Baby Got Back: Thoughts on a Year
Last night I killed a 16 oz. coffee at the table by the window in one of my old haunts with a new but dear friend. We realized together that, despite a few false starts and intermediate life lessons, we’re doing exactly what our childhood selves wanted for us. He’s a teacher and writer, married to an artist who always dreamed of being an artist, and I’m stepping back in to the design world and writing again. A year ago last night I bet I was sitting in that same coffee shop, scared of the future and the fact that I chose just 24 hours before not to be an academic—not to pursue the dream for which my 18-year-old self committed to working her ass off. As I turn twenty-seven, I have the nagging feeling 18-year-old Koh would write me a nasty letter, probably in verse, about how disappointed she is in me for giving up the dream. She has no idea.
My year at twenty-five was a period of slow losing. By the time I reached twenty-six, I didn’t feel like I had much left to give or to be taken from me. It certainly wasn’t all bad. I lost things that made me better for the losing. I was a walking Elizabeth Bishop poem. It seemed like Twenty-Six would be a continuation of those losses. And for a while it was. I lost a lot of trust in friends. I lost the last bit of hope I had in relationships and people’s ability to build healthy ones. But because of the preceding year, I also lost that last layer of inhibitions that had told me for the past twenty-six years, “Don’t do that.” “Don’t say that.” “Don’t risk it.” So, I step in to Twenty-Seven open to new things and to getting things back. Because sometimes, though we don’t deserve it, we do get things back: dreams, energy, ideas, people, and the fortitude to try. So instead of my usual list of new experiences I resolve to have in the coming year, here are twenty-six things—small and tall—that I got back this year.
- Clothing and costume design. I got to design one of my favorite period productions with some old friends (who in that way I also got back).
- A sewing machine.
- College friends who are now my post-college friends.
- The experience of writing for pleasure.
- The experience of writing for money.
- Hope for Veronica Mars. You guys, the movie comes out March 14.
- The last bit of hope I had in relationships and people’s ability to build healthy ones.
- A sense of place, though I won’t be here forever.
- Time to cook.
- Creative evenings.
- A sense of direction.
- People to bake for.
- Venues for wearing pretty dresses.
- Sleepovers with my BFFs.
- Someone Special.
- San Diego.
- A coffee press.
- Quiet mornings.
- Daily hugs.
- An orchid plant.
- Sunshine. On many days.
- Sleeping soundly through the night.
- An unshakable feeling that I am enough.
- Feeling loved for exactly who and what I am.