I am almost an adult. Eighteen is just around the corner now and so much seems to come with it. From the perspective of seventeen, eighteen epitomizes freedom. Of course, I’ll still be living with my parents and will be far from financial (and thus, true) independence. But there is so much I can do at eighteen that I haven’t been able to the past seventeen plus years. I get to vote in the 2016 presidential election and the idea is surreal as someone who has immersed myself in politics from a young age. I’ll move away from home – how far away remains to be seen, but I’m hoping to migrate north. I’ll graduate high school and start college and leave the only hometown I’ve ever had behind in a permanent way. Eighteen is a big deal. The real deal.
I am a straight arrow: I don’t drink or smoke or cheat or otherwise break the law (aside from the occasional speed limit). Adults often describe me as an old soul. None of the “typical” high school behaviors have ever appealed to me, and it’s really hard for me to empathize with other kids my age who do engage in those behaviors.
I am a straight arrow, but I want to get a tattoo. I have an idea of what I want – several ideas actually. But I think I desire the somewhat rebellious and stereotypical experience of inking a part of my body more than I want a specific quote or design. I think most people would be surprised if I got a tattoo because it’s unexpected for their idea of who I am. But I’ve secretly wanted one since I was fifteen and if I get it in an easily coverable place, what’s the harm?
I am a straight arrow, but I also want to change my name. A legal name change is a concept I’ve tossed around in my head for years, but I remember seriously considering it for the first time when I was fifteen. In fact, both the desire for a tattoo and the desire to change my name both cemented themselves on the same trip during the summer between freshman and sophomore year. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my name. On the one hand, it’s very nineteenth century-esque, very traditional, and very old-lady sounding. On the other hand, it’s uncommon nowadays, it’s a proper English name, and it’s mine. Legally changing my name would be complicated and, unlike the tattoo, I am not entirely sure I’ll do it. But I know what I would change it to, and after nearly three years of brainstorming, this ideal name fits me like a glove.
There are three privileges that come with turning eighteen that I plan to or at least hope to take advantage of: voting, tattooing, and name changing. I am not going to buy cigarettes or gamble or do any of the other more sinister things one can begin doing legally at eighteen. I don’t feel the need to do things that I don’t have any desire to do simply because I can. I have been a straight arrow, an old soul, for seventeen years and I doubt one more year will change that. But I do want to pounce on the freedoms I’ll be given. I want my own little rebellious stage.
So bring me that horizon.