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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
That's What She Said
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Monday
Feb182008

The Audacity of Youth

I swaggered through my twenties with the self-righteous assuredness that only youth brings. Always certain that somehow, even though I had been proven wrong, somehow I was right.

The audacity of youth.

My twenties were a cragged mountain, a crashing waterfall, violent ocean waves. Noise. My twenties were turbulent rivers, dark lakes with insidious undercurrents that grabbed at the pink feet of my peers. You can only tread water for so long.

My twenties were a harsh Metallica song, a violent poem, a nostalgia, tears, fear, indefinable rage, unabashed hope, an episode of 90210 and later Melrose Place. My twenties were shame, fist-fights with self-esteem, optimism and pessimism - all in five minutes time. My twenties were exhausting hikes on unexplored trails, dark moonless nights where I stumbled to and fro, howling in frustration yet not even sure I had a destination.... WHERE THE FUCK AM I GOING?!?

My thirties are slower, more thoughtful, introspective. Comfortable. I am slipping into my thirties like a warm bath or a new bathrobe. And unlike my twenties, I realize I don't know everything, that life is uncertain and that more often than not I am wrong.

I've been reading a lot lately. I am in love with John Steinbeck, he is equal - in my humble eyes - to Mark Twain as the greatest American author of all-time. For kicks; top favorite, most influential and unforgettable books in the opinion of my 30-year-old self... in no particular order are:

Roots - Alex Haley

Diary of Anne Frank

Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

Where The Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak

How The Grinch Stole Christmas - Dr. Seuss

Are You There God, It's Me Margaret - Judy Blume

Bedtime for Frances - Russell Hoban

Blueberries For Sal - Robert McCloskey

The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith - Fawn M. Brodie

Ramona The Brave - Beverly Cleary

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain

It - Stephen King

Outsiders - S.E. Hinton

David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

Charlotte's Web - E.B. White

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay - Michael Chabon

I'm sure I'm missing a bunch that really affected me. Of course, a majority of these are a result of my particular experiences and I wonder if any of you share the same love of certain childhood books. Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention those bastions of solid, affordable childcare: The Babysitters Club. The series played quite a role in Elementary School Monica's life as did those fucking Wakefield twins from Sweet Valley. Anne Frank was the first book that made me cry, Grapes of Wrath the most recent.