To this day, I’ve never known what I’ve wanted to be when I grew up. Sure, I can drop some wonderful answer or answers that make me sound driven and focused, but those answers are just like my mind, dreamy. I have babysat children until they no longer needed supervision. At the movies, I was your ticket girl. Copy, collate, bind, laminate and things of these ilk saw me from Illinois to North Carolina. I’ve convinced you of how great you looked in over priced and under styled clothing. My day was filled with checking yourself and your mistress, dealer, gay lover or lonely soul into hotel rooms, no questions asked. Drink mixer, personal counselor, girl with the rack and bitch for hire blanketed my eyes for a few years from the giving end of the bar. I’ve help children stand straight, walk correctly, recover from injuries and colic as your friendly desk girl at your Chiropractor. None of these things, are who I am.

Before an age even the most egregious sweat shop would hire me, I have written. I have sang. I have crafted. I have loved clothing. I have gazed into distinctive windows of kitschy houses. I have strained my neck grasping for glimpses of the apex of sky scrapers. I have instinctively changed diapers, fed soft milky lips and patted soft spined backs. Is this who I am? My bank account would argue that, “No ma’am all evidence states to the contrary.” It kinda feels like me, left to my own inner thoughts, but does that matter?

Ever since I was a little girl I never understood why I felt directed to be something other than what I felt. I should want dolls, not Han Solos. My toys should reflect a future dictated by television reruns from a past that truly never existed. Likewise, so should my career and self-image. Wouldn’t it be great to be a teacher? Or a nurse? Or a softball player? Or thinner? Or have a bigger ass? Or the girl who makes boys fight for her affections? Or drunk? Or high? Or miserable to the point of being incapacitated for days? Wouldn’t it be grand? Think of the possibilities! And when you find yourself legally adulted, you’ll have no idea who you were, are, and will be. Instead, you’ll have a carpet bag of failures, diagnoses and vertigo. My name is Jennifer, and I am a…an uncertainty.

The funny thing is, if I look back, I can be resentful and angry and enraged that I was passed along from one person’s ideal to another. The momentum started before I realized my voice, opinion or self-knowledge had merit. Yet here I am, fine. Not “fine” in the teeth clenched, white knuckled grip of adult denial, fine like okay. I made it through all that topsy turvy undirected, yet pushed and pulled life. I’m not angry. I’m not sad. I have no regrets. I do have something all that made me aware of. I have a survival instinct that should instill fear in the black soul of my oppressors. Inside of me, there is a voice that will stay quiet as I bumble through life gathering lessons and scars and debt and vices, until it is time to go. And when that time arrives, I am a force of reckoning. There will be no discussion. I will not issue you a receipt. Exit stage left.

Rest, recovery time, reconstruction, reparations will follow, some times quickly, some times slow and laboriously. Then I stand. I resume my universal walk about. Looking back is only to recall the origin of my acute  inconvenient pains and use those memories positively, usually to make you laugh at my jokes or wallow in my poetry. With my constantly evolving and patched up soul, I glide through my days gazing into distinctive windows of kitschy houses, strain my neck grasping for glimpses of the apex of sky scrapers, I  instinctively change diapers, feed soft milky lips and pat soft spined backs. Then I write it all down, in some way shape or form. As only a person who has lived is capable of.

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