Basically what I am trying to get to here is that growing up is scary. When you are young you have so many dreams, some are big, some are more realistic, some will come true, and some we are too afraid to go after. As we grow the things that seemed so important to us then are not as important now. In highschool our parents were constantly telling us "In 10 years, NONE of this will matter". They were right. It doesn't. I thought my life was going to be over when I couldn't go with the Marching Band on the trip to Hollywood. Folks, I survived, I also heard the trip we had to Cleveland, Ohio was a better time anyways. What is important are those things that stay with us. Well most things that stay with us, the awkward backfat and muffintop I have been trying to get rid of for years, that shit can go fuck itself and doesn't matter anyway. What I am talking about are those things that we talk to our friends about when we are younger, the same things that we eventually work towards in high school, those dreams that help us choose our path in college, those goals we talk about until 4 AM when we are screaming for one more vodka soda and convincing our friends that "our lives start tomorrow!", those things, the things that have stayed with us even when we realized Zack and Kelly wouldn't last past Bayside High, and that the Backstreet Boys were actually awkward looking. The things that seem much harder once the bar stool is pushed in, and your fear is on display. For me, today, growing up is about being who you always wanted to be, and growing into who you are meant to be, and loving who you are turning out to be. Growing up is ultimately acceptance...which is hard.
With so many social media websites around, it is hard for us not to compare ourselves with one another. While on Facebook I see the lives of those I went to high school with. Most of them married, with children, and a house..with a washer and dryer. This is when I begin to fear that I am not growing up. I am sitting in my Queens apartment that I share with 2 other people, I just finally graduated out of a twin bed this past year, and I have to play restaurant at night in order to pay my bills. This is also when I have to stop and breathe and say "You is kind. You is smart. You is important." Actually I never say that but I did just watch The Help last night and I really needed to throw that in here at some point. But seriously, this is when I have to stop and say you got out of Warren, MI and moved to NYC, you have lived here without struggling for 4 years, you have a job, you woke up on Black Friday and said "I AM BETTER THAN THIS TWIN BED!" and hauled your ass to the mattress store and bought a big girl bed, this is growth. This is growing up.
Most importantly I have to look at my life through the eyes of the 9 year old Elise. The 9 year old Elise that would have done ANYTHING to achieve her dreams. When I look at my life through her eyes, everything seems to be going at the right pace. When I am on the subway coming home late, when I start to look less like a classy server and more like Deb the Diner waitress, when I get up far too early to wait in line at an audition, when I don't wakeup for the audition because I don't know if thats what I want to be anymore, when I feel like my time will never come, and when I feel like my heart is so full, I have to think of her. I have to remember that sometimes growing up is just about looking back, sometimes growing up is about gratitude, and sometimes growing up is about the small things.
In closing, I would like to say that I was ultimately disqualified from the competition in the 3d grade. Once I got to the district level my plan was to win over the judges with my velvety 9 year old tenor chords. I closed my speech with the following "..as Judy Garland so beautifully sang in the Wizard of Oz, If happy little blue birds..."
"Miss Castle, you cannot sing any copywritten material without the consent of the author...you are disqualified..."