Let's talk about: Where we grew up.
I grew up in a four family house in Queens, New York. There was a cherry tree in the side yard and an apple tree in the back and in the summer, daylillies bloomed in our backyard. I broke my wrist while attempting to do a cartwheel to impress a boy that lived across the street, a boy who hardly knew I existed. I learned that sometimes, love hurt.
I grew up on the beaches of Long Island. Freckles bloomed on my nose and cheeks. My brother and I jumped the waves and avoided jellyfish and glistened under greasy layers of sunscreen. I spent hours alone, constructing elaborate sandcastles with moats and caves and rivers that snaked towards the ocean. I was madly, deeply happy. I learned that solitude was a gift.
I grew up in a practice room. The curl of oboe études wafted under the door. Sheet music spilled from my backpack. I studied French composers and minor scales and music theory homework that was perplexing at best. Girls crowded into the room with me, enormously talented girls who played the flute like I did and who were both my fiercest competitors and best friends. I learned that greatness required sacrifice.
I grew up in thrift stores, where I bumped elbows with strung out junkies stuffing tee shirts under their jackets and elderly ladies searching for discontinued china. I thrifted denim shirts with patches on the elbows and 1950's beaded cardigans and distressed brown leather Coach handbags and, one time, a raincoat with a love letter in the pocket. I learned that ten bucks can go a really, really long way.
I grew up in hospital rooms. I stood backwards on scales that gave my weight in kilograms so as to prevent me from actually knowing what my weight was. I splayed, corpse like, on hard linoleum tile, shoulder blades jutting like knives from my back, scribbling passionate journal entries on why 82 pounds was my perfect weight. I learned, eventually, that using my body instead of my voice to communicate feelings was a pointless activity.
I grew up in a white colonial in Alpharetta, Georgia. I spent a deliriously hot summer pregnant with twins, trying to squeeze my swollen feet into shoes suddenly too small. I jealously watched my husband pack his suitcase for work trips as I washed bottle after bottle after bottle. I staggered woozily through my neighborhood, exhausted, pushing a double stroller up and down the sidewalk. I learned that sometimes you can be so tired that you all you can think about is how very tired you are.
I'm growing up in a 1200 square feet apartment in a suburb north of Dallas, Texas. There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms and separate storage space for my collection of vintage clothes. I've paid my first electric bill, first water bill, and received my first noise complaint. At night I climb into bed and ruminate on my failed marriage, my ex-husband, and the many mistakes I've made. I vow to not repeat them.
I'm still learning.
I fall asleep with the tv on.
Where did you grow up? Are you still growing?