So they say that your cells are constantly being replaced, different cells at different rates, but the schoolyard estimate is roughly every seven years, you are a new person. Which means that on this, the eve of my 28th birthday, I'm am heading into my fifth iteration of Mary. It's a little bit like different Doctors on Dr. Who. Everyone is different and the same. They have different companions. They have different quirks. Some of them have leather jackets. So what are the Classic Marys?
Here's how I see mes.
1) 0-6. Not much to say, but I've seen pictures. Got to be Rapunzel when placing with friends, got all my hair chopped off. Preferred X-Men to G. I. Joe when playing with the boys because who wants to be Scarlet every time? A lot of barefooting it over to the Cowles' and around the neighborhood in general. A little pet of her siblings, except her closet brother, for whom she is probably a pet peeve. I have a handprint I made in preschool somewhere, and I had a doll I named "Ahhh....cookie" and two imaginary friends: one named cougar and the other being the ghostbusters (collectively?).
2) 7-13. Not, perhaps, my most graceful years, but imaginative ones. I played elaborate games with my friends based off an imaginary world called Allistar, which I had maps, histories, the whole shebang worked out for. Wrote a lot of collaborative/morbid/silly things and learned to rove in a gang of middle schoolers. Sometimes we danced to swing music in the basement. Aspiration: to be a spy. Lied all the time, but about insignificant things, like owning a horse somewhere. Hated to be called "cute," owned day-glow shorts (it was the 90s), bought my first cd (Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack), learned to watch TV that the rest of my family didn't (ER), began to realize that not everyone lives the same life I do.
3) 14-20. Ah, it would be nice to say that these were my blossoming years, but not so. Mostly awkward, but mostly very happy. Inherited my first car (LaVerne the LaSabre), and bought my first car (Fireball). Individual over-acheiving: swept a high school writing contest, Provo City Youth Government, drama, Mock Trial, Divine Comedy, inscape, even eeked through AP Calculus. Met people who hadn't known me my entire life and was able to subtly redefine myself. Somehow became far more devout by the end of this cycle, and by the end was far more able to clean up nice and work well with others, both of which were less-than-stellar at the beginning. (I seem to remember wearing a lot of my older brother's old shirts in high school...) This Mary kept Figuring it All Out.
4) 21-27. I like this Mary best, probably only because I'm closet to her/still her, but maybe because she keeps getting better (nothing against the other Marys). Life at the beginning of this Mary was very similar to at the end (school, apartment living, etc.), but better and better versions of that life. There have been milestones. Mission. Two degrees. Moving out of my hometown. Still, the range of changes here is quite smaller from the previous Mary, to say nothing of the first Mary, who started out incontinent and blubbering.
This fifth Mary, I suspect I'll like quite a lot as well. Hard to say where these little cells will be taking me, the thoughts they'll think, the things I'll do with the energy their mitochondria give me, the other bodily functions that'll keep me going another year. I'm excited to be this new Mary. I should get her some cake.