Today is supposed to be the first day of the rest of my life. I'm officially a grown-up, by most people's standards (definitely not by my own nor by my mother's). I'm seated in the nosebleed section of Yankees Stadium betwixt my best friend Krystal and the freezing,wet hand rail. I'm decked out in my purple robe and matching baseball cap, while trying to arrange my clear poncho over my head, so my hair doesn't get wet. There's currently a torrential downpour attacking my graduating class and is threatening to flood the stadium and toss the flimsy tent that houses the honorees and prestigious members of faculty, as well as Alec Baldwin, our keynote speaker, who has decided to not to don any protective outer garments. I guess he's a real man. Or a dumbass. Sigh. While he's giving a speech that consists of the usual "Make a mark on the world!", "You can do anything!" and "Tisch is awesome!" bullshit that you can expect from any commencement address, I'm clutching my cup of cocoa that seems to have gone from scalding hot to slushy Haagen Daz by the time I've reached my seat. Sadly, it's still warmer than me and I'm inhaling it at an attempt for heat based diffusion.
It is in moments like these that I realize I'm rarely appropriately dressed for anything. Despite the meteorologist's assertion that today's forecast would consist of a monsoon occurring at forty-degree weather, I'm wearing a mini dress and gorgeous open-toe heels, freezing off my delicate appendages. I hadn't even bothered to wear tights because I got a banging pedicure the day before and needed to show off the hot hue my toes were rocking. It was a fluorescent pink that bordered on vomit-inducing neon. Just my steez. As I look at the giant screen, enlarging Mr. Baldwin's face, I realize that no one's going to be checking out my toe game, when they're too busy trying to stay alive in this frigid weather. Is it sad that that's what I'm most upset about? That no one will see how cute I look at graduation. Never mind the fact that I won't be able to take pictures because it's too cold to stand. I won't be able to rejoice in the last few moments that is college and look back at all I've accomplished with my peers that help me get through it. Nah. I just want someone to comment on my dress with a "Steph, you look slamming" and I'd respond, "this old thing, I picked it up yesterday" with a kind of nonchalance that would make me seem sophisticated. The truth is that I did pick up the dress the night before. I'm the queen of procrastination, especially with events like this. I think it's my subconscious way of trying to delay the inevitable--growing up.
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the Toys R Us catalog. Between that and the catchy theme song, every trip to the mega-store was an epic event of traipsing through the aisles, picking out toys that I coveted. I would watch on the television screen that monstrous giraffe, Geoffrey, surround himself with kids playing t-ball, having the time of their young lives. No wonder they didn't want to grow up. What's better than being a kid? Nothing really. Spending your days with your playmates and getting ice cream on your new shirt is the pinnacle of our existence.We were the images on the screen. With a simple change of costume, you could be a firemen, a ballerina or an astronaut. With a limitless imagination, none of your remarks will ever be considered "stupid", but instead "refreshing" and "honest". So every time that booklet came in the mail, it was a simple reminder of the endless possibilities that the world possessed and the community that all children share. I would scan over the pages for hours, but surprisingly I wasn't at all interested in playing with toys; I just liked coveting.
That's the idea behind retail therapy, isn't it? Sometimes you just need to feel special. So what, if you don't need those shoes? Get them and feel great about yourself for a couple of days. If you have buyer's remorse, return them and feel good about yourself that you made a responsible decision; A true sign of growing up.
I guess the saddest thing about my crossing over into adulthood is the fact that I've never truly felt like a kid. As a youngster, I perceived myself as suffering from the "Jodie Foster" complex. You know, when there's a child that has too much wisdom, or is just too sure of themselves. It's actually a terrifying affliction, which has made me scared of Jodie (although I've warmed up to her in her adult age; But when I watch even Freaky Friday, I'm biting fingernails and scrunching my face at the sight of her). I was that random third grader that was reading The Hobbit and watching foreign films. The first time I ever saw Nightmare on Elm Street was in french. It's one thing to see a pie-faced murderer attacking you in your dreams, but it's downright sadistic when he's doing it in a romance language.
Being mature had its advantages. I was treated differently by the adults I was surrounded by. I was allowed certain privileges and was always deemed the one in charge--even of my older cousins. Yet that sort of delineation marks you. Immediately you become one of them--one of the grown-ups; not to be trusted. It was as if I was branded on the forehead with the terms "Square Loser" and had my cool card revoked. To this day the relationship with my brother is tenuous because how could he ever really trust a sister that was more of a parent rather than a playmate. However, I had to play the hand I was dealt and it was definitely more advantageous to be one of the privileged adults than a child with a bedtime.
Looking back I wish I would've rebelled more and not been so afraid of falling off my elite pedestal. I look at my brother and even though he's a pain in the ass, I do respect him for one thing--his defiance. Sure at times it's his least appealing characteristic, but there are other times, moments when he refuses to be pressured into feeling, saying or doing something that he doesn't want to. Maybe he'll grow out of it, but I doubt it. My dad hasn't and it seemed to work out for him. I forced myself to bite my tongue so I could retain the crown upon my head. I was definitely an obedient child. I had times of rebellion but they were more the silent kind. I would smile to your face and then plot your punishment. It was if I was doing karma's work. I was that sly little bitch's helper. If I ever got caught, I was always set free because who would believe the angelic Steph would ever do anything like that.
I'm okay with my less than reckless childhood because now I have adulthood to look forward to. I've decided to make up for lost time and isn't it better to be a reckless twenty-something than a bratty tween? I've got the freedom to do whatever I want (particularly drink whatever I want) and the means to do it. Sure I've only got a part-time job but that's way better than having my mom foot the bill for my partying ways. She would try to limit me to one drink a night. What fun is that? I've adopted a new mantra. I'm living my life according to the new hedonism. I'm going to be the modern Dorian Gray sans icky murders and boring dinner parties. To live life without fear is a goal that we all strive to accomplish, but I'm convinced by the pained expressions and weary eyes of most middle-aged adults I see, that few have ever made it. That's the mark I want to make. Forget trying to end wars and promote peace.Let's just all take shots. I'm much happier when I'm drunk. I dance with everyone and spend shit loads of money I don't have. But it's worth it for that feeling of elation, knowing that everyone around you is just happy to be alive and dancing to the music. We spend all day worrying about tomorrow, but we fail to realize we missed our chance for today. Thankfully the apocalypse is on it's way and 2012 is truly a godsend. No longer do we have to worry about 401ks and retirement. This bitch is about to blow up. So let's dance the night away. Put down the palm pilots. Party Sleep Party is the only schedule you need.