Growing Up

I feel older today. Or, at least I want to feel older. I really never liked being young. I always wanted to be older. As a child, I always wanted to grow up, but that was mainly because I wanted to be like my sisters – like Natalie. I wanted to grow up so I could be like her. I always wanted to be her, older, wiser, taking care of myself.
But I also liked be wild. That’s what I did like about being young, was being wild. And it’s not that I don’t like being wild anymore… (laughs) I still like being wild. But it’s a different kind of wild now. I want to be more sophisticated, elegant, graceful… while being wild and creative and passionate. I want to carry myself like a woman, and proud to be. I want to take better care of my appearance, and express this through what I wear, how I walk, the words I use, the choices I make, the activities I engage in.
I don’t want to be a child anymore. I really don’t want to be stuck in my family’s image of me. I don’t want to be stuck as a selfish, obnoxious, annoying, emotional, scared little girl. I want to be strong, in a sense of the word I never knew before; a sense of the word that I’m just now learning. And I want it. I really want it!
I think I can get it. I just have to keep fighting for it. It’s a life long battle, and it’s one that everybody has to come to terms with eventually… well I guess not everybody does. Not everybody is able to. So I suppose I should count myself among the lucky for having recognized it, for having started this battle so early on.
But I can’t even tell you if this is really all that early or not either. I suppose there are other people in the world who have started earlier in their lives than me, or will start later than me. So it’s not that I should compare myself to anyone else, right? I am who I am, and I should just… well, take care of that.
For example, I finally have friends around me who set an example for what I want in my life. I have a real community. I have family, that redefines what that really means for me (because I’ve never really had a very good opinion of the idea). It’s redefining itself right before my eyes! And with that, I’m learning what it means to be a woman, to be soft and strong at the same time. I don’t want to feel like I have to hide behind the comfort of the tomboy image, being rough and tough, a fighter, physically aggravated by everything – I don’t want to be my father.
And I don’t want to be my mother, who freaks out in wild terror anytime emotion confronts her, because she doesn’t know how to deal with confrontation. In fact, my recently developed panic attacks could be a sign that I’m becoming my mother. Oh god, they are! They’re something I inherited from her. Oh and I never wanted to think I was anything like my mother! Well, I don’t really think I am. In so many ways, in more ways than I can count, I am nothing like her. But I suppose I’m so afraid of the possibility that I’m freaking out about it, panicking in the face of it, and letting myself become like her all the same. It’s kind of ironic… and fucked up. That because I’m afraid of becoming like my mother, I am becoming like my mother.
This is what’s happening to me. And that’s not OK. I’m turning into her. I’m freaking out, having panic attacks, freezing when faced with overwhelming emotion. And why? That’s not me! That’s her, coming through me.
And when I get angry, and just want to hit things; when I get frustrated and can’t find the words, and have to resort to fists… that’s my father coming through me!
I don’t want that! I don’t want this for myself. I’m not them! I’ve never been them, and I’m certainly not going to start being now. I’m going to be me.
I’m not even going to be my sisters. I wanted to grow up so I could be like them? I don’t want to be them. I want to feel more grown up, yes, but for me, for myself… to be myself. I’m still figuring out what that means, of course. That’s also a life long battle, a life long journey. But I’m figuring it out. I’m getting there. And I should be proud of that. I should be bloody proud of the progress I’ve made so far, of where I’m going, and the fact that I’m starting for possibly the first time in my life to be only that which I am, and want to be. Not because anybody else wants me to be something.
I can do this. I can do this! And God help me, I hope I remember that the next time I feel I’m getting stuck. Next time I panic, I hope I don’t forget. I’m redefining what all this means to me: family, strength, femininity, vulnerability, friendship, community, trust, dignity, respect… hell, even emotion. I’m redefining all of that, and I’m redefining it in terms that make sense for me, in my own definitions of them. And that is invaluable. And that is what I’m doing all this for. That’s the whole point of this entire damn journey!
That’s what I’ve started to do. And by gum, that’s what I’m going to continue doing. And please, please Rebecca – remember that as you do. It’s what it’s all for. It’s for yourself.
Got it?
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