Like most emo kids of my generation, I quickly developed a love for Garden State in a way that felt more like religion. The film felt biblical in a sense, something for me to quote and worship. Something to lift me up out of my anxiety and sadness and inevitable adolescent breakdown caused by life-altering events like moving out of your parents home, going away to college. Events that, despite being funded wholly by your parents, mimicked a grown-up life that you fought to recognize when you looked in the mirror. Anyway, Garden State was my gospel that year. Over a decade later, I still think of it from time to time.
I'm in a season of life that is analytical at best. I worry a lot, I wonder a lot. I think things that other people write off as unnecessary what if's or worst case scenarios but, to me, they're valid. Right now, they're valid.
There's the first time you realize that your parents are human, that they're flawed. That they're not bulletproof and neither are you and sometimes you know better, or different, or more. You realize they don't have all of the answers and, more than that, sometimes they produce more questions instead.
I'm in a place where I question everything because I have to. Because if I don't, who will? Because I'm an adult, and a parent, and responsible for taking the lead in a series of events that make me want to pull the covers over my head and cry while listening to Bright Eyes. Old school Bright Eyes. Like Fever and Mirrors era Bright Eyes.
I try to limit my worry and questions, trying to find the perfect time slots to stick them. Having Ethan makes it easier, a little bit. Something about the resilience of children and the utter joy they find in everything feels a little contagious. Having Ethan to let me play childhood with him, to let me have a second go-round of youth, it helps. At least until I spin my worry a little bit, until I let it convince me that I'm failing him somehow. In some way.
I am an adult now. I am a wife, a mother. I am the maker of lunches and folder of laundry and keeper of the glitter-coated house we call home. I am the wearer of yoga pants and the giver of what I hope is the most incredible childhood ever. And then sometimes I am no more than a scared seventeen year old girl with three-inch-thick eyeliner who is nothing more than a walking vessel of Garden State quotes and fear. Fear that I know is valid.
"I know it hurts. That's life. If nothing else, It's life. It's real, and sometimes it fuckin' hurts, but it's sort of all we have."