Yesterday, October 21st, was my birthday.
At six o’clock in the morning, my mom became the first person to ask “So, how’s it feel to be seventeen?” Well, Mom, it feels the same exact way it felt to be sixteen. Nothing changed overnight. A Birthday Fairy didn’t come to me in the middle of the night, sprinkling me with pixie dust that made my boobs bigger and filled brain with wise, mature thoughts. Sure, I can legally buy M-rated video games and see R-rated movies by myself now, but it’s not like I plan to do either of those things immediately. It wouldn’t make a difference whether I turned seventeen yesterday or eight days from now. Thanks to my terrible forgetfulness, I’ll be writing sixteen as my age until March anyway.
I never understood why kids get themselves excited about turning a certain age. I remember in seventh grade the people around me couldn’t wait to turn thirteen and finally become teenagers. Wooo, your age finally ends in the word “teen”. How thrilling. You want to know why I look forward to my birthday? People give me stuff and I get to eat a cake with my name on it. It’s the one day of the year that I can be somewhat self-centered without feeling guilty. Now that’s something to be excited about.
Overall, my birthday was fantastic. I was finally able to drive to school after two and a half months of sitting on the parking permit waiting list, Starbucks actually had a pumpkin cream cheese muffin left after school, and my mom made ham. I love ham.
Today marked the last day of Homecoming Week at my school. After three years of high school, I still can’t say I fully understand the point of this yearly, week-long extravaganza. I hear it pertains to football, which I just so happen to despise. All I know is that I’m expected to dress according to a different theme on every day of the week and will be asked “Are you going to the dance?” roughly eighty-seven times. There is also a “mandatory” pep rally that I’m able to escape every year by using my quick wit and catlike agility.
Homecoming Week would probably mean more to me if I had school spirit, but I don’t. I never have, and I doubt I ever will. The feeling of such intense pride is something I’ve never been able to comprehend. I don’t feel the need to throw on a tacky rhinestoned flag shirt on the Fourth of July because I live in America, nor do I feel the need to clip the Polish flag to my car window because of my Polish heritage. I especially don’t see the point in braiding ribbons of the ugliest shades of maroon and “gold” into my hair because I’m receiving my education from a particular high school.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I’m not proud of who I am or where I’m from. In fact, I’m quite happy to be a Polish American teenager attending a high school in the suburbs of Chicago. It bothers me that some people interpret my indifference as some sort of rebellion against what everyone else is doing. That’s not the case at all. I didn’t choose to wear my Kingdom Hearts t-shirt on Thursday instead of a shirt in my class color because I hate Juniors. I wore it because I happen to think Shadow Heartless are kinda awesome and it just felt right for the day. Is that such a crime? Apparently, it is. I couldn’t go to a single class without at least one person asking me where my school spirit was. Even the creepy dude at Quizno’s asked me about it. The answer truly is “I don’t know.” I don’t know why God/Allah/Morgan Freeman decided to leave that trait out of my internal being when I was a developing fetus. All I know is that it’s not there.
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