take my hand, take my whole life too

My mother says change is good in the way that childbirth is good and heartbreak is good and failure is good: it’s incredibly painful—exponentially more so if you fight it—but it has the power to open you up to new and great things.

My mother also says I am the most-resistant-to-change-person she knows.

Two days ago, I was on the phone with my friend, Jill, and she said, “You are the most spontaneous person I know, and I kind of love that about you.”

I’m not sure what this says about the people my mother knows, or the people Jill knows. I can’t possibly be resistant to change and spontaneous. Can I?

Here’s what I do know: About three weeks ago I uttered a three-letter-word answer to a question that will forever change my life—whether I resist or not—and there is no doubt in my mind that I know myself better today, on this day, than I ever have before.

I am long, tangled blonde hair with roots that show. I am broken fingernails and bruised knuckles that are completely hidden by the sparkly ring that sits on the fourth finger of my left hand. I have my father’s eyes, my my mother’s smile, and a scar on my chest, right over my heart, from a million broken hearts and promises and little-girl-dreams that no longer matter.

I make perseverance look youthful and real.

I tug on my lip when I’m nervous, crack my knuckles when I’m buying time, and my brownies are to die for.

I can change a tire, write a 1,000-word essay in my head, can slaughter even the most simple of karaoke songs and breakfast is the only meal I can cook. I can cuss you out in Spanish, make Speedway ICEE art like a champ, toast the perfect marshmallow, and I know every word to every Chevy Chase movie ever made.

I am not hearts and flowers—those big, heavy blooms, the fragrance so sweet and thick it could steal your air if you weren’t careful. I am not smiles for the camera and painted over flaws. I am not always right.

I am my little brother’s favorite person. I am a third grader and a senior citizen, all depending on the day of the week. I’ve died in a hospital bed lying next to my best friend and come back to life in the shade of the old man’s favorite tree where he taught me all of the best life lessons.

My skin gets pink when the sun shines. My favorite color is clear blue, and I can’t make it through the day without a Diet Coke and a book in my purse.

I know it’s okay not to know. I always eat the middle bite of peanut butter and jelly sandwich first, and I will never, not ever pierce my belly button.

I am absolutely terrified that I’m going to screw up—at life, at love, at marriage and all of the most important things.

And now, I’m not alone. Now my white blank page isn’t so white or so blank.

I don’t mind that change so much.


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