I want life to be simple.
I’ve moved passed my youthful, type-A black and white mentality to reluctantly accept the many shades of grey in this world, but some days, like today, I am forced to acknowledge how woefully immature I am.
Sometimes we just ignore reality
I often reach out to people for help, and I very often feel let down. This, however, isn’t because of their help. I’ve created a well-formed lie in my head: if I ask someone for help and the problem isn’t resolved, then they didn’t help me.
That’s obviously false. If that were the way of the world, then very few people would have helped and been helped. But I’ve let my youthful naiveté cloud my judgment for far too long. I have allowed myself to hurt and be hurt by my own ignorant understandings of what help is.
Likewise, I am awful taking advice. A part of me enjoys having my life broadcasted to many people (which seems obvious with the blogging about my experiences) because of this I often discuss my problems with a wide array of people before engaging the problem. I have many wise, compassionate friends who help me navigate the world. Unfortunately, I have made a habit of spitting on their wisdom and saying that I know better.
A friend’s mother once told me, “You ask for a lot of advice which you summarily ignore.” She’s completely right. The increasingly noticeable immature side of me wants to blame my nature; I’m the child of two stubborn people. I fear hard choices. My friend’s mother has given me some of the best advice I’ve ever received, and I ignored it because I was afraid: afraid of the consequences, afraid of how others would see me.
My step-father has criticized this part of me as well. He once told me (paraphrasing), “It seems like you just want to know how people are going to disagree with your choice.” In my mind, I can list countless times when I was offered good advice, and I carved my own path anyway. Carving one’s own path isn’t inherently bad, of course, but when I’m struggling and seeking advice, what’s the point of engaging others if I don’t care what they say?
Frankly, this sudden realization has made me so incredibly disappointed in myself.
I stand at the edge of my future with so many regrets and unanswered questions, and I can only wonder how much of my life have I sabotaged by feeding into my youthful ignorance. How many people have I pushed away because of my pride? How often had I stared the right answer in the face and neglected to choose it?
I have been given wonderful advice from many people, but that advice often requires hard choices. Instead of listening to their ideas and carving a path forward, I’d stick to the sidelines and live a miserable, easy life. Almost every step of the way I chose the easier, worse path.
I should have just told my mother I didn’t believe instead of lying and having to be confronted.
I should have broken up with my ex-fiancé sooner instead of staying with him out of fear.
I should have pursued what I wanted academically instead of limiting myself because of false obligations.
I should have done things differently.
But that doesn’t matter anymore. I can only move forward from here and decide what living life and loving others means.
A better future?
I don’t know what help is. I don’t know the proper way to understand it. In the past five months, I have felt so deflated and alone when I shouldn’t have. I felt utterly isolated, but I had so many people constantly reaching out to me. I dismissed that as help because it was mostly words, and I didn’t like the words they said. I maintain that some of the advice I was given was bad; I received far too many, “One day you’ll look back and this will seem silly.” But people were there when I needed to pour my heart out. When I retreated into my own mind, it wasn’t because I was told to; I just decided that I was alone and sealed myself into an isolated tower.
The situation with my ex-partner has given me severe trust issues. Like the child I am, I projected this fear onto everyone else in my life; those I have trusted so intimately in the past I have hidden the struggles I’ve faced. I’ve bottled up my pain to prevent from showing too much weakness. I thought I could drink my problems away instead of facing them.
I still haven’t faced them, but I’m feeling better. I don’t know if I’m doing better.
When moments like these occur, I start to doubt everything about myself. If I am this blind and flawed here, what else have I hidden from myself? I begin to feel like I’m a fount of failure. I’ve created an identity I loved, but cannot take with me. The low-key punk rock, edgy girl who surprises people with thoughtful kindness isn’t real; she isn’t me. She’s a dream I concocted and fashioned into reality with faux leather leggings and a septum ring. She isn’t a woman I can make into a business professional. I don’t know if my identity was false or if I’m allowing self-doubt to reshape my reality as it has for the past 22 years.
All I can do from here is be more conscious of my choices. I have hurt and under-appreciated those around me for far too long.
Growing up is hard, y’all.