Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Snap Happy at Eighteen Bells

This is a piece I wrote as part of Scoil Acla's Writing Workshop. To put this post into a more understanding context - you can read the post I wrote for last year's workshop, "The Walk to Now", here. Please let me know what you think in the comments below. Growing up, for all of us is inevitable - and to accept things in life in our imperfect world.

Four days ago, I became technically, a responsible adult. Do I feel completely revolutionised since the 20th of July? Not quite, but I can tell you, my savings account and driver’s permit are getting in order fairly sharpish. This road has been a long one, and there is plenty of mileage to be clocked up yet. There were many who thought, that this birthday was a distant dream – faraway, possible, but not as attainable as tomorrow. I defied man, woman, and science, I lived to tell the tale – and all the while rebelled against the Plain Jane statement.

I look at the past eighteen years, with my self-acclaimed crisp memory (like every other woman, a friend recently pointed out), and any words I could string together would fail to account the amount of life that has been lived. The people I have met, the conversations I have had, the experiences I have endured, the tears I have shed, the laughs I have enjoyed, and the memories I will forever cherish have moulded me into the woman you see standing in front of you. 

Even this year alone, many small things have materialised, and collectively – will, if not already, propel me to get on with this system of “adulthood” that everyone keeps lamenting on about. I set up a blog, the Marriage Referendum passed, I had my first drink, I learnt that not everything can be done in a given day, and instead, to choose what I do, fabulously. I also walked the longest distance my legs can take me, unaccompanied, I had work experience in broadcast media, a month later I ended up speaking on the radio while in the carpark of my local supermarket. My writing started to become recognised, on a local level at least. I was caught up in the dilemma, more than once of the “who texts first” game – as tiresome as it is. I found that “absolutely”, “fab” and “perfect” dominated my colloquial vocabulary, and that long phone calls before bed are the nights I sleep the best. I stopped limiting myself to the social norm that consumed me, and made a decision to live life as authentically as I can. More importantly, I finally discovered the perfect Kylie Jenner lipstick combination that everyone is currently frantic about – it’s a look we’re all striving towards.

This milestone didn’t go uncelebrated – and I have justified my recent impulse buying for the past month to “Frig it, it’s my birthday”. I had a gathering, which ended up being labelled a “party” in my sister’s house – mainly family, civilised, my type of thing. A couple of nights later I enjoyed my first “few quiet drinks” in Lynotts with my friends. There were photographs taken, naturally enough, a couple of myself and my cousin – and favourite person, Kate. There were two pictures that I put side by side, and I swear those images could go down as the definition of happiness if someone was to ask you what exactly it was. That is the version of myself I want to be let roam free, dodgy teeth, braces an’ all. It was that night that it clicked with me, as my uncle-in-law said, it’s all about family and friends in this life.

It’s taken a village, and a true team to get to where we are today. My mother, and right- hand woman has never failed to stick by my side. She is, without doubt, the strongest person I know. If I could attain her infinite strength, cuisine skills and the ability to whittle down the price of an insurance premium on a Friday afternoon – I will be content for the rest of my days. 

Whatever will happen in the next few years won’t be guaranteed, but I believe the world and the adventures to be had are vast, bright and brilliant. College next year, should the Leaving Cert not be a complete, ghastly venture – will bring about its own idea of fun. I may be under five foot high, but I plan to challenge the seemingly, insurmountable tidal waves that the future throws at me. 

Nothing is too big for us, we set the boundaries, we push up the barriers, and we dance on our own dreams. Unbeknownst to us, that’s what limits us. You should not subsidise a part of yourself for the sake of standards that society likes to slap us in a tsunami craze. Sometimes remaining no more, and no less than who you are is about keeping your head above the water. Some people will understand you; while others may not – but move to your own frequency and let the others catch on in time. These days are for living; I will grow, I will change and I should be able to enjoy it, on my own accord. 

“Mol an Óige agus Tíocfaidh Sí”

Praise the young, and they will follow

SNAPCHAT: catherinegal