When I was 12 years old, I remember thinking 24 was the age I’d have it all figured out. I was sure I’d know exactly what I wanted to do with my life, I was adamant I’d be bloody loaded, and positive that I’d be so totally grown up that I wouldn’t even dream of caring what anyone thought of me.
Well, 24 arrived this month, and to my surprise I didn’t wake up on my birthday and suddenly have my shit together.
What’s worse, is that when I think about it, my 12 year old perspective of the world and of myself, hasn’t actually changed a lot.
You see, when I was 12, I never thought at the age of 24:
- That I’d still look in the mirror and immediately focus on the bits I hate.
- That I’d still look in the mirror and hate anything at all.
- That I’d still be hurt by girls because of boys.
- That I’d still be hurt by girls because of girls.
- That I’d still have a burning desire in many a situation to storm off screaming ‘I can’t do it!’
- That the sound of my mother asking me to sort out laundry would still provoke the want to foot stamp and slam a door.
- That I’d still have to book in an evening to tidy my bedroom.
- That I’d still have a messy bedroom.
- That I’d still cry, on a weekly basis, just because.
- That I’d still worry about what to wear to parties.
- That sometimes the only thing to make a bad day better would still be a hug from my mum.
- That I’d still be questioning the stupidity of the male species.
- That I’d still be wondering if I was clever enough, or pretty enough, or interesting enough, or thin enough.
These are the sort of worries that at high school were simply blamed on hormones and teenage tantrums and they would undoubtedly be ‘grown out of’. But the world failed to mention that they were all in fact to blame on this crazy little thing called life. Or more specifically, this crazy little thing called being a woman. And that they probably wouldn’t go away, ever.
Don’t get me wrong though, some things may not have changed much compared to half of my lifetime ago, but what has changed significantly is the way I handle those things (thank goodness):
- When I look in the mirror I do focus on the bits I hate, but that’s before I force myself to look at the bits I appreciate.
- I don’t think I’ll ever not hate something about myself, sadly I think it’s embedded into female DNA, but luckily I’ve learnt to love a lot of things to counteract it.
- If a girl hurts me because of a boy, they’re probably not worth my time or a place in my life.
- If a girl hurts me because of a girl, they’re probably no good for me.
- When I do want to storm off screaming ‘I can’t do it,’ I’ll stick it out until I realise that I can.
- When my mother asks me to do the laundry – to be honest, I think that will always provoke a foot stamp, but I appreciate the need for chores (I think.)
- Tidy room, tidy mind (isn’t that what ‘they’ say?) I put aside time every once in a while to organise my busy life before I go crazy, and a tidy room is just a little part of that.
- Being messy – it will never change, but, as above, I keep it under control when I can.
- Crying on a weekly basis – for me, it’s a mental and physical release, and if I didn’t do it my head would explode. So there.
- I think I’ll always worry about what to wear to parties, to go out, to go to work, to go to the gym – but once I’ve made the decision and stuck to it confidently, well I’d say that’s a pretty grown up thing to do.
- Men are loveable idiots – the sooner I learn to accept their stupidity the better.
- I’ll always need a hug from my mum, some things just never change.
- And as for being clever enough, or pretty enough, or interesting enough, or thin enough – although I’ll never know what ‘enough’ really is, and realistically I may not ever be it, what I have learnt is that being ‘me’ is just fine.
Wait a minute – maybe I do have my shit together after all.