This was originally posted on September 6, 2005.
I am 32 years old. I have a college degree. I am a proficient musician. I am a good teacher, a decent mother, and I think not a bad writer. I send thank-you notes and compose music and grow beautiful roses in my yard. I have, or so I thought, grown past the insecurities of my teenage years and can stand up straight and be a grown-up.
And then I hurt the feelings of a friend today, and I am suddenly thirteen again, with unruly hair and braces and spotty skin. I feel small and embarrassed, and the bottom has torn out of my bookbag and my papers have fallen under the feet of the big kids in the hallway, and now they are dirty and unmendable.
How does that happen? How does a competent, confident adult suddenly lose nineteen years of her life? I don't know. All I know is that I am sorry, and I am still not quite old enough to know how to say it right.