I think as a child I believed myself to be more capable than I actually am. Either that or I killed that part of me that used to think she could do anything and be whatever she wanted to be.
Growing up is hard guys. And I think I underestimated what an effort it is.
I would like to say that I have gotten better at it with time but we all know that’s not true. I think I hold out hope that I will suddenly wake up with the ability to have everything sorted out quite well. The same way I set my alarm for 4am because ‘I want to do some reading before going to class’ and instead snooze all the way till 6am which is my ‘normal morning routine’ time.
And yet time and time again I set that alarm.
If that’s not wishful thinking, I don’t know what is.
I think that I had mastered the ‘art of getting by’ so well in my younger years that I forget that work gets harder the older you are. I think I also may have forgotten how much effort it did take to ‘get those grades’ or ‘nail that high note’. Perhaps something in me rewires my brain to delete any memory of struggle once I have managed a modicum of success.
My mom has said to me ‘you were so driven when you were younger, you’ve lost that spark’ and I wish I could disagree. My ‘spark’ has been doused with a tsunami of self-doubt. I was a far more confident child than I am as an adult. Puberty took a toll on my mind because I started to care what people thought of me- I would not raise my hand in class as much because I was called a snobbish know-it-all; I began to detest my body and hate my gender because we were the ‘more vulnerable sex’; I would rather fade into the background instead of stepping up center stage, something that 7-year-old Grace loved to do.
My ‘spark’ has been doused with a tsunami of self-doubt- I was a far more confident child than I am as an adult. Puberty took a toll on my mind because I started to care what people thought of me: I would not raise my hand in class as much because I was called a snobbish know-it-all; I began to detest my body and hate my gender because we were the ‘more vulnerable sex’ causing me extreme paranoia each time I venture out alone; I would rather fade into the background instead of stepping up “center stage”, something that 7-year-old Grace loved to do.
It is as though extroversion could be unlearned.
It doesn’t help that my mind is a steel trap when it comes to certain details, like how a Math teacher in secondary school let slip that they would discuss my ballooning weight in the teacher’s staff room, or how a classmate said that the first word that comes to mind when he thinks of me is ‘bitch’.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will always hurt me. Bones mend and become actually stronger in the very place they were broken and where they have knitted up; mental wounds can grind and ooze for decades and be re-opened by the quietest whisper.
I hate that I allow myself to be so affected by the things people say to me or about me.I hate that I let those words echo in my head, allowing them to dictate how I act around people, leading me to filter my thoughts and actions. That is not always a bad thing but it is when you find that you cannot relax in any social situation.
I miss my freer self. Does that make sense?
I used to be more Lydia Bennet than I was Elinor Dashwood. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with being Elinor, I have come to miss the gumption that I used to possess. I sometimes see bits of it come through when I am very comfortable with my company, but I am often on my guard.
Yes, I know that all of this is the normal human experience of self-censorship and adapting yourself according to what is seen as acceptable to the world, but gosh, it is tiresome.
And I am so tired of feeling tired.