Dirty Thirty. Wow.
I am happy and relieved to finally say good-bye to my twenties. But it’s not “good riddance.” It’s more “fond farewell.”
I have learned SO MUCH over this past decade. Also, let’s be real: I have accomplished a really impressive amount of cool stuff over this past decade, both personally and professionally. I’m not even gonna play at being falsely humble or modest here: I’m totally awesome and I kicked a lot of ass in my twenties. I was brave and forthright and honest and bright. Sometimes I made really stupid decisions, bad mistakes. Sometimes I was way too hard on myself.
But sometimes I was really good to myself. Sometimes, I was bloody spectacular.
So many moments over this past decade were formative. Everything from leaving a horrible abusive relationship at 21 to starting Girl Talk at 25. Graduating college at 22, getting one of two Master’s Degrees at 29 (and being very well on my way to getting my second in May). Starting not one but two manuscripts. The shitty meaningless boring jobs and the work that I loved, the work that fed me. Getting published a lot, teaching a lot, performing a lot. Touring and doing college gigs. Meeting so many sweet people. Making friends who have become beloved family. Building towards actually making a living as a working artist. Bad awkward funny-story sex that still taught me a lot about my body and my boundaries. And the best sex of my entire life, the kind of fucking that left me humming and panting and alive with the utter possibility of the world. Falling in love a few times and becoming a better person for it. Learning so much every time my heart broke open.
But what it all boils down to is this: The biggest thing I learned in my twenties is How To Have A Body. That is the lesson that made all the other joys and discoveries possible. At 20, I was glassy-eyed and constantly underslept, anoretic and running on fumes. To say I was completely fucking dissociated is an understatement. My consciousness floated about 6 inches above my head at all times. Over the past decade, I have gone, slowly and painstakingly but surely, from floating above my head to actually being in my body all the time. To actually listening to my body.
Sometimes I want to send a picture of myself now to my 20 year-old self. She was so small and scared, so trapped and cornered, so hollow. I want to feed her everything she wasn’t letting herself take in — food and rest, safety and love. I want to give her a soft place to land, to remind her of what she deserves. I want to say “Bella, abundanza. Look. Look. Look who you’re going to be and what you’re going to do. You’ll leave all of this behind and you will be so much better and happier for it. You are so brave.”
I’m looking forward to growing into my bravery and bad-assery in my 30s. And I wonder what 40 year old me will want to say to 30 year old me. What that picture will look like.
I bet it’ll be really good, whatever it is.