The Me I See
There’s a road we take to get to my childhood home. It’s a main road in town, with a speed limit of 25mph. It’s the final ‘homestretch’ when coming home from the airport. It’s how we get back from the grocery store and the bank; Dunkin Donuts and school; the nail salon and ‘the city' (or really any city). I used to view this road from the back of the car—the left seat behind the driver was always my seat. My sister always sat on the right. I now drive the road myself—I glance over at the passing mailboxes and gardens and joggers through the windshield, not the rear side window. As I have gotten bigger, the houses seem smaller; the illusion of immensity—be it concerning the houses, trees, or my own wonderment—has vanished. It’s funny how that happens.
There was always that one house. A fern green color. A townhouse of sorts, vertical and narrow, with a small front porch supporting a single, cushioned rocking chair. A 2-car garage off to the side—perhaps not even connected to the house. I’m not sure. A pebble driveway, a tilted mailbox out front, and prayer flags hung from the porch.
I always gazed at the house through the car window when we drove by. One Friday night, my mom and I went to pick up a pizza and make a pitstop at Blockbuster (where I’d pick out a juvenile DVD that she'd so lovingly agreed to watch with me and, always, a box of candy by the register).
On the way back from the excursion, we of course passed the house. And I did what I always did—peered over and internally acknowledged the abode, saying hello in my head to my favorite fern flat. At the front of the townhouse, to the left of the porch, was a big bay window—curtain-less. As we drove back in our pepperoni-scented vehicle, it was just starting to darken. Twilight. As we passed the fern flat, the lighting allowed me to get a brief glimpse into the home through the bay window. I saw the backside of a futon and two heads, resting on one another. The heads were facing a TV, which was positioned across from the bay window—providing a clear view of the screen for passersby. I don’t remember what they were watching, but as a memory I’d like to think it was something like Queer Eye, The Big Bang Theory, or tennis. And I’d like to think there was pizza involved. Or Indian food.
What I do remember, though, was thinking that would be me one day. That seemed like me one day. I could see myself.
Since, the house has been totally renovated and modernized. It looks like HGTV mutilated its facade and lawn. I’m not sure what that means for me figuratively, but when I drive by, I still think of the fern, futon-bearing, funky flat that I saw my future self in one day.
One of my best friends from middle school had (well, has) 4 older sisters. I was very nervous to go over to her house for this reason. But I also was intrigued by the situation—curious and eager to know what their rooms looked like; what clothes lived in their closets; what faces of friends scattered their bulletin boards. My friend always looked, and still looks, so much like one of her older sisters.
This seems insignificant, but it was always oddly meaningful to me. I envied my friend because I looked at the situation like: she was lucky enough to have an idea of what her future self would look like—she had a real-life model of herself as a woman, even if only regarding looks. There has always been a major disconnect for me between my perception of my current state and my vision of my future self (or, rather, lack of a vision—whether it’s of the future physical me or the conceptual).
You know when you were on the bus in middle school, and those high schoolers that got on seemed so much...older? Cooler. Experienced. Enlightened. You wondered what it would be like when it was your turn.
Then the sensation repeats itself when you’re a high schooler, watching college kids come back and visit teachers.
Then college hits and the adulting-ers comprise of the next age group that hovers and seems so distant—that seems so exciting yet daunting and, more often than not, utopian. Because it’s a concocted vision based in hope for what can be. There’s excitement and beauty in that which hasn’t happened yet—in that which is not yet visible; clear; known; definite; foreseeable.
So, I come to the end of this scattered post simply to say: I choose to embrace the excitingness of looking ahead without knowing much. I don’t yet know what I’m going to look like when I’m a woman. But that’s the utopian optimism speaking—wishfully thinking that I’ll undergo a 'Cinderella at the ball' transformation; sprout beautiful hips and womanly curves; grow in height and lose my baby face. But I’m 20. Am I already a woman? I look how I look. My voice is my voice; my nose is my nose; my me is me. And there’s a notable tension in embracing this reality yet still holding onto the utopian vision that things could change; tomorrow may feel different; the way I see the color red may suddenly transform upon waking up in 7 hours.
In reality, I know time and life are fluid. Being a high schooler doesn’t feel much different than being a middle schooler; last night’s heartache won’t instantly have disintegrated come your morning alarm; the me I see is, simply, the me I know now. The me I have with me now. The me I am, with all of her strengths and weaknesses. I like to daydream and think about what my life may look like in 10 years. What will I look like? Who will be in my life? Where will I be, and what will I be doing? I have answers to those—I have predictions, and those can also be considered goals. Intentions. Plans. Because that’s how life works—we have agency in shaping ourselves and our futures, but we also must let time work its magic. We must let life work its magic. And with the intention of doing so, I don’t see a 'me' too far out. I try not to see even the tomorrow me—that is, what I’ll be doing, eating, wearing, saying. Because there’s immense exhilaration and potential for growth in freeing your unrehearsed, uninhibited, fluid self.
Who knows, maybe I will end up in a fern, futon-bearing, funky flat one day—watching tennis with a boy.
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