“Ouch”. I moan, as my kitten’s perfectly refined claws retract out of my calves. He senses the tension between us and as an act of avoiding responsibility, performs a jump and sprint through the flat. All the while, I’m bent over falling bum first into my hallway wall, trying frantically to put my shoes on and tie my laces in a manner, I am sure is exclusive to the anxious and clumsy. As always I am late, which means I must perform the ritual of all my morning rituals. Check I have my keys, check again, run across the road and through the traffic lights, hold down my flying lanyard, wipe my watery eyes from the wind, keep the contents of my bag safe as I check that I have my card (and my keys). I try and hide my shame and my wind tears, as I sprint awkwardly to the station, past all my neighbours and takeaway providers.
They know, I will tell myself, that even as a fully grown 20 year old women, I still fucking hate mornings.
Growing up, I was never under the assumption that life was going to be an easy ride. As a child, I was constantly observing and going through the struggles of life, only from a younger perspective. Though I may not have been physically dealing with things like an adult would, emotionally I was. I became a worrier, a title that had rudely gatecrashed my life.
I didn’t know what I was expecting of adulthood, I don’t think anyone does. All I had to base it on was from watching my mother bring me and my sister up. From that, I guess I had already learned that life was unexpected, mean and incredibly unfair. It was full of mishaps and responsibilities and yet, it taught me an important lesson. I learned that opportunity is only an opportunity if you see it as one. As a teenager, I took this idea on aggressively, because I wanted nothing more than stability. I wanted what everyone else ‘had’.
This attitude was clearly one of the reasons people perceived me as odd during school. I was mocked for wanting to better my life. Mocked for wanting to get a flat instead of go to halls, laughed at for having a savings account. Posters about me and my ex stuck on walls for this that and everything else. It was ignorance on their part, for not being able to accept me as the person I was, and ignorance on my part for not being able to accept the fact that nothing I did would make them value me as their peer. I felt wrong, rejected, a people pleaser who was unable to please. A troubling time for me as far as troubling times can go. But I wasn’t different, just misunderstood.
I may not of expected too much from growing up, but naively, after school I had hoped it would get better. I was convinced that if I made a life for myself, if I set the foundations, surely the rest would follow. All this steamed from a difficult financial upbringing, I really just wanted the chance to feel what every other child, teenager or adult was apparently feeling. Stability, financial support, a home to run to when things got too hard. I didn’t have this option, I knew when I moved out that I will never have that option. So Instead I grew up with the understanding that I had to be extremely cautious in life. When I was younger I would constantly wish I had money, then when I got older, any money that I made I kept a hold of. …Just in case something happens… I would tell myself. I was so used to mishaps that it became an obsession. Security was all I wanted in the end right? Even when I moved out, I was repeatedly turning down, doing fun things with friends because I just had to save for bills. I knew I would be like this, at least I was prepared for that, even if they weren’t.
Security. The word glided through my nerves and slipped into my mind. It wasn’t a threat, only a mild sedative. I was simply programmed into this way of life now. I had to support the pressure and responsibilities I had created and I wasn’t willing to give any of it up. But the pressure became my host. In a panic I let myself believe that I wasn’t lost. Just more focused, more willing to do what I could, to build my life up to the pedestal I had set long, long ago. The word fun became a disease, I worked hard and I saved. There was nothing more to it. I had a goal, I would get that stability that I was so clearly deprived of.
But I felt overwhelmed, cornered with no where to turn. I soon understood that this obsession was unhealthy. Had society turned me into a monster, or had I? I finally understood that I was depressed, and instead of dealing with this issue, I had created a persona. I wanted to fit in so badly, be valued and recognised as an adult, that I became a different person, with a warped view on adulthood. I managed to go years without really living, Instead I was a bystander in my own life. A faded shadow.
The moment everything began to change wasn’t sudden, it was a gradual process, a couple of confusing months, a couple of secret’s let slip, a lot of me began to change. I didn’t want to be the pressured idea that I had created, I wanted to be able to enjoy myself and see my friends and start living my life. I wanted to be me.
One thing I have learned is that the pressure you feel is your own, most of the time. Something my partner has taught me is that you can take control of what you can control, but you need to let go of what you can’t. And being able to adjust to that attitude has been a breakthrough in my own growth. Being able to finally find joy in things and spend money on myself (responsibly) is a blessing, and something I never thought I could ever feel without fear of judgement. Still, I wont deny the fact that adulthood is tough, feeling overwhelmed and having no over option than to deal with it is a way of life as an adult. But I have found a healthy way to deal with it. (Except mornings, that shit will never get old).
It’s funny that we allow ourselves to be told by society what is right and what is wrong, there is no leeway. It’s basically ‘Here’s the guide book, follow it or be deemed socially different’. In a nutshell, I tried and I failed and then I thought to myself. After years of trying to fit in, all the pressure from caring too much of what other people thought. I am so done with it. Because that’s the beauty of adulthood, at the end of the day, it is your life. Unless you let them, no one can do or say anything that is going to stop your emotional growth. You make your own mistakes, and you decide if you are going to take it as an opportunity to grow. You eventually learn that you can rise above it all. You can rise above depression, you can rise above hardships and you can most certainly rise above yourself. And in the end, I did that. In the end, I allowed myself to have a happy life.
And I love my life…for the most part. 😉