Do you ever have one of those moments where, through the fog of stress and anxiety and frustration, you have a moment of clarity? A moment when you are so grateful for being yourself as opposed to someone else you just start crying? It’s such intense relief that you don’t know if you’re happy or sad. You can’t tell if it’s good or bad, and you don’t know what to do with the feeling. There’s nothing left but to be intoxicated by your own essence. And then, once the feeling passes, you go back to the stress. There is no respite, just more dealing with people.
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be an adult, and whether or not I can do it. Every so often, far more frequently than I would like, I end up in situations where I am cast suddenly into that relief of being myself. For a variety of different reasons that I won’t get into here I have recently found it necessary to put on my grown up face more often than not. Even my own bedroom isn’t safe from adulthood. I’ve had more conversations that required maturity, forethought, and responsibility in that room than anywhere else. Not the fun relationship conversations about future children and new living arrangements, not even conversations with my wonderful fiancé. No, the outside world is increasingly invading my personal space and childish ways.
Emails and Facebook messenger are ruining my immaturity. Maybe I should stop responding to things that are toxic to me in my bedroom, so that at least it can be a safe haven. Maybe someday I will have a communication blackout when I’m in there. But for now, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of things I have to think and talk about, and the only place I can relax fully is my room. This means that often I sit in bed and respond to stressors. I know, I know, that is NOT good. I’ll work on it, I promise. Maybe realizing that is a sign I’m a grown up. I know my mother would say so.
I hate how often that woman is right.
I always used to think that being an adult meant that I would know things and be sure of myself and not worry. Whenever I say that in my mother’s earshot she laughs at me. I used to think that being an adult meant remembering to do laundry before you run out of clean underwear, and always remembering to brush your teeth. Clearly, I would tell myself, because I’m terrible with the former and not super great at the latter, I couldn’t POSSIBLY be an adult. According to many people I think of as grown ups, however, this inability to consistently have clean underwear and teeth is a common problem. That alone makes me question much of my childhood. Anyway.
Being an adult sucks. There is no magic point where you pass from child to grown up. You just slowly start to have to do things to make sure you don’t die, don’t smell, don’t freeze. And you have to talk to people you dislike, and work with them, and not be passive aggressive toward them. Instead of saying “Look here, jerkface, you’re wrong. You’re being manipulative and whiney. You’re expecting us to bend over backwards for your paltry needs. Screw you and the ass you rode in on. No, I didn’t call you an ass, do you seriously not realize that that’s another word for donkey? So dumb,” you have to be polite and civil.
Apparently, being an adult doesn’t mean you have all the answers. It just means you know enough to realize that throwing a temper tantrum and yelling at people who deserve it won’t be productive as you want it to be, even if it is satisfying.
So tonight I am grateful. I’m grateful that I’m not a whiney dipshit who thinks the world revolves around them. I’m grateful that I can be reasonable, and that my sense of self worth has nothing to do with the people around me. I don’t need to tear other people down in order to feel happy and successful, and I can (usually) stop people around me from being that unkind to others. And to get what I want I don’t have to lie or manipulate.
Thank goodness for maturity. Thank goodness for self respect.
But adulthood can take a flying leap.