So today I realized that I’m not what I thought I was supposed to be. That’s a very vague statement, so let me to explain.
I decided that I wanted to go to the Essence Music Festival to celebrate my final legally-themed birthday. Senior Citizen Qualification Age doesn’t count. I’m here with my older sister, my mother, my aunt, and a family friend–all of which are fully enjoying their being well over the age of having to be afraid to ask for a drink. So when they came back from a night on Bourbon Street, fishbowls in hand–although still pretty full–I wasn’t even the slightest bit jealous. When my sister looked at me with a longing in her eyes for me to go explore the debauchery that is New Orleans nightlife, I was only slightly moved. And not because I too wanted to go into the streets, drinks in one hand and and even more expensive drink in the other, but couldn’t because I was not yet legal. No, the only reason I thought of going out tonight was because I thought that’s what I’m supposed to do.
I’m less than 24 hours away from being 21 and there is not one desire in me to get pissy drunk at a bar filled with pissier drunken folk, all trying to outdo the other’s alcohol limit until they are all waking up with no recollection of the night. But aren’t I supposed to?
The answer to that question is no. No I’m not “supposed” to aspire to that. It’s all a matter of preference. Yes, some people do like to frequent bars, hang out until dawn, ask their aunts for a sip of the pink alcohol-laced liquid in her fishbowl. And that’s fine, for them. But I’ll be damned if I make myself believe that this is something that I have to desire to.
So I decided tonight–sitting on the bed across from my older sister who so obviously wanted to go out but could not go alone because we came with adults who would inherently be protective over us no matter what age we are, texting one of my best friends who was trying to convince me to go out, have fun and “let my hair down”–that I was going to go forth doing only what I wanted to do and not what I felt I was supposed to want to do.
And so here I am. Contacts out and glasses securely stationed on the bridge of my nose. Flowing sheer kimono replaced with a tattered, paint-speckled blue jean shirt I bought from a thrift store freshman year. And untied hi-top converses where black leather Steve Madden sandals were once scratching the hell out of my ankle. This is me, spending my first night in NOLA staring at a wordpress screen and typing my life into a blog post because right now, at this very moment, on the eve of my birthday, that’s what I want to do. And you know what, I’m more than okay with that. (insert somewhat creepy half smiling emoji)
Shouts to God for granting me this.
[DISCLAIMER: No one in particular made me feel that I was supposed to think like this. I’ll blame it more broadly on “society” and “our culture.”]