Prompt: When did you realize you were a grown up? What did this mean for you?
I felt like an adult when I became completely independent of my parents. I loved my parents but I hated living athome. For as long as I can remember, my dreams were always about living somewhere else. I was a quiet child, fiercely independent, non-participatory in family activities, and horse crazy in a home where smelling of horse was a bad thing. I often smelled of horse. I spent my time at the stables up the street. “Can I groom your horse? Walk your horse? Bathe your horse?” I wore Levi’s and I wrote poetry. I did not fit in at home.
I married a brilliant man, with baggage, the day after I graduated from college. We moved to LA where I enrolled in a graduate program at the UCLA School of Law. My parents paid for the tuition as a wedding gift so I still didn’t feel completely free and independent. After finishing the program at UCLA, I took a job with a prestigious law firm in the heart of Century City. My office was on the 40th floor of one of the towers. I parked my old Toyota Corolla with oxidized paint in the parking structure. I had arrived.
I wasn’t a lawyer, although that was the long term plan. I was a paralegal who did research and sifted through documents to support the attorneys. I had a desk in an office. I traded my Levi’s for a fashionable wardrobe. I learned about Dior and Chanel and Ferragamo. I couldn’t afford them, but I knew about them and I copied them as best I could. I started wearing make-up. I used Lancôme products exclusively. I carried a leather briefcase and traveled first class across the country. During a large trial, I lived in a hotel in downtown LA near the courthouse.
I was self-sufficient, confident and I felt very adult. My marriage quickly fell apart but by then I knew I could support myself and being alone did not frighten me in the least. Eventually, the glow wore off on the job and I found work closer to where I was living in Orange County. It would be a few more years before I found the real me in Levi’s again.
I still love designer clothes. I still use Lancôme. But, I also write poetry and I have my very own horse to walk, wash, groom and ride. And I have a husband who understands my quiet nature, who also cherishes solitude and loves the smell of horses.