Thursday, March 15, 2012

Scintilla, no. 2 | Growing Up, in a Series of Thank Yous

{Grandma & her puppy, Sioux Bea}

Dear 1st Ballet Teacher Who Here Shall Remain Nameless, Thank you for teaching me the basics, and for getting me into pointe shoes. Ballet was transformative for me and taught me, or began to teach me, how to be an adult—how to persevere, how to walk into a room with grace, how to stand with squared shoulders and confidence, and that often perfection is less important than style. Thank you for introducing me to the pure adrenaline-charging joy of performing on stage, of losing myself and my insecurities to a trust in my body and the knowledge that I am beautiful. Thank you for chaperoning me and my fellow students into The City (Raleigh, my first time) to the theatre to watch a professional ballet company show (my first time)—such a sophisticated, cosmopolitan day for me, wearing my black patent leather mary janes. And, finally, thank you for being dismissive and bitchy toward me when I showed signs of not idolizing you the way so many of the other girls did. In picking on me in class, you taught me that adults, even teachers and authority figures, are fallible. You taught me to trust my gut instinct, that often magnanimous gurus are just attention-seeking frauds. You taught me that I am my own person. You taught me that I should never seek out adoration from others, that I don’t need it if I just love myself. And I did. More than I cared for you.

Dear Incubus, In a high school era of Dave Matthews Band and Blink 182, thank you for being just a little bit weirder, with a sound just a little bit lusher. Thank you for opening my ears and my mind, for teaching me the bliss of music and fandom, for teaching me to seek out that which may be a little off the beaten path, a little dissident and far-out. Also, Brandon Boyd, thank you for posing shirtless in that poster I hung on my dorm room wall and being such an affront to my freshman year, uber pious roommate. That girl was such a drip.

Dear Billie Letts, Peter Benchley, & Alice Hoffman, Thank you for teaching me to read. I mean, of course growing up I knew the logistics of reading; I wasn’t illiterate—I even went through that phase in middle school where I researched the occult from books I checked out at the library, took notes and everything. (I still know more “facts” about werewolves than the average person.) But, I can count on one hand, with a couple fingers leftover, the number of books I actually read, cover to cover, between the ages of 5 and 17. No, it was you three, who I turned to out of the sheer mind-numbing boredom that was the first couple weeks of my freshman year of college, who taught me the transportive power of books and words. Thank you for Novalee Nation, for Brady, Quint, and Hooper, and for the Sisters Owens.

Dear Larah, Bree, LP, Bre, and, most of all, Kath, Thank you for appearing to me, almost magically, out of the great scary depths of the World Wide Web. You girls were vulgar and hilarious and brilliant. You taught me to be a better writer (so much better, in fact, that it almost flabbergasts me to think of where I was before I met you). And you were my friends at a time when I was very alone and lonely. You introduced me to good music, good books, good movies—cultural ephemera which has helped define and shape me, as you have helped define and shape me. And Kath, never will I be able to express how much our correspondence and your continued friendship and support mean to me, but you make me a better person, a better adult.

Dear Wolfman, I will keep this brief, as I don’t want to embarrass you should you ever read this. I only want to say thank you for returning my phone call, even though I technically stole your number and am a major creep. Thank you for also being a major creep, and thank something Big and Transcendent that you and I speak the same language. And, finally, thank you for being such a Good Man, for loving me, for keeping me safe and sound, for letting me love you and keep you safe and sound, and for pushing me when I need to be pushed, for setting such a great example of steadiness and responsibility and self-assurance, and what it truly means to be an adult.

Dear Grandma, Thank you for being a silly, funny, strong, opinionated, flirty, strange, joyous, alive, Truly Alive, woman. I always say that you are what I will be in a few years, and for that I am so thankful.


  1. I shied away from choosing this prompt, but you've answered it so beautifully I feel inspired to give it a go at some point.

    1. That's sort of funny, because it was the first prompt that I shied away from. I spent a lot of the morning thinking, "How can I cheat this prompt? What do I know about being a grown up?" Thank you so much for stopping by and your kind words.

  2. Crying in public is NOT A COOL THING but you are MAKING ME DO IT.

    p.s. love that you said "Good Man" about Wolfman. This is always what it comes down to for me, too, w/r/t M. They never understand why it's the most important thing, or what about them is worthy of the title, and that's totally what makes a Good Man.

    p.s. midterms are almost over and then i will write moooore. i hate midterms. I just bought a pack of Van Gogh stamps for you though. So look forward to that.

    1. Good luck on your remaining midterms, honey bee. I just got two letters from you about med school interviews, and all I can think is that if I were in your place, I would go nutty. I don't know how you do it. Mad props, mad props. xo.


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