Like a Dog with a Bone
This constant vacillation between who I am and who I want to be is driving me insane. Some nights I go to sleep content in myself, and yet the following morning I awake emancipated of any sense of satisfaction with my being. I am positively sick of the constant niggling and supercilious nudges within my head, urging and prodding me in the ‘right’ direction, whatever that is; I don’t think either of us know for certain, but my head just likes to play along.
Yesterday I would always have tomorrow to decide, but suddenly tomorrow is today and I am in the so-called prime of my existence, sans any idea of who I am supposed to be. In the very breathless, acne-riddled whimsy of my teenaged angst, I would imagine this God-like creature of who I would blossom into: a social butterfly, confident in her own skin. And yet now that I am what I imagined, I rather feel I prefer the younger me, the girl who was so unsure of herself that she embraced it all and trusted in the future.
But now the future is the present, and is still as decayed and troubled as the past. All the tenses seem a blur and I am sitting on my bed at 2am overwhelmed in an elaborate shouting match between what are effectively two sides of the same coin: desire and regret. I want what I was, and yet back then I wanted what I am. Not only is the grass greener on the other side, but there is a bloody great wheelbarrow of false promises plonked in the center of the lawn.
The daily consequence of this argument is a constant turmoil within myself, sometimes unconscious, mostly otherwise. I have begun to lose some of my youthful wide-eyed reverence for the supposed deliverance of age and maturity, as my problems have not dissolved into resolution, nor have I been struck with any illuminating revelries on the workings of the human mind. Instead, my initial sojourns into ‘real life’ have been fraught with unexpected bitterness and an unprecedented seediness and scepticism. It is a society in which naivety and innocence play no part. This indeed was a crushing blow to my sensitive disposition and optimistic nature.
And yet I am thankful, in a way. My rose-tinted glasses are gradually becoming a grubby shade of brown, but I will never let them become the familiar shade of medicated grey worn by so many. One thing that becoming my current self has taught me is to cling to my own sense of dignity, regardless of what identity I am currently wearing. My ideas and my wanting may change, but the undisputed center of my being will always define me, and that can never alter.
And so the gnawing dissonance between the foibles of youth and the dull consequence of maturity will constantly divide opinion within me, as it has done and will most likely continue to do for the foreseeable future. Perhaps in my twenties such a startling and conclusive realization will dawn on me…? One wonders.
Angela Mullins ©2012