When you’re a kid, I don’t think you realize how many your goals, dreams, and expectations get absolutely crushed. I always dreamed of living in New York, and yet with each passing year, the possibility dwindles more. Most people would describe me as a bit nerdy or geeky, terms that have been used both affectionately and to make fun of me for a long time.
People never really accept you for who you are. Most want to say that they do, but the reality is much different. Everyone has expectations of who you should be, what you should do with your time and life, and for some reason it’s never their fault for having expectations, it’s yours because you couldn’t (or didn’t want to) meet them.
They think it’s ok to tell you what you can and cannot like, and depending on whether you follow those unwritten rules you’re deemed either popular or an outcast; beautiful or ugly; attractive or a turn off.
I constantly feel burdened by this. Like the collective “they” have a right to an answer. The right to dictate how I feel. I wish I could turn it off, the piece inside of me who cares so much for the opinion of people who obviously don’t care about me.
And fine, I acknowledge that not all dreams or goals can be accomplished. Maybe living in New York is nothing but a childish and naïve dream that was conceived by someone who doesn’t understand the realities of being an adult. But it still hurts. It’s not really about the dream, it’s about what it represents. So many experiences and adventures I thought I’d have, just to realize that life gets in the way and that you turn out much different than you wanted.
Maybe that’s just part of growing up, realizing that you can’t actually have all the candy you want; that Summer doesn’t actually last forever and in fact passes faster than before; that sex is just sex and most of the time isn’t magical, passionate, or even exciting; that your parents are flawed individuals who have traumas and insecurities, and like you, are the product of their screwed up upbringing; that freedom to do whatever you want isn’t really freedom at all, it just means you’re responsible for the consequences.
I didn’t know yesterday was World Mental Health Day, but somehow it feels kismet to write this the day after.