Mysteries of Adulthood

by Kate Angus

That the phrase “rode hard and put away wet” has nothing to do with sex, just horses and having a rough time.


How can they be your peers if they are reviewing you?

The fine line between “being true to yourself” and “ignoring good advice.”

How you can be so intertwined with someone that they are the soil you’re rooted into deep or vice versa, but then suddenly or slowly you never talk again.

What exactly was supposed to be comforting about The Ugly Duckling or empowering about Jane Eyre.

Cosmo sex advice.

Why so many diseases have pretty names: chlamydia, rosacea, scarlet fever.

That it is entirely possible there was a moment when you were the youngest/smartest/prettiest/funniest/sexiest/most successful/best-dressed person in the room, but you were too busy wondering if anyone would notice if you went back for more chips and onion dip to notice and enjoy it.

The appeal of chihuahuas or Botox or sunglasses with almost clear lenses.

At what precise moment did you go from being a “late bloomer” to “barren”?

How you became the kind of person who falls asleep many nights to “Thunderstorm Sleep” on Spotify.

Likewise, when did getting socks for Christmas become a hoped-for thing?

Why it took you so long to get bangs.

Mutton chop sideburns.

Racing strip goatees.

Why certain men, particularly in Brooklyn, put a barrier of facial hair between themselves and the world.

What went through the mind of the woman your friend’s friend once dated when she had “Welcome to the Boneyard” tattooed just above her crotch? And would it have been better if higher self-esteem had led her to inscribe “Welcome to the Bone Palace”?

Why things (relationships, rather than old cars or blenders) fall apart.

How last week you snuck cigarettes in the woods in high school; yesterday you were in your college apartment insisting to your roommates that wrapping spices in paper towels and hitting them with a hammer was basically the same as having a mortar and pestle so couldn’t we spend the money on extra vodka for the housewarming instead? Now you have an accountant and a lawyer. You are older than your parents were when you were born. You have shushed young people on the subway. They are making sequels to the sequels they already made to your childhood’s iteration of Star Wars. How being young seemed like a ship sailing into what looked like an endless horizon until suddenly you’d run aground in stronger currents near the opposite shore.

Kate Angus is an editor at Augury Books and the Creative Writing Advisor for The Mayapple Center for Arts and Humanities. Her work has appeared in The Awl, The Rumpus, Best New Poets 2010, and Indiana Review. She is occasionally on “The Twitter” at @collokate.

Previously: Dating Profiles, Edited for Honesty

Photo via rjcox/Flickr