So Suddenly Mama said
"Get a job, apply for college, be a grown woman"
And I was but a child, still curly-haired and bright -eyed , not yet poisoned by the world.
Always said I'd be a writer, moved out, and traveling
But I am but a meek, small-town baby raised on evangelical hymns and fathers with guns,
Mothers that put bows in your hair and girls should hush hush, be quiet things
Girls should be fawns.
And so I was a fawn,
But Mama was a lion and she wanted me to be a lion like her.
So I grew teeth and claws and ventured out into a world I didn't know.
No, I was not ready for the toxic lights of nighttime when I came home from waitressing,
feet heavy and aching like rotted soldier's jungle foot,
Mind racing from what did I forget to study for?
Quiet so not to wake my school-age sisters, the ones that looked to me with the look
of a nation quivered around a brave leader in times of war.
And Daddy was always on the couch, losing sleep to make sure I wasn't murdered in the night,
such is the imagination of worried parents, a flame.
Never could sleep at night, so I choked down sleep aids and fell into a coma every night.
But suddenly, there was freedom
And there was whatever I wanted to buy in front of me
There were boys to date
and things to do
Places to hike
Parties to go to
There were ideas and beliefs that had never been opened up to me before
And my tiny world was bigger somehow.
So I used to believe that growing older was a death sentence,
A trap I tangled my fawn leg in
But it is equal parts hard and soft
Like the ocean, waves flowing in and out
There are sharks and rip tides and hurricanes that kill millions
But it's still beautiful beyond all things.
And so, that is growing up.