realized that there was so much I was ready to give, and that I deserved someone equally giving.

Finally, I learned not to hook up with friends.

My heath has also done some weird-ass shit over the years.  From PCOS to idiopathic hives and angioedema to ulcerative colitis to compartment syndrome ... it's been pretty ridiculous.  Right now, it looks as if I might be emerging from this mess with my health intact.  PCOS seems to have ... well, no impact anymore.  I do have my LOVELY acne back, now that I'm off the pill, but so much of my weight gain was from the pill that I don't think it was fair to think that my PCOS was somehow in full force because of my weight all these years.  Meanwhile, my periods are coming somewhat regularly, or at least every 35 days or so.  Compared to before the pill, this is unprecedented.  I used to go months without a period.  So I guess ... it's gone?

Hives and swelling haven't reared their ugly heads, although I know that going off my antihistamines will change that.  I was having some mild hives along my waistline, from the pressure of my belt, but I realized that my Zyrtec had expired several months before.  New Zyrtec and POOF, hives were gone.  But they're so well under control, I feel as if I'm finally free.  I just have to take an over the counter pill.  That's easy.

Colitis came back last summer and lasted about six months, but hopefully that's the end of it.  I've been fine since January.  And compartment syndrome?  Well, that'll either be cured or not.  We'll find out in a few weeks, when I can run again.

My professional life is so much different than I ever could have expected.  Wasn't I going to be an artist?  An animator?  A flutist?  A veterinarian?  A farmer's wife?  Even in college, I had no idea what I wanted to do.  I still don't know what I want to do, but the difference now is that I'm getting my PhD.  I never thought I would do that until maybe a year and a half ago.  And here I am, in a program at BU, still in Boston.

My family circumstances have also changed.  I went from being super close to my siblings, in a home with two parents, to living with just my mom and sister while my brother was at school, to living on my own and not speaking with my dad or his new family.  My relationships with my siblings are ... complicated.  It's a bit sad, realizing how far from ideal my family is.  But at the same time, I still have a family that cares about me, that supports me.

I lost Lady, our dog since I was seven years old, back when I was twenty-one.  I didn't think she would necessarily be around when I was twenty-five, but losing her was still one of the worst things that ever happened to me.  Our bird, Kiwi, died when I was sixteen, and I didn't know how to mourn.  Now, I have a beautiful parakeet, Loki, who is endlessly adorable and entertaining, and while sometimes I just want to bite his head off, he's very sweet and loving.

Didn't I used to want to own a lion?  Yes.

Speaking of which, my obsession with the Lion King faded with time and was replaced by a similar, albeit more intelligent obsession with the Legend of Zelda video game series.  My favorite TV show went from the Simpsons to That '70s Show to House to Friends to Scrubs to Bones.  Somehow, I'll still watch any episode of Forensic Files that's on.  My musical taste started with the Goo Goo Dolls ... and is still Goo Goo Dolls-centric.

I didn't know how INTO politics I'd be at my age now.  I'm open about being a feminist and an atheist, two things which were absolutely not always true.  I'm working every day to check my cis, white, straight, able-bodied, neurotypical privileges.  I'm so liberal, it hurts being an American right now.  My first time voting, I voted for Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election.  We all know how that went.

When September 11th happened, it was maybe the third day of high school, and I was in class.

My best Halloween costume was when I had swine flu and stayed home as a "sick person."  Okay, no, it was probably last year, when I was Hit Girl, but no one got to see :(

I will celebrate my birthday by teaching lab, going to my classes, and holding office hours.  Then I'll have dinner with my mom and go out with classmates.  Friday, I'll go to my classes and then go out with some friends.  Saturday, I will do work and laundry, and go to a friend's party.  And Sunday, I will have lunch with my grandparents and then be surprised by my childhood friends.

And hopefully, in another 25 years, I'll look back and think, "Wow, look at what's changed and what hasn't!"  It's sort of inevitable, isn't it?

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