When I Grow Up.

Social Terrorism: the use of social interaction and intimidation in the pursuit of forced friendship with people you’d otherwise actively avoid.


I mention Social Terrorism only to bring up those awful questions that always seem to be asked. What’s your favorite color? What’s your favorite book? Where’s your hometown? Guys! I can’t even be sure that when it’s my turn in the circle to answer these questions that I’ll even know my name.

But usually I have answers at least, for hours later when my heartrate calms the hell down. Green. One Day by David Nicholls or The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan, depending on the day. Saginaw because I grew up there from two to eighteen although my parents live in Richmond now, and where they go I follow.

The questions that are the worst are the ones I don’t have an answer for. What would you sing at Karaoke? Or you could kill me. What would you rather hire someone to do—cook, clean, or yard work? Eh, all of the above? What did you want to be when you were younger? Oh, please, Jesus, no. Not this question! This question has haunted me my entire life.


I didn’t want to be anything when I was younger. I had no concept of that idea. Other people wanted to be firemen, princesses, doctors, and, I don’t know, an astronaut. I don’t know what I’ve been answering since whenever people decided I was old enough to answer this question. I know that it was lies because I’ve lived half my life believing I hadn’t wanted to grow up to be anything.

I am happy to report that I’ve discovered this is a lie. Well, mostly a lie.


I wanted to have magic. But I don’t think that I wanted to grow up to be a witch. I think that, deep down, a part of me knew I was magical. I didn’t run around with a wand or pretend to ride a broomstick though. Isn’t it crazy how Harry Potter has completely twisted our view of pretending to be magical? The series has completely settled into our very bones, changing us in ways that we don’t even realize.

No, my brand of magic was weirdly earthy. I’d run the full gamut of the property, from very near the road to the backmost part of the back yard. We had a wicked awesome tree in the backyard that split into three trunks near the base. But, I’d run around with this totally inefficient basket. You’ll know it once I’ve describe this because I’m convinced every suburban family has one of these tucked into the corner of their garage, covered in cobwebs and dried leaves. The bucket is oval shaped and the walls were a series of perfect square holes cut into the plastic. It was designed for you to take it to the beach and not trap mounds of sand in it, although in the off season, there was still sand that clung to the deflated balls that were crammed in it.

As a bucket to hold plastic shovels at the beach, it was gold. Creating mastermind spells, not so much. Still, I’d Run the perimeter, gathering little cherries from the tree out front, crab apples from the tree on the border between my yard and the neighbor’s. I’d pick flowers here and there. Jump and climb around the big tree in the back of the yard. I’d run around the other side of the house, grab some bark from the white birch tree. Then I grab a handful of needles from the big bushes at the front of the house. When everything was mixed and haphazardly shaken in the bottom two inches of the bucket, I’d grab the mixture and toss it in a circle.


I never chanted anything, called on any spirits. It’s not as Wiccan or Satanic as people could strew it to be. I just remember believing in the greatness of nature and the possibility that I could do more than the average person, that I had some crazy bit of power. For those moments as I spun in a circle, getting dizzy and lightheaded, I was magical.


This is probably why I can’t give Harry Potter up as easily as others, why I still cling to it a bit. Probably, I just channeled all of these latent childhood emotions into the series because suddenly, yes. I wanted that. Actually, through further reading, I want to be a Paper Magician so bad I can taste it. That’s a different blog post though.

I think this is why I want to become a writer. I can’t wave a wand or blend herbs to make magical things happen or appear. I can however, write a sentence that makes an image appear in someone’s head. If I get really good, one day I’ll be able to create a whole world that’s so well written that it’s more real to someone than the world they live than. I might not be able to ever turn a rat into a tea cup, but I could possibly make someone feel emotion just by what I write.

That’s real magic.

That’s what I want to do when I grow up.



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