Your birthday rolls around, and if you’re like me, you try not to think about it. It’s not that I’m super old and scared about like, I don’t know, dying. It’s more that to a certain extent, freedom freaks me the heck out. Admittedly, more than it should. Examples include the fact that I didn’t get my license until a month after I turned seventeen and that I didn’t drive anywhere but to school for maybe six months. Also, I don’t go to parties and I don’t hang out with friends very often. I am a home body whether I like it or not.

(Sounds like some sort of substandard dating profile. I’m not boring, I’m just a vehement introvert.)

My friend and fellow grrl Raine Hood, on the other hand, opposes my comfy way of life and will do so forever and ever, amen. Raine is in her little black car on some big adventure daily, and when I tell her about my delicious plan of laying around all day and maybe running to Target or for a coffee, she grimaces. She tells me: Let’s go downtown! Let’s go to the lake! Let’s go see a band! And sometimes I am down. And most of the time I am not.

So, naturally, I was mildly dismayed but mostly unbothered when she informed me her and our friend Victoria were going to some neat Native American mounds down the road to shoot a GrrlPunch video, and I was conveniently out of town.

When the video was edited and ready for a draft viewing, Raine sent it out in a group message and our friends and I all praised her and Vic on the spectacular job they’d done on the video. At this point, it’s been published, so you can go see how free and easy Vic looks running around the mounds. Raine’s whimsical animation makes it playful and colorful and makes Vic look less alone. That’s the bitter-sweetness of it: she frolics through the fields and up the steps alone, but that’s what freedom often entails — being alone. Watching the video made me realize why freedom and being eighteen is so daunting to me: I am going to be doing a lot alone — with a lack of family, a lack of friends, and an eighteen-year-old lack of self-direction.

The video in itself is seemingly lighthearted, but you watch it with your own mindset. Its meaning appears in your own opinion of what freedom is, and it alters your opinion if you let it. I let it show me a weakness of mine, and in turn it’s made me more conscientious of how free/alone I’ll inevitably be at some point probably very soon. It makes me more independent, and I’m going off to college, and so I clearly need that.

Raine is so very independent, so she’s probably skimming this and thinking about how lame I am. It’s a good thing I guess that I own up to that! Bless you, Raine and Vic, for being freaking artistic and making something that can appeal in so many different ways to a bunch of different people. It surely won’t be the last that GrrlPunch sees of these grrls! They’ve nowhere near gotten their fill of freely showing the world their creations.

(That’s a less-bittersweet side freedom has to it.)

Watch Raine’s video again, here.