Thursday, August 05, 2004

16 Going on 23

There are mornings that I fall out of bed and wake up in a panic. I’m late for school, the test is today and I overslept; I didn’t study as much as I should’ve; I can’t remember where I left my fluffy hair band and I better hurry if I want to get to class on time to score a seat next to the gorgeous stud I’ve been eyeing for the last two years. My eyes blink insistently until I focus the unfamiliar walls and only then does my mind register… I passed the exam; the guy I thought was a babe turned out to be nothing special; I stopped wearing those kind of hair bands over four years ago and the only thing I’ll be late for if I don’t pick myself off the floor will be the job I’d been dreaming whilst writing that exam.

Who the hell pressed the fast forward button?

Here I am, the woman I hoped I’d be when I was younger. Confident, witty and sharp-tongued. Not only do I have a career with a future but I also have my own apartment, a self-chosen wardrobe and the independence to go with it. Whilst the rest of the world analysed, compared and criticised me, shaping me into the person they wanted me to be… I dreamt of being old enough to stand up for myself and simply be myself… I wanted to be a bitch and today I proudly am a:

Control of

The first night I entered a club, my best friend and I hid behind my mother hoping that no one would notice that we were underage. After my mother had left, we relied on two shots of Sambuca (liquorice flavour, for any of you wondering) just to find the courage to take our jackets off. Once the alcohol eventually kicked in, we worked up the courage to get on the dance floor. We danced, we sang, we had an amazing time and when clock hit three we called my dad to come pick us up. Arriving to cold pizza and sprite, we ended up talking ourselves to sleep with 5fm playing in the background. Back then; our dreams were of being successful career women, confident and independent with cars, a sexy wardrobe and every guy drooling over us. We would have time and money to go out every night and live our lives to the fullest. Things would be different as soon as we had control of our own lives.

“Be careful what you wish for… it just might come true”

These were the words written in my yearbook by my classmate Louisa. I can’t remember her surname anymore, but I’ll never forget her face as she said those words to me. I’ve never forgotten them, especially since I’ve discovered that most of the things you want out of life, don’t really make you as happy as you thought they would. Confident career girl, I am the woman I always dreamed of becoming. Independent and self-supportive; I am capable of making a success of any project I set my mind to and it’s been a long time since my throat hurt from not being able to express myself with words. I learnt to relate to different kinds of people and discovered the fun in flirting. I pay my own bills, wear what I choose and get to put whatever I choose into my shopping trolley… I am responsible for myself… responsibility… the high price you pay for independence.

I’m not a girl… not yet a woman.

Time will pass and things will change but no matter how much I evolve, a part of me will never grow up. At times I feel like anytime soon the alarm clock will ring and I’ll be waking up in my room, finding out that all of this is just another one of my impossible dreams. Living in my apartment at times feels like I’m playing house like I used to with my childhood friend Stacey in my back yard. The last time I saw her, she had turned gothic and had a boyfriend that resembled Count Dracula on Speed. There are mornings that I look at my desk, my computer and my phone ringing and feel like I’m just fooling myself and everyone else around me into believing that I’m capable of the responsible career I’m building, Beneath the make-up, the uniform and the high heels is just a girl and at times I feel like the only person who can see her is my boss who still treats me as a little girl.

Insecure? No… not really. If need be, the strong Arian woman in me comes out and takes control. However, more often than not… I feel the need to drop the “mask” and be my childish, happy self. I can now stick my hand out the car window without having my parents reprimand me. When I’m at the office alone, I put the music on loud and spin around on my chair. I can have ice-cream whenever I feel like it, watch TV until I fall asleep on the couch and paint my nails in whatever tone I choose. I jump, I climb, I skate and I pull my tongue at little kids in the bus. Has anyone noticed this little girl pretending to be an adult? Do any of the other people my age feel the same way? Perhaps the reason that a friend of mine goes for older women is that he wants to feel like a the rebellious guy that gets lucky the way other boys only dream of. Some friends of mine have forgotten their childhood completely, refusing to wear anything else but a suit and tie and others are eternally stuck in puberty where their objective in life is to drink and get laid.

Stuck somewhere in-between.

I’m fortunate to say that I’ve evolved a lot in merely a year of my life. Looking even further back, I’d say that I’m nowhere close to the girl I was and much closer to the woman I’ve always dreamed of being. Close but not quite there yet, I still have moments of fear and insecurity. Being loud and social, no one would guess that the girl who is able to begin a conversation with anyone in the street still feels butterflies when a man looks her deeps in the eyes, blushes and feels shy around someone she’s interested and feels nervous about hitting second base. Many people rely on me for support and advice and I wonder if they realise that the reason I give such good advice is because I still think like a kid. Possessing the maturity of many reincarnations, I discovered that the secret of preserving your spirit, is never allowing the child within to die. I still call daddy for advice, sleep in a t-shirt and fall asleep holding on to my pillow. Once I finish saving this column, I think I’ll have a glass of milk, sing to my hairbrush my favourite Backstreet Boys song; jump on my bed and pretend it’s my stage pretend that my audience consists of an ocean of fans that love my new album. I’ll snuggle in bed and thank God for being so lucky in getting this far and for succeeding in being so happy. My last thought before falling asleep will be that this girl is in no hurry to grow up.

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