She'll Grow Out of It This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Another Friday night and I'm alone, again. Idrag my disheveled, worn-out body to my comforting pile ofvideos, unable to decide between "Titanic" and"Speed" - until purple jagged writing catches myeye. I inspect the five-year-old handwriting."Cowgirlz" is sketched onto the poorly made label. Ipick up the old video and put it in the VCR.

I see agirl. She has pudgy, bruised little legs and bright red hair,inherited from her loving father. In her right hand is abroomstick with streamers laced up and down the wooden handle.Her smile goes from ear to ear. I see her mother in thebackground making a grilled cheese sandwich. The girl vanishesinto a whirl of streamers and hair, only to romp around theroom. She leaps past couches, over chairs and occasionallychases her spotted dog up and down the hall.

I marvelat the girl with spontaneous energy and not a care in theworld flying across the screen. Why didn't she care about theembarrassment or maturity of her actions? She was not broughtup that way. No one told this child what her ambitions shouldbe, what religion she should follow, or even what underwear tohave. She was a free spirit who changed her moods like thetides. Her parents taught her not to be afraid. She pushed thelimits so she could prepare to fly.

As I watched thevideo, I could sense this little girl's life replaying in mylife now. I saw her first day of school, when a blue piece ofpaper was passed out asking what we wanted to be when we grewup. Grow up? Who wanted to do that? It surely wasn't thisspirited little girl. When it was her turn to fill it out, sheproudly said she wanted to be a cowgirl. Her teacher laughed,and gave her parents a "She'll grow out of it"look.

The girl ran around until it was time for hergrilled cheese sandwich, prepared by Chef Mom. I watched asthe melted cheese dripped off the almost-burnt bread onto thepaper plate. I watched the first bite burn the little girl'smouth; she screamed in pain. The cameraman ran to her, leavinga screen of snow.

The world of this little girl stayedlike that for many years. Every year, when that blue piece ofpaper was passed out, she wrote, "Cowgirl." After awhile, the teachers stopped telling her parents she would growout of it, because they knew she never would.

Now I sitalone, in a world of confusion where I'm somehow singled out.Not by the hair on my head, or my still pudgy, bruised legs,but by the young cowgirl spirit still inside me.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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