The canonical definition might be the process that turns a child into an adult, or perhaps the time between birth and adulthood. The process is said to involve learning and getting more mature, but often involves such abuses as school, siblings, and television.

Some never grow up, and some grew up too fast. Some are just struggling for a happy medium.
I wrote this in my journal, regarding the summer past (about growing up):
This not a poem.

I am someone different then I was two months ago.
I am Aimee Ault.
I do not obsess over the German guy any longer.
I am the uncanny, but I also know how to be human.
I have learned how to cry, and when to cry.
I have discovered that love is worth fighting for if you really believe in it.
I have been part of the work force.
I have found that labor is indeed tiring.
I have kissed and been kissed.
I have lost friendships to things that I can not control, and I've understood why it is not my fault.
I've taken responsibility for that which I know is wrong.
I've confronted that which scares the hell out of me.
I've felt what it's like to be emotionally empty and I have questioned that.
I've listened before taking my side.
I learned to trust my parents.
I learned to confide in them when it came my time.
I learned that sometimes the thing you're looking for the most is right there under your nose.
I asked myself the Questions to Ask Yourself On The Way to Self Discovery. I made promises to myself that for once, I was able to keep.
I respected not what I was told to respect, but what I thought deserved it.
But above all, I've become the girl I want to be, not the person that everyone mistook me for.

Growing Up

The days between childhood lawns
(weed-grown grasses)
And uptight fences
(nettles cut precisely)
They deflate the adventurers of time.

Part of the Poetry in Motion at project.
<< pred vext >>
When I was younger, I just couldn’t wait to grow up. I couldn’t wait to leave home, to have my next birthday, to graduate high school. The idea of being free to be myself was like this great shining star in front of me, and I wanted to hurry up the process and gain it for myself. And now, that star is just inches from my grasp…

And I don’t want it anymore.

I’ve heard countless people tell me that it’s time to grow up and that it’s time to forget about the childhood day dreams, to forget about climbing trees, and leave behind the safety net of family.

I don’t want to. I’m scared shitless of growing up and moving away into a world that doesn’t have to love me, that won’t pick me up when I fall. It hurts that my family won’t be there anymore the moment I set foot out of my door for good, and it hurts more that the only places teens can get to live around here are 600$ a month and we’re lucky if we make that much. It hurts that people look down on teens sometimes just because they made a bad decision.

It all makes me understand why kids my age go out partying. They do it because it may be the last time they get the chance. Some do it because it helps ease the pain of the realization that one day they’ll have to settle down and be as boring as their parents are now. But I still wonder sometimes why growing up has to be so much like throwing a 5 year old into a pool to make them learn how to swim.

Growing Up was the name of Peter Gabriel's November 2002 tour of North America. I was fortunate enough to attend the Boston FleetCenter stop of this tour thanks to low album sales, a Monday night show, and my girlfriend giving us tickets for Christmas.

Gabriel is well-known for creating complicated, technical concerts. In his days with Genesis, he would dress up as a flower, or an old man. This continued through his solo career, featuring rope-swinging antics during performances of Shock the Monkey and crowd-surfing during Lay Your Hands on Me. His tour during 1993 and 1994 was an extremely expensive engagement, which fortunately resulted in a fantastic album and Grammy-winning video.

Myself, being a horrific Peter Gabriel lackey, read through show reports, reviews, and diaries, hyping up for what was sure to be a grand festival. PG's two-staged affair with flown, spinning video screens and all kinds of things popping up and down from hidden elevators from a decade ago would be difficult to top.

The first bit of information I found about the new tour, after the dates and times of course, was the band. Quite a few changes there, with neither Manu Katché on drums nor Shankar on vocals and violin. There were some interesting newcomers however, the most noteworthy of which was Peter's daughter Melanie singing.

According to Tony Levin's tour journal, the loadout for the Boston show was late, which explains the extra 15 minutes it took to let us into our seats. For around a half hour, we sat, listening to the sounds of the Passion album played over the PA system. Then, a few figures walked slowly towards the stage. They were the Blind Boys of Alabama, and they were quickly followed by a man in black. The sudden standing ovation surrounding him gave away his identity, and then his voice gave it away to anyone else as he introduced the Blind Boys and their band. They played some excellent gospel music ("we didn't come all the way from Alabama to find Jesus. We brought him along with us!") for a half hour before giving up the stage to Tanzanian singer and multi-instrumentalist Dr. Hukwe Zawose and his nephew Charles Zawose, who sang and played various exotic percussion, woodwind, and string instruments for an additional half hour.

After about 10 minutes of downtime, the house lights came back down and a single spotlight followed Mr. Peter Gabriel walking up to his expensive-looking keyboard desk. He greeted everyone once again, and then said "I believe we left off here abut 10 years ago," before launching into Here Comes the Flood. I almost lost my shit right there.

  • Here Comes the Flood, from Robert Fripp's Exposure
  • Darkness, from Up - some very nice lighting with the strobed hung the massive lighting and sound structure above the round stage in the center of the arena. Otherwise, nothing too surprising, visually or musically, except for the fact that PG can obviously reach all the high notes, which he didn't quite do on the album version. The drummer in a tent rising from center stage was pretty neat too.
  • Red Rain, from So - nearly identical to the version on Secret World Live. Still amazing to hear in person. This is the first time we got to see graphics projected onto the two hanging projector screens.
  • Secret World, from Us - this one again was nearly identical to the other live version I've heard, and once again it's great to actually hear it live.
  • Sky Blue, from Up - the Blind Boys of Alabama came back on stage to sing on this one, rising from an elevator in the center. A lot of the weird studio effects were lost in the loud PA unfortunately.
  • Downside-up, from Ovo - Melanie Gabriel admirably fills in the shoes of Elizabeth Fraser. She still sounded a bit nervous, until a large ring descended to the stage and she and her father strapped themselves in, only to walk around upside-down for the second half of the song! Peter used this opportunity to introduce the band.
  • The Barry Williams Show, from Up - Eh. Peter had a camera and pointed it at people. The song still sucked.
  • More Than This, from Up - Much better! The weird warped organ/guitar action stuck around
  • Mercy Street, from So - Peter began with an introduction of Anne Sexton, whose writing inspired this song, then gathered his band around to sing the chorus once through a cappella. They then all took seats on the edge of the stage, along with a steel rowboat. The outside edge of the stage then began rotating as everyone sat, looking depressed and playing a depressing, albeit beautiful, song.
  • Digging in the Dirt, from Us - featuring the only noticable technical gaffe of the evening. Some projectors had no signal and were displaying their test image all over the place.
  • Growing Up, from Up - This is the visual highlight of the entire concert. A gigantic plastic hamser ball descended and Peter got inside! For the entire song, he rolled around the stage, while singing, and then bounce up and down while not singing. His vocal performance suffered a bit as a result.
  • Animal Nation - apparently, this tune was written with the help of some musically inclined bonobo apes. Dr. Zawose and his nephew came back on stage with amplified kalimbas to jam along.
  • Solsbury Hill, from Peter Gabriel I - this song, too, sounded pretty much like the version on Secret World Live, i.e. not much at all like the original album version. Lots more percussion, and Peter on a bicycle.
  • Sledgehammer, from So - Not bad, Peter had a jacket covered in flashlights that required a stage tech assigned specifically to manage his extension cord.
  • Signal to Noise, from Up - somehow, this had every bit as much energy as the album version.
  • (encore 1) In Your Eyes, from So - as usual, it's the long version, featuring Tony Levin on bass vocals and Dr. Zawose and his nephew again. The absent Shankar really added some necessary melodies to this song on Secret World Live, and the Zawoses were not enough to fill that empty space, unfortunately.
  • (encore 2) Family Snapshot, from Peter Gabriel III - Absolutely incredible. I lost my shit for this one.

Each date from the US dates on the second leg of this tour, performed mostly in arenas without the round stage, is available on CD as part of the Encore series. These are unedited recordings from the soundboard, mixed and mastered and pressed and plopped in a nice package for $25.

A DVD of this tour is to be released soon. The tracklisting is the same as above, except for Family Snapshot, which was replaced by Father, Son.

Growing Up is also the second song from Peter Gabriel's 2002 album Up. It's quite danceable, despite its dark nature. The lyrics seem to point to Ovo in such a way that makes me believe that Up is perhaps the story of the life of Ovo after he has ascended into the heavens.

Growing Up was released as a single on DVD and CD, with remixes by Tricky, Trent Reznor, Tom Lord Alge, and Stabilizer, along with 5.1 channel remixes by Tchad Blake.

Drums: Ged Lynch, Manu Katche
Percussion: Ged Lynch
Guitars: David Rhodes
Backing Vocals: AD Chivers, David Rhodes
Tape Scratching: Tchad Blake (yes, those scratches you hear are from tape, not vinyl)
Programming: Richard Chappell
Additional Programming: Pete Davis, Alex Swift
Organ, Sample Keys, Bass Keys, JamMan and MPC Groove: Peter Gabriel

Additional Production by Steve Osborne

Growing Up was also released as a concert DVD in 2003 with The Blind Boys of Alabama, Savara, Taïr, Dr. Hukwe Zawose, Charles Zawose, and the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

  1. Here Comes the Flood
  2. Darkness
  3. Red Rain
  4. Secret World
  5. Sky Blue
  6. Downside-up
  7. The Barry Williams Show
  8. More Than This
  9. Mercy Street
  10. Digging in the Dirt
  11. Growing Up
  12. Animal Nation
  13. Solsbury Hill
  14. Sledgehammer
  15. Signal to Noise
  16. In Your Eyes
  17. Father, Son

The disc also contains the 'Elbow' remix of Growing Up, and some photos and hooziwhatzit extras.

Why don't you try to figure out who you are before making assumptions about who I am? I think that we both know that growing up isn't about changing, it's about coping. It's about staying the same when you're going over bridges and through valleys. It's about holding yourself together, and it's about learning to love yourself.

That's what my friend Melissa wrote in my yearbook at the end of high school, “I love you so much you have no idea. Love yourself.” And I love her too, still, because it hasn't been that long since we kissed and confided, since we were close like family. Sometimes it takes your own love for another to realize that you must love yourself too, sometimes that's the only thing that can make it real. Thank God that Melissa loves me, she is a blessing and a friend.

I should write her a letter. We're both a lot older now, it seems, but not in years. Everything in my mind is measured in what has come and gone, and that bears no quantitative chronology. Because many things pass, and many things change, and they affect me—but I am still the same. I have different memories and new lost loves to reminisce over, I have finally learned the joy of a long term partner and sex, I have found that so very many things around me have transformed and they have put new thoughts in me. But it is still me, it is still the boy in middle school wearing black plastic bracelets, it is still the creative boy who isn't very good at soccer and so they won't let him play. Still the baby who cried over a burned gingerbread man.

It's a good thing because I think if I were really changing, that would be very difficult. Because, you know, I can't even handle staying the same. I wrote in a poem the other day, “I can't pull myself together and that's liberation.” At least it is me that is always falling apart and coming together. At least it is me who I love and hate and all of that. I am lucky to have only one identity.

It's not that I want to see others hurt, but I need to take care of myself, too. That takes time, and I am so grateful for your patience. I love you so much you have no idea. Love yourself.

Staying the Same, for Melissa, with loving gratitude.

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