When I Grow Up

Oh hey, sorry I’m late. Current events had me seriously considering removing my frontal lobes. Took a minute but decided to forgo the procedure and finally sat down to write this.

This past Tuesday, I spent the first half of the day getting to know more amazing people in the community. Social workers, educators, activists and I even bumped into one of my favorite professors from grad school that taught me a great deal on how to do the work of social work.

Afterwards I headed home, cooked dinner and then Marichelle told me about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

In the midst of Roe v. Wade being overturned and on the eve of the two year mark of George Floyd’s murder and the recent shooting in Buffalo, it felt like if I didn’t have the morning I had of solid human connection that grounded me, I would have gathered a group of menstruating people, have us all put in ultra sized tampons, drive to the offices of Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett so we could stuff our blood plugs into a t-shirt gun (because yo, ultras are amazingly huge) and slap those assholes in the face while hearing satisfying “squish” sounds.

But instead, after dinner, I went with Marichelle to see her daughter, Emma, perform with her middle school chorus.

So I’m in the school auditorium, surrounded by parents, guardians, teachers, siblings etc. and just seething that we’re in a country that creates bills banning critical race theory that take aim at teachers. The same country that allows guns to take aim at teachers and students alike. We are in a country banning books that promote anti-racism in an attempt to groom a generation that will be complicit with a judicial system that allows a white man to murder a black man by pressing his knee into his neck until the life is choked out of him. Allows the accessibility of guns to children that will regurgitate the hate they ingested by the means of bullets in a grocery store. That gift wraps rifles for children who wait for their 18th birthday to carry out the lies screaming through their heads and direct it at the bodies of children.

And suddenly I snap out of it when about a hundred 7th and 8th grade kids start singing “I Want it That Way” by the Backstreet Boys and thought to myself, “twist.” Marichelle leans over and whispers she gets misty eyed when kids sing and I’m like, awwwwwwwwww. But in the back of my head, along with I’m sure many others in that auditorium, I was so fucking angry while looking at the kids with their masks on, getting on stage despite the ongoing rampant virus and just a few hours after children had died and continued to die in their school. And also pulling off an acapella rendition of Valerie by Amy Winehouse. I desperately wanted to stand up and scream, “That was a fucking BOP! Woot! That’s right, don’t let this fucking world stop you!” But their chorus teacher, Mr. E, expressed those feelings on my, and on all of our behalf, in such a kind, funny and much more appropriate way.

These kids trusted Mr. E. I saw how they looked to him for guidance and you could feel their collective confidence knowing that their teacher had their backs, cared for them, encouraged them and gave them the bravery to be vulnerable not just by singing in front of an auditorium of strangers, but to do so in the midst of the real threat of death.

Then it came time for Emma to take the stage along with her 6th grade peers and when it came time for them to sing “When I Grow Up,” I was all, “Emma was actually IN Matilda a few months ago. She’s gonna fucking nail this.” I’m pretty sure I even crossed my arms. And then the song I heard Emma practice at home about 372 times took on a completely different meaning.

🎶 I will be tall enough to reach the branches
That I need to reach to climb the trees
You get to climb when you're grown up

Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, 10

And when I grow up
I will be smart enough to answer all the questions
That you need to know the answers to
Before you're grown up

Alithia Ramirez, 10

And when I grow up
I will eat sweets every day on the way to work

Amerie Jo Garza, 10

And I will go to bed late every night

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10

And I will wake up when the sun comes up

Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10

And I will watch cartoons until my eyes go square

Eliana “Ellie” Garcia, 9

And I won't care 'cos I'll be all grown up

Jackie Cazares, 10

When I grow up
I will be strong enough to carry all the heavy things
You have to haul around with you
When you’re a grown up

Jailah Nicole Silguero, 10

And when I grow up
I will be brave enough to fight the creatures that you have to fight
Beneath the bed each night
To be a grown up

Jayce Luevanos, 10

And when I grow up
I will have treats every day

Xavier Lopez, 10

And I’ll play with things that mum pretends that mum's don't think I'll like

Jose Flores, 10

And I will wake up when the sun comes up

Tess Marie Mata, 10

And I will spend all day just lying in the sun
And I won't burn 'cos I'll be all grown up

Layla Salazar, 10

I will be brave enough to fight the creatures that you have to fight
Beneath the bed each night
To be a grown up

Makenna Lee Elrod, 10

Just because you find that life's not fair
It doesn't mean that you just have to grin and bear it

Maite Rodriguez, 10

If you always take it on the chin and wear it
Nothing will change

Miranda Mathis, 11

When I grow up

Nevaeh Bravo, 10

Just because I find myself in this story
It doesn't mean that everything is written for me

Rojelio Torres, 10

If I think the ending is fixed already
​I might as well be saying I think that it's ok

Uziyah Garcia, 10

And that's not right

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