I think I may have a punchable face.
I can’t explain what makes it so punchable, exactly. I have a wicked case of RBF that is often misunderstood. Sometimes I get a little too into hockey fights and probably deserve a good punch in the face just to even things out. Maybe my freckles spell out “Punch Me,” but I never noticed because I always see them backwards in the mirror.
I’m not sure what it is, but lately it seems like a lot of people want to punch me. This surprises me because I’ve always thought of myself as the kind of person who should not get punched. In fact, I go out of my way to avoid ever giving anyone the impression that I ought to be punched.
I haven’t been an adult for very long so I don’t have a ton of experience on the matter, but I do have a theory about adulthood.
It doesn’t exist.
No, there’s no such thing as an adult. When you were a kid, everyone you thought of as a grownup was actually just a slightly taller person flailing around and making stuff up as they went, hoping no one would notice. This theory terrifies and comforts me at exactly the same time.
Now I’m one of those people, so to help me make stuff up, I’ve been referring to an Ideal Adult who exists only inside my head. She makes good, grownup choices so I try to follow her lead. What would the Ideal Adult in your head do? is something I ask myself a lot.
What did you guys get for Christmas? I got food poisoning!*
And while some people (my grandma, mostly) pitied me for spending the holiday alone and sick on a couch 300 miles from my hometown, I actually had a pretty good time. And not just because I don’t like Christmas.
I mean, some parts kind of sucked. The nausea was not great. I think Hell might be a pantry full of junk food that you really want to eat but can’t because your stomach is on strike. But mostly I was happy. I made a tree out of books! I listened to Pandora’s Christmas radio station for nearly a full minute! I watched Ike try to eat snowflakes through the windowpane!
People are always telling me how brave I am.
“Wow, Stephanie,” they say after I tell them about how I don’t believe in ghosts, or about the time there was an intruder in my home, or about the recurring nightmares I have about turning into a tree. “You’re sooo brave.” Sometimes they use a weird sarcastic tone, but I can tell they’re very impressed. I’m going to let you in on a little secret, though.
I’m not brave.
I am scared of every. single. thing.
Everyone has nights where they lie awake thinking of every mistake they’ve ever made and cringing at the ceiling. I had one this weekend, thinking of something that happened when I was 15. It was 3am and Rational Brain — the part of me that should have said, “Look, Stephanie. That was 10 years ago. It might be time to let it go.” — had gone to bed at a reasonable hour, so it was just me and Crazy Brain hanging out in the dark, regretting everything.
Crazy Brain, as crazy brains are wont to do, decided that it was vitally important that I track down the journal I kept from ages 14 to 15 to find out what my teenage self had thought about the incident in question. Immediately.