Beauty School Dropout
How time passes. Everything changes; yet, it all stays the same.
I started sporadically writing an online journal when I was a 19-year-old college student. Even though I hardly lived a sheltered life, I was still just a girl.
I am now 29. However, I am much the same. The mirror reveals a darker shade of hair in a shorter cut and there are the first signs of wrinkles around my pale blue eyes. I now wear black-framed reading classes. I still sincerely prefer faded blue jeans and well-worn sneakers to labels and trends. I still would rather sit at home and read a good book than go out and socialize. And inside, I am still as unsettled as ever.
And I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
I am horribly indecisive about the major things in life. I prefer to wait until the decision is made for me. I was secretly hoping that my high-paying bank job would be eliminated immediately following the acquisition so I could justify going back to graduate school. Walking away from such a job in this economy is difficult to explain to anyone else.
I selected a business major after deciding it was the quickest route to a higher-paying career. It was not because it interested me in the least. I thought I had to be logical and choose a path to quickly pay back my student loans.
I’m contemplating going back for what I want to do this time. The problem? I still don’t know what that is. And it is driving me mad.
I love the humanities – particularly Sociology and Anthropology. How does one go back to that? Surrounded by fellow master’s students 10 years my junior? As my husband said, “Well, you’re not getting any younger.”
It is difficult to fault that logic.
I currently have LSAT, GMAT, and GRE books on my coffee table. I’ve tried to study for, well, all of them, which does pose a challenge if your heart isn’t fully decided and set on one of those futures.
I’m still waiting for the fairy godfather to tell the beauty school dropout to go back to high school.
The face that haunts me
I roll over and look at the glowing red numerals. They inform me that it is now 9:09. I slowly roll back over to my side, toss back the covers, and swing my legs over the side of the bed. My leg muscles protest. I look down at them, as if I could will the soreness away. It is the final day of a brief vacation, and my tan, bare legs are tired of challenging yoga poses, hiking, and spinning on the exercise bike. I adjust my black nightgown and reach for my socks.
I can smell the coffee downstairs. Zack brewed extra for me before heading out for another formal interview. Although I was barely awake, I at least managed to mutter, “Good luck” before he headed out the door in his handsome black suit. I pour a cup of Joe into my favorite pink mug, an archeological relic from my former life 3000 miles away.
Last night I had a disturbing dream. A cousin, whom I have not seen in years, is tragically killed. As a child, this cousin was a constant comparison point for my mother. In angered, frustrated tones, “Why can’t you be more like her?” was her mantra. Why could I not wash the dishes like her, get grades like her, sing like her, look like her, have friends like hers? It has forever impacted me. I could never be the feminine and academic ideal like her. Miss Congeniality of her high school class, a winning smile, infectious personality, medical school graduate. I, on the other hand, nursed a poorly-veiled anger and distrust of everyone who tried to get close. I looked at my fellow business school students grudgingly as privileged, sheltered, and unworldly, not my choice of friends. I preferred to be alone. She is the ideal. I am the reality.
Still, despite my mother’s efforts, she remained my favorite cousin. Four years my senior, she was an alternate version of myself I could obtain if I just worked harder…
Maybe her “death” in my dream is merely symbolic of ending my lifelong desire to become someone else, to measure up.
If only that were possible. It has been years since I saw her last and she still unknowingly haunts me.
I hope she is well.