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My life philosophy revolved around the fact that I didn’t plan to live past my twenties, so it didn’t matter if the drugs I took were cut with all kinds of toxic chemicals or if a fourteen-year-old girl really shouldn’t walk alone on Avenue D at three in the morning.I smoked cigarettes not in spite of the fact that they’d shorten my life, but hoping they would.When my milkshake was gone and it was time to go, I broke down.I cried and held onto fistfuls of his shirt like I had when he first told me that he wasn’t going to be living with us anymore.I stopped wearing all black at some point in college, but a part of me held onto that sadness that had kept my father close.But planning a wedding, being deliriously happy and in love, there was no denying that I was moving on.I made friends with the homeless people in the park because their level of motivation and engagement in society matched mine more closely than anyone else I could find.
That period transitioned so seamlessly into my adolescent punk phase that I’m not sure when or if I decided it was over, but either way, I wore all black pretty much every day for almost a decade.
And at twelve years old, pretty much my whole life was in the future.
* * * In preparation for my father’s funeral, I asked my mother to take me to buy some black clothing.
He encouraged me to not let adolescence shrink me: “stand up and be proud,” he wrote, warning that young girls — “do you prefer young women?
” he asked in parenthesis — sometimes hide their intelligence to avoid drawing attention to themselves.