Apparently, on the day that your firstborn turns fourteen, amidst a week of back-to-back high school tours, you march into a salon and insist on having all ten inches of your hair chopped off. Once home, realizing your cute Greta Gerwig style was not achieved, you take scissors to yourself and begin cutting… but consumed by panic stop mid way. You have removed clumps of hair (trying to achieve “wisp”) and added 1/2 bangs to your $45 salon style.

“I can fix this,” you think and dig out big earrings and dark eyeliner, trying to re-create that semi-Goth look you rocked in the 90’s. You manage to achieve a Courtney Love look, but less “Nirvana days” Courtney and more like “heading to a rehab retirement home” Courtney.

“Music will make this better,” you decide and start scrolling through Spotify, where you stumble upon the first Cranberries album you ever owned and turn it up full tilt. Whirling about in your living room, close to tears, you are wailing the lyrics to “Zombie” to two guinea pigs who clearly don’t know what’s in your head.

Sinead, Garbage, Ani, Tori… it’s a dark and slippery slope, one you haven’t been on since before you had kids, and it makes you feel powerful and sad and angry and young. For an instant, you wonder why you never smoked clove cigarettes. It isn’t until you Google “Piercing Parlors”, that the rush begins to fade and you remember you have kids to pick up from school with a sink full of dishes and yard full of dog poop. You throw on the Cowboy Junkies for one last song before you get back to listening to, “Being Mortal” this month’s book club selection.

Grocery list in hand, baseball cap on, you climb into your van, early enough to make a stop before you hit the car line up. At the last second, you glide past the Shop and Save and pull into Paul’s Piercing Pagoda.

Happy birthday my sweet child. In just a few more years, you and I will be the same age.

(Parts of this essay may or may not be true.)

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