As the youngest in a family of six imaginative people with no creative outlets, there has been no dearth of nicknames in my life. And while most are much too embarrassing to be committed even to virtual paper, my favorite by far is the communal nickname my mother has for all her children (don’t judge, the woman deserves a shortcut or two, and I would rather she saved time on nicknames than on dinner). She calls us all ‘chooza,’ literally a little chick. It seems adorable, but here is where Freud comes in: my mother is terrified of all animals. Tigers, cats, puppies, sparrows, you name it, she’s shrieked at it. She is even afraid of chicks; I should know, I have witnessed the pandemonium when my brother snuck into the kitchen cradling a tiny, fluffy creature in his hands. To her credit, she didn’t toss it into the saucepan as a reflex, she actually let us keep it as a pet, but that might just be because she was too terrified to handle it. Which turns out to be a pretty accurate representation of our relationship with our mother: we all seem cute and harmless and adorable, and she keeps us in her house and feeds us and looks after us, but we scare the living daylights out of her. And no one will ever know that. She can’t talk about it to her friends, it sounds irrational and unreasonable, a mother terrified of her offspring, but then again who ever said there is any reason and rationale to a mother’s feelings for her chickadees?
The best thing about being the littlest of the crazy chicklets is feeling perpetually young. And while that constant-child phenomenon tends to be irritating when you’re shepherded out of the lounge in the middle of Titanic,, it is far more welcome once you move past the era of frequent milestones (16,18,21) and into the decade of no celebrations. Well, its not exactly a decade, but the fact remains that the Hallmark elves will not waste any more of their time on making an age-specific card for me until I hit 30, at which point the said card will be more a gentle reminder of incumbent middle age as opposed to a rambunctious celebration of youth.
And so, on my 22nd birthday, I decided I needed one last night of feeling young and alive before I was firmly entrenched in my afterglow years. It was in keeping with tradition: all my birthday celebrations so far have been impossibly sophisticated and elegant for a teenager. It was only fitting that this year too should be kicked off in a spectacular fashion, by not acting my own age yet again. Only this time, instead of being the youngest at the opera, I was nearly the oldest at my very first Katy Perry concert!
Now I could try and be caustic and cynical, and pretend like the psychedelic lights, candy floss colors and pink wigs were too childish and uncultured for me. Or I could just suck it up and confess that it was the best birthday ever! I mean, its not every year you get to spend your birthday in the Echo arena, surrounded by screaming six year olds and hyperventilating sixteen year olds, watching Katy Perry bring a horse to its knees on stage, or swat a giant lipstick balloon as it hovers above your seat, or be serenaded by a stadium full of people singing Happy Birthday at the end of the night. Ok, maybe they weren’t serenading me. Maybe. But its still pretty awesome that the last song of the night was Happy Birthday. Did I mention this was happening on my birthday? Best birthday ever!
Here’s the new year resolution (yes, my birthday is my new year, I’m terribly narcissistic like that), I am going to act my age. As the wonderful apt opening act Iconapops sang, ‘I’m a nineties bitch!.’ And if that means embracing glittery nailpolish, or Crocs, or unplanned gap years, or any other similar horrors I have studiously avoided my entire life, so be it. There’s no point in missing out on today in practicing for tomorrow. Be a Katy Perry when you can, pink wigs can only be pulled off for so long. You can be Audrey later, a little black dress will always work. Be 20 while you can. Act 33 when you are. Unless God intervenes, of course. But more on that later.
Unless God intervenes with that too.