birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Rules Are Meant For Breaking

As I've gotten older, I've found that it's easier and easier to break the rules. When I was younger, I was much more concerned, much more fearful about getting into trouble, breaking "the law," and doing anything that I would be questioned about. It didn't help that my self-esteem was constantly in check, and so I was always self-conscious about doing the right thing. I cared what people thought of me. I cared how I looked, walked, and talked. I cared about wearing the right dress, the cool pants, the sexy shirt, the dangling earrings, and Frye boots, and I think it's safe to say most of my friends felt this way.

Getting older has given me a more worldly sense about what can be done and what can't be done. For instance, there's an unspoken rule that claims it's okay to park at Gelson's while you go to Trader Joe's across the street. At some point, the parking lot attendant tried in vain to put a stop to everyone who was doing it, then gave up. Just driving into the TJ's lot was sheer insanity, as is just about everyone who dares to venture in there. After 25 years of living in my neighborhood and giving both stores half my life savings, I decided that I had a right to park at Gelson's. My friend, however, who just moved here from New York, refused to park at there. "The sign says you're not supposed to," she insisted. "Yeah, but no one pays attention to that" I replied. I urged her to take a walk on the wild side. My friend, always a risk taker, bewildered me. Where was her New York hutzpah? Was getting older making her paranoid?

Getting older has made me more of a risk taker. Getting older has made me want to break the rules. Taking a dare has more and more appeal for me. I find myself saying "I don't give a shit." I see signs of becoming my mother... coming down the road. By the time she died, she didn't give a shit, and she definitely made up her own set of rules... maybe that's why she decided to call it quits. Will I follow in my mother's footsteps? Risk-taker, rule-breaker, dare-devil...I'm open to it all. Life's too short anyway. You might as well live.

Stepping On Cracks

High Standards