It's both sweet and slightly unsettling how much you guys know about me. A lot of you have been reading my innermost thoughts from my first big heartbreak to my senior prom to my first week of college. You've been following me through angst and drama and happiness and bad jokes. It's easier to divulge feelings to an anonymous audience than it is to talk face-to-face, so I've confided more in you, Wide-scale Internet, than I have to even some of my good friends. Strangers know me better, deeper and realer than my teachers, extended family, and people I encounter every day. That's just... a strange thing to think about.
On the same note, however, there are some aspects of my personality that I choose to keep more private, or altogether hidden-- ones I've alluded to, but never really explained. Now, this post isn't about to become a tell-all autobiography full of secrets and humiliations. But I've seen through example that a lot of my readers are about my age, or going through situations similar to the ones I describe in this blog, and I feel like there's something I ought to say, in the event that it will resonate with someone else.
I naturally have some very depressive tendencies. There's depression on both sides of my family, and it's something I've felt to varying degrees for much of my life. Right now, I'm in an almost overwhelmingly Good Phase. That lethargic sadness has still been a large part of me, though, and it could likely come back at some point. And I thought it was about time that I told you about it.
It bewilders me when people talk about how much they wish they could be five years old again, or seven, or nine, as if those were truly "simpler times" without stress and sadness. I don't think I'm a particularly negative person, and yet almost all my memories of elementary school are of anxiety and nervousness and frustration and guilt. I specifically remember an incidence at the beginning of first grade, when the teacher told us to take out a sheet of paper and write down all the words we knew how to spell. This was my opportunity to prove myself. If, at the end of the five minutes, I didn't have more and better words than everyone else did, I would... I don't know. It literally felt like I would die. Just thinking about it, I can still bring back that feeling of all-consuming pressure. Unadulterated sickness. I was sweating, and crying, and embarrassed about crying, and putting holes through the paper with my eraser. I could barely see through my blurry, wet eyes, I was hot all over, and I was pressing so hard that my thick pencil lines were black and feathered. Do people just forget when they grow up? When they envision being six years old, do they only see sunshine and bike rides and sidewalk chalk?
It's the same--only significantly worse-- with middle school. Adults too easily cast those years off with a wave of the hand, throwing around cliches like, "Oh, it was awkward, but it's over" and "It'll go by faster than you know it." Perhaps when you're middle aged, and the past thirty years of your life have been relatively stagnant with regards to your body and career and living situation, middle school can just seem like three awkward years. But when you've only been alive for thirteen years, and you've only had an email address for one, and different teachers for two, and you wake up on a random morning to--surprise!--breasts, it's not possible to simply grin and bear your metalshop teeth. Hearing that "this too shall pass" doesn't help, because a minute is an extremely long time when you're living it.
Oh, and then there's high school. Okay, so you mostly look like an adult. And you can drive a car like an adult. You can buy cigarettes, you can vote, you can have all the babies your classmates can supply you. BUT... you can't go to the bathroom without written permission from some lady with a bad perm. Your friendships are transient and subject to change. You're expected to make life-altering decisions, but you have to be home by eleven. Even for the popular, good-looking, athletic valedictorians, being a teenager is lonely and painful.
I have never had a difficult life. I've had the same close friends since before I could make phone calls, my parents and siblings are supportive, wonderful people, I'm healthy and white and financially secure and American. Yet, I've still had long stretches of time in my life when getting into the shower was an excruciatingly difficult task. I'd find myself silently repeating all day at school, like a mantra, I want to go home. I want to go home. I want to go home, and then, when I'd get home, I'd think, I am home. Why do I still feel nothing, and why is breathing so hard?
Basically... I'm not writing this with the intention of making you miserable, or to say that my cheerfulness is a lie, because I'm truly happy now, the majority of the time. I just want you to know that, if you're feeling any of the ways that I just described, you're not alone or broken. It tormented me to hear people say that it would get better... but it. Will. Get. Better.
Chipotle burritos this year: 16
Nail color: "Lightening," Sally Hansen Insta-Dri