Today I feel self-important. I feel vain.
I also feel wonderful, and excited, and free.
And the mix of both is making me sick. Every emotion that one can have the night before their eighteenth birthday is brewing in my stomach and frying up my lungs, punished as they’re waiting for the verdict come tomorrow.
I don’t know why I’m so nervous for something I’ve seen coming for years.
So long as you live to see it, your eighteenth birthday is inevitable. And, in most parts of the world, upgrades you from a free subscription to the most expensive one available.
Luckily for me, I’ll be holding off the expenses for at least another year. College is waiting, moving out is waiting, and debt has not yet accumulated.
So for now, I get to celebrate being 18 and completely, one hundred percent, free of anything but the price of concert tickets, airbnb’s, and, after my test on the 27th, gas and car maintenance. Maybe my parents will make me pay my phone bill, or something other than the monthly charge of Bear’s BarkBox subscription and my part of the credit card bill, but that would be it.
And that makes me grateful, and guilty, and more and more sick.
None of it is anything but positive, all of it is a gift from my parents. A year free of expectations further than taking my sisters to school and bringing them home, cleaning up the house when asked, and eventually driving around all my siblings so that they don’t have to.
But I’m scared that I’ll waste it.
That I’ll be so scared of not meeting my own standards that I won’t even attempt to rise to them at all. That I’ll give up on my dream because it becomes so much. That I’ll become the coward I always feared I would be.
Which is a lot of big feelings to have the day before your eighteenth birthday, when nothing but a few laws starts to affect things.
Or maybe a lot more than a few laws starts to effect things, and I’m minimizing it all to calm my own nerves.
Either way, I feel sick and twisted and gratefully excited, in the most vain and awful way imaginable.
Woe is me.
But today I go to the Opening Night King’s game with my dad, where I get to have the pretzel I missed on Saturday and likely, much more. And tomorrow I get to spend time with friends I haven’t seen since June, at one of my favorite places in the world, Universal Studios HHN.
Even then, it’ll be rounded out by another King’s game on Saturday, and then I’ll be left to think about being 18 and all the things that it will be.
Thinking of the next three days soothes the stomach and the lungs, but my brain has been left alone with too much time to overthink today, and all about the wrong and worst things.
Like this blog post.
I have another version of it in my drafts, under the same title, with a happier disposition. In the morning, this post went like this:
I love my birthday.
And tomorrow, actually, will be my 18th one.
So, Happy Birthday Eve to me!
This year, my birthday will be a three day long event. Today, I’m going to the opening night King’s game with my dad, where I’ll be having cinnamon Wetzel’s pretzels and screaming for them to take a shot to my heart’s content.
Then, on my actual birthday, I’ll spend the day to myself, reading and writing and watching movies, hot chocolate in hand, before heading to Universal Studios with my mom, my brother, and my best friends. We’ll be going to Hollywood Horror Nights, where we’ll be screaming and crying in between a couple butter beers. We’ll stay all night, and then have a short-lived sleep over before heading home, for the third and final night of my birthday extravaganza.
A second King’s game.
I’m so excited, but it all feels surreal.
Last year, I had the most blissful birthday.
My brother made me a birthday cake identical to the one Hagrid made for Harry in Sorcerer’s Stone. My whole family decorated the house with Harry Potter themed backdrops and balloons, and my best friend came to sleepover, and we stayed up all night so that I could introduce her to the movies. We got half way through Goblet of Fire before we called it quits, and fell asleep laughing.
I lived in a different world then.
One in the throws of the pandemic, one where I was new to the workforce and struggling to balance it with school.
One where I imagined I had the money and the knowledge to be a fully functioning adult by the time the year turned again.
And now the year has turned again, and I know absolutely nothing, beside the fact that I know absolutely nothing.
When I was little, and even just last year, it was my understanding that eighteen was the first year of the adult.
Now I know it is simply the year of a lost child.
As you can see, it started out with something like sunshine. And then, I realized all that lay ahead, and what I must sound like posting something about myself and my birthday for the second time this week.
And all of a sudden, I was sick.
But I’m not so sick anymore.
I’m excited and… anxious.
In an itching for whatever’s to come over the next year kind of way.
It’s my 18th Birthday Eve, and I’m so excited and anxious I could puke, but instead I’ll be getting ready to eat a pretzel feet away from a floor covered in ice. And I’m going to love it.
I’ll be back on Saturday to let you all know what 18 feels like so far, and to give you the tenth chapter of I Become Kitt, which has been sitting there longer than I have, writing this post.
(P.S. It will be my 100th post EVER, and I’m so excited!!!)
Kate Santos, 17 (anxiously awaiting the arrival of 18)
Thursday, October 14th, Birthday Eve 2021
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California