this is 25

I usually call her at around 8

when I know she’ll have just gotten to work

before either of us are mired in the tasks of the day because

there is something about having your mother, 300 miles away, be the the first person you speak to in the morning

I am starting to see her face in mine, rounder cheeks and darker half-moons under the eyes, but the shadow of her is there

at certain angles, on certain days, maybe when I miss her more

I found my first gray hair the other day and I know what they say about women and aging that the world says that we rot as soon as we ripen and I am now almost too old to date Dicaprio and that aging is a privilege and conforming to beauty standards anti-feminist but

I am not worried about dying or aging or becoming an invisible, frumpy middle aged woman

I am not worried about losing the currency of youth the slightly reckless edge of the days in the spring of your life,

No, I am simply exhausted by the feeling of being continually in motion

life constantly feeling infinitely more real like Dorothy slowly stepping into technicolor

there is a photo booth strip from 2012 taken in the rockaway mall

and it’s not that I want to be 15 again it’s that I want to be pressed into a photobooth with my best friends when things all felt a little more dreamy, a little less desperate

25 feels like constant optimization

like striving to be better in a way that makes you more palatable more worthy of consumption a better cog in the wheel of production

where is the time for languid repose and slow hedonism

you’re 25 and don’t stand for the same nonsense

sometimes its new nonsense

because you are having big feelings and because you are 25 you are rifling through the toy box of emotional coping skills you have learned through therapy, from friends, from knowing yourself better than you used to

you are trying to find the *right* way to emotionally regulate, to parse the waves in your chest until neat script is laid bare

detailing exactly what you should do and when and how

but there’s too much, too fast, and you are drowning within yourself

somehow bouyant and hopeful but also angry and afraid and your hands are simply too full

and you cry in your towel on a tuesday night (softly because you have a roommate and that is only polite)

you’ve forgiven so many people and are smarter and sharper

you are cooler now than you used to be

in most ways

she would be so proud of you

she would be afraid of you

she would want to impress you

she would wonder where the time has gone

maybe she would walk past you on the street and hardly recognize you

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