Kelly E Fine

The Way I See It

Things I'm Letting Go Of In My 26th Year

Today is my 26th birthday. I feel the same as I always do on my birthday. A little anxious. A little sad. Incredibly attention starved. 

I normally spend this day thinking about what I learned in the last year. But when I woke up, all I could think about was how much I didn't learn. Or rather, how many things I'm holding on to. How many things are holding me back. Here's the list of preoccupations I'm letting go of in my 26th year:

  1. I have this memory of secretly letting my sister's Iguana off of its leash, and it never coming back. Did that really happen? Was I monster? Am I still?
  2.  The %n trick was mean. 
  3. Why did I spend so much of 2009 watching boys play video games? That sucked so bad!
  4. And you know what else sucked so bad? Every year of elementary school my teachers made me apply for gifted and talented, and every year I didn't get in! 
  5. Once I was at a sleepover and borrowed a cordless phone and dialed RadioDisney over and over for an hour. When I finally got through, I asked them to play The Way You Make Me Feel. They never did! And then everyone at the party thought I lied!
  6. Speaking of Radio Disney, I can't believe Sophia F got to burp live on the air. And I can't believe she didn't make a bigger deal about it afterwards. I was on a British radio station last year because I accidentally went viral and I find a reason to bring it up every day, if I can. Now, for example. Maybe this should also be number 7.
  7. See above.
  8. For a long time I hated Taylor Swift and everyone thought I was dramatic. Now everyone is on board too and I don't hate her as much! Maybe she deserves a second chance! 
  9. I'm a contrarian. I always have been. It's so dumb. It's definitely why I am reconsidering my opinion of Taylor Swift and It's also definitely why I've never seen the movie Up. I'm gonna work on it, I guess.
  10. I cannot believe I let someone cut bangs on me in 2005 and then kept cutting bangs on me for 3 years.
  11. In 12th grade, this mean girl told me I had a mustache, so I got it waxed. The wax burned me, and then I had a burn mustache, which is MUCH worse.  I think about it a lot.
  12. I should have gone out more in college. 
  13. In second grade, my mom got me this sweet blue suede pearl snap from Limited Too and I lost it. I miss that shirt still.
  14. I am really funny, and I should have more twitter followers, and I am bitter.
  15.  I have this recurring nightmare that I take out my retainer, and all my teeth are attached to it instead of my mouth. And then I go find my mom, who is waiting in a very long line, and she gets angry at me for losing my teeth.  
  16.  I still have my blankie from when I was a child. It's a torn up piece of a twin sized sheet. What am I supposed to do with this as I get even older? I can't get rid of it. Should I put it in a shadow box?  Is that even weirder?
  17. I have a constant fear that someone is going to ask me to fill in a map of the United States, and I won't be able to, and it'll ruin me. I tried to learn all the states! Missouri just will! Not! Stick!
  18. I think I'm done trying to like Tomatoes
  19. I have weird toes. They're super tiny and sorta cartoony. 26 is the year I stop apologizing for my tiny nails when I get a pedicure.
  20. Humpty Dumpty is a children's story about a man falling to his death. Wtf?

I wanted to get to 26 things, but the premise of this list is already so tenuous that I couldn't do it. Maybe I'll update throughout the year. Probably I won't. Regardless, happy birthday to me. I hope my 26th year is carefree as hell.

Kelly Fine
This is a Bronx-bound 4 express train

When I moved to New York City last July, I had my misgivings. The city smells like hot garbage in the summer. The sun sets at 3:45pm in the winter. The subway is stifling year round and you never have any space to yourself, ever. 16 months later, I still feel all of those things. NYC is overpopulated and over stimulating and I do not feel at home here. But it is my home, for now, and sometimes it isn't all bad. 

This is not a blog post about growing to love New York City. This is a blog post about growing to tolerate the subway. This is a list of little moments that made me forget, for a minute, that I was in a metal fart can crawling beneath the city at 30mph.

1. Once, I sneezed really really hard and this woman shouted "bless you" at me from the other side of the car. I nodded at her to say "thank you." She shouted back "if you win the lottery today, remember who blessed you." She was wearing a pink fleece and had on a huge striped scarf and she looked like a character in a children's book. I didn't win the lottery but I will NEVER forget who blessed me.

2. There's this radiolab episode about a man's dead parents that he thinks are haunting his house and I was tearing up because it made me so sad. I'm not a subtle crier. No one batted an eye, except for one kid that stared right at me. He made sure I knew that he knew that I was ugly crying. I respected that.

3. I fell asleep after the company halloween party because I let my friend Kelsey talk me into taking one single tequila shot. I knew better than that, but I took the tequila shot anyway, and so I fell asleep on the train at 9pm. It was not the first nor was it the last time I would fall asleep on the train. But this time, a man gently poked me to tell me we had to switch trains, and then stood next to me to make sure I didn't fall asleep again waiting for the next train. I didn't fall asleep again (that time) but I appreciated his help anyway.

4. The day after the election, the trains were completely silent. That never happens. It was eery. But I made eye contact with every single woman, and no one smiled, but we were together and we were okay.

5. I was sitting across from this adorable little boy. He kept making faces at his mom, but she was looking at her phone. So he glanced over at me, and I stuck my tongue out. Then he stuck his tongue out. Then, for the next 25 minutes, we made weird faces at each other. Everyone around us was loving it. When the man next to me tried to get in on the contest, the kid looked at me like "get a load of this dude! this is our thing!" and I looked at the kid like "strong agree!" and we both ignored that man and kept making faces at each other until it was time for me to get off the train. I miss that kid every day.

6. There was a woman crying very subtly, masterfully really, on my morning commute. I barely even noticed except suddenly, a literal angel crossed the train and handed her 3 tissues and a makeup remover wipe. The crying woman accepted these gifts and blew her nose. The angel said "girl, I'm sorry. But whatever happened, it will pass. I promise." And the crying woman nodded, thankful, and promptly wiped off all of her mascara. It was a really high quality makeup remover wipe. The makeup came off so easily!

7. This morning, I saw the most babushka looking babushka I've ever seen. She had a cane. She had a million knits on and a shawl over her head and she was a little hunched over and she could have been a hundred years old. I gave her my seat and she patted my head and I immediately googled "does a head pat count as legal adoption" because I really hoped it did. 

I might never feel at home here. But I'm working on it. And these moments on the train, even though they're far outnumbered by bad smells and bad train traffic ahead of us, help. 



Kelly Fine