I think I’m experiencing what one would call existential crisis, quarter-life crisis – whatever, call it whatever you want. I’m also fully aware that I need stop trying to name every type of sadness there is that I’m convinced lives inside of me, because in doing so, I’m letting them make homes for themselves in every gap and hollowness that exists underneath.
“Despite what you think, your sadness is not beautiful.”
— Emily Palermo, Your Sadness is a Poison
That’s the first sentence of the poem, no less. I’m trying to drill this in me, I’m trying, I swear I am. Because yes, I know – I am supposed to be old enough, wise enough – learned enough – to know better.
But here’s the thing – am I allowed to admit this out loud? – I’m scared shitless of the idea of growing up.
There, that’s the truth. I’m trying to verbalize this heaviness in my heart, the reason for days of gnawing and chewing on thoughts I really ought to put to rest and numbers I really needn’t quantify. I should know better, I keep telling myself this.
I have a question, several really, but one that plagues me in a way that is perplexing is this – age-old, clichéd, overused, and typical …I know. I know just about all the words attached yet I’m asking anyway, desperately and pathetically;
“How do people get others to really know them and still want to stay in their lives and circles?”
Like honestly, how do people do that? How do you do that?
Because while it’s not like friends are leaving me left and right, in some ways they’ve left. They’ve entered different realms and phases of growth – adulthood – in ways that are foreign, perplexing, really-shouldn’t-be-confusing; yet they are.
I’ve been left behind.
There are moments, many moments of late, where I keep feeling like bricking myself. Why am I such a late-bloomer adult?! How is it that when we were growing up, these girls had visions of who they saw themselves as, the kind of partners they hope to have by their side or search for, the kind of material wealth they want to own…? Because man, I’m only now warming up to these ideas. I’m only now finding out that shit, so this is what it actually means by becoming independent – bank loans, big-value commitments, indefinite dates, financial detachment from parents… – and ah, by company you mean not company like the answer to “Where do you work?” but more about “So who’s beside you?”
How come these girls, people, have thought and considered these?
Because you know – you wanna know the honest truth? Silly, how silly.
Throughout my girlhood years, I wanted to go to university. Abroad. Stateside. That was what I wanted. Strived, aimed, and worked for. That was the dream that kept me awake at night. I wanted to become someone great. I imagined that once I got myself on the other side of the world, things would automatically fall into place. It never once occurred tangibly to me, the idea of a person next to me – what person? – because in my mind and eyes and heart, I was always exactly that: I.
I think it’s fine, if being alone and growing old alone is what I want. But I don’t actually want that. Just because I’ve never imagined it and was cold about the idea until this year doesn’t mean that I’m a heartless, selfish person incapable of love entirely. Sometimes I look at these girls and I genuinely wonder how they turn out warm and open and… loved. Is it because they worked for this? But then I’d look at other parts of their lives and well, they seem to be doing okay in those too.
But anyways, this isn’t my point. My point is that lately I’ve been doing some addition and subtraction – the kind I really shouldn’t – and the number I keep coming to, no matter how many times I do this, is a tiny number, tinier than thought. I really shouldn’t do this, I know, and while Facebook and Twitter make us look and play-pretend we’re “connected” – I know we know the truth. And it is this truth, this knowing, that makes me strangely, terribly sad. Ridiculously lonely. It is inevitable that people come and go in our lives, sometimes only temporarily, and equally inevitable that people change… these are all natural occurrences, yes, I understand this in theory and from a distance, like I understand many things.
But understanding isn’t the same thing, I think, as feeling.
And maybe this is my fault – why do I always need to feel everything, goddammit?!
Right now I am trying to come to terms with the fact that although it’s true I can lose a few battles to win the war when it comes to many things in life – time is something that I can’t, will never, be able to overcome. This is a hard pill to swallow.
Sometimes I wish we were taught better how to forgive ourselves. Not for the first time, I wish that I am kinder to myself for how I turned out – this adult, grossly late-bloomer adult, that I am now. Because although I keep reminding myself “You’re okay” and largely believe it, there’s still a small part of me that is hung up on needing validation from others that I did in fact turn out well – a “true” adult – and that as I am, in every sense of the word, okay. I’m okay.
I’m starting anew in two months, literally everything new: new experience, new setting, new friends, new circle, new car, new living arrangements and location, new new frikkin new. And I am learning, for the first time, the true meaning of having to dive first and grow wings on the way down – having to make several commitments despite minimal assurances and plenty unknowns. I just… it’s only now that I am realizing – like a spoiled brat, I know – that growing up privileged… false security… this thought is still underdeveloped. I’ve yet to make coherent this, so I’m just going to zip it for now.
It’s so pathetic to admit this and I know some of you are thinking, groaning, “What’s the big deal?”
I wish I could coolly shrug this off, too. But I’m not cool like that;
I’m genuinely scared shitless of the idea of growing into adulthood.
(and while I’m confessing this, it’s already happening dear God help me)