i'm an only child and i'm selfish. the two kind of go hand in hand. all my life, things have magically fallen into place, to such an extent that is ultimately the cornerstone of my belief in God. things will work out because they have to. and because they always have. and because how could they possibly not.
i like to believe they have always worked out because i'm this incredible, independent, pulled-together person with impossibly good luck, but i'm not stupid. i know it was the result of considerable stress and sacrifice and effort on my parents' part. just as the magic of the theater is produced by stagehands darting about in the dark, moving things so the actors won't stumble, so they won't fuck up.
my parents and i are in the midst of this grandiose, week-long fight. a civil war of sorts over my right to fuck up. an obscure freedom, i admit, but a liberty nonetheless.
in a particularly low moment in their efforts to disuade me from trying for something that, in reality, is so far outside the realm of possibility it's as probable as me backstroking to the moon, but which they nonetheless perceive as a colassal mistake- my mum delivered her advice from the perspective of what she would feel if she were a man.
for future reference, arguing from the perspective of a gender that you are not by imagining how you would feel if you were of that gender is not the way to go.
we are women. we will never be men.
my parents raised me well. they let me do things that if i had any sense at all i probably would've been too afraid to attempt. they brought me back to chicago. they sent me to cornell. they made me think it was unspeakably cool to go dateless to junior prom.
i never felt like i had to be married by 27 and have a doctor husband and twenty kids, twelve dogs, and a parakeet and live in some sprawling white picketed place in des plaines with an american flag on the front porch and an SUV in the garage. i was an english major. the prospect of life with a boy in a hovel brimming with books was always infinitely more appealing.
and i've never before felt like i was held back because i was a girl. if i didn't raise my hand in class and didn't play soccer, that was because, even then, i was overly self-aware and i athletically sucked. not because someone wouldn't let me. not because someone said, nice girls don't do that.
there are, apparently, a lot of things nice girls don't do.
and in the end, the lesson we learn here is this: i am not a nice girl.