My long-dreaded 30th birthday found me high above America's heartland on a small commuter flight between Birmingham and Chicago. It was a good start to the 30th year of my life.
I spent one day alone wandering up and down Michigan Avenue. I watched the people come and go, made a few superficial observations about the people I saw, and somewhere during that day had a realization about myself. Namely, that I'm never going to be a twenty-something again. Ever. It's over. My life is serious now. I have grown-up problems. I make serious decisions with grave implications. I'm not solely responsible to myself or for myself. This is life. This is it. And I'd better get busy. I can't be 20, I thought, but I'll make this the best 30 that I can. And that's a good thing.
I think I grew up somewhere between Walton and Chestnut in Chicago, IL.
When we got home, I didn't feel blonde anymore. My blonde has always been a sign of silliness. I've always been flippant and effusive. Ready to crack a joke. I'm not anymore. I don't feel comfortable making the effusive and happy part of my personality public anymore. I've found myself being less friendly and more demanding of people. More willing to say "you're wrong about that." I think I've been a person that others can dominate and intimidate. I think I've been a person to whom others could express their opinions without first examining them for barbs. I think I've allowed other people to treat me in absolutely innapropriate ways. I've allowed too many people to tell me about myself. To tell me "what my problem is." I've learned that there are more arrogant and petulant people in my world that I would ever have imagined. I've also learned that "arrogant" and "petulant" do not ever equate to "smart" or "insightful." Ever. (Isn't it an odd thing that some people just say whatever they feel like saying? As if they really have something useful to say? How do you acheive that perceived wisdom that allows you to spew garbage and feel righteous? Is there some gene for that or something?)
The first thing that I've really noticed is that I don't really get mad when people overstep their boundaries with me anymore. I don't pretend that it's okay anymore, either. I just say, "that's enough." And people shut up. It's a new brunette power, I guess. Along with this, I've noticed that I don't worry so much about hurting people's feelings. I used to let people treat me badly and then assure them that I wasn't offended so as to avoid hurting their feelings. Now, I'll just tell them that they're wrong and walk away. Oddly, I find that I'm not as offended or angry as I used to be.
So, I'm not blonde anymore. I'm not blonde on the outside. I'm not blond on the inside. And it feels good.