Rebel Heart

Jessica Northrop’s life as a rebel began at the age of eleven.

It is illegal to remove this tag, the tiny square of  fabric dangling from the end of her mattress read on that life changing day.  Her mother had told her many times before then what fate awaited criminals.

“They go to jail and never get to see their mommies or daddies again.”

Jessica was only seven when her parents had installed the aforementioned mattress in her room, and at that age no child wants to imagine life without his or her parents, so she didn’t dare touch the mattress tag.  At eleven, however – well, parents are nothing but big fat, meany dorks, thereby making the thought of being rid of them quite appealing.

One quick snip with a pair of scissors was all it took to break the mattress tag law.  Jessica literally froze for a few seconds after committing the deed, steeling herself for the SWAT team that was surely about to barge into her bedroom and whisk her off to the land of rapists, murderers and thieves.  Only no one came, nor did her mother ever notice the missing tag over the next seven years worth of laundry days leading up to Jessica’s departure for college.

‘I wonder what else I can get away with,’ Jessica thought once she realized that she wouldn’t be going to the big house for her little infraction.  It turned out, quite a lot.

She stepped on sidewalk cracks and nothing happened to her mother’s back.  She stepped on lines and nothing happened to her father’s spine.  She made cross-eyes at her little brother and her face didn’t freeze that way.  Over the years that followed, she jay-walked, graduated with only B’s and C’s, went periods of time without flossing, and stood in front of the microwave oven while it heated her breakfast pastries.

Somehow – miraculously some uptight adults might say, after all of those misdeeds she managed to secure full-time employment, land a devoted and professionally successful husband, and not wake up with a third nipple; or whatever it is that standing in front of a microwave oven is supposed to cause.

These victories lead to even more victories…the courage to backpack through Asia, the inner strength to avoid body image issues, and enough self-awareness to forgo motherhood.

Not all rebellions lead to bloody coups.  In Jessica case her rebellion lead to personal freedom.  Is there anything you need to rebel against?  “Rise up,” Jessica would tell you.  “Rise up.”


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