You are every sentence you've put together,
Food you've eaten,
Place you've gone,
And elementary drawing you've made.
Every flower you've picked,
Teacher you've had,
And selfie you took, then deleted.
Every hour of sleep you've mustered,Impulsive purchase made at the mall,
And question you never raised your hand to ask.
Every eye contact made with strangers,
Tip you left,
Elevator talk you had on your good days.
Every rolling stop at stop signs,
Self-important status on social media,
And person you pretended you weren't cutting in line.
You are every time you've lost your keys,
Flavor of gum you've chewed,
And haircut you've tried.
Everything you took the time to learn,
And every moment you chose to procrastinate instead.
We arrive at adulthood with none of the light-footedness
Of a child who is only every light-up shoe they've owned,
Alphabet they've recited,
And friend they've made at the top of a playground slide.
At 18, we're already carrying 6,500 days of identity.
We compact hours and we hide them behind the ones we're most proud of,
Leaving a corner of our consciousness for all the gray matter
We want to think doesn't matter;
The phone calls we've hung up on,
White lies we've excused,
Terrible daydreams we didn't mean to dream.
We enforce a culture where details don't matter,
And the more broadly we define ourselves, the better;
So it's no wonder we pretend to just be the successful pitch
At the board meeting last week,
When we are still the sweaty palms,
And business flats we decided on the drive to work
That we wish we hadn't worn that day.
The details still exist, no matter how vague we choose to be.
There is no detail we can throw out;
They exist, engrained into our 150,000 hours and counting.
The wonder, really, is that we are not arriving at adulthood
With any of that lightfootedness of a child
Who is only a canvas barely begun.
We are masterpieces colored by those seconds we can't throw out;
Already one million brush strokes by the time we turn two.
A million brush strokes that belong to only us.
You are every laugh you didn't see coming,
Every time you got up on the first alarm,
And every voluntary detour travelled for the sake of a friend.
At the same time,
You are a still every tear the public didn't see,
Promise broken to yourself by the snooze button,
And every guiltless "no" that escaped your lips.
And it's okay.
Society may applaud perfection,
But painting by numbers means nothing
To men who use strokes and colors they decided upon themselves.