Playing Pretend

I’m not quite sure what growing up is, but I imagine it might feel something like this. I think it might have something to do with having discussions with myself where there is legitimate consideration of reality instead of emotionally-charged accusations. I’m picturing maturing a little bit like watching my body in the mirror, not quite liking what I see, and moving on with my day because I have other shit to do. Maybe growing up is something kinda like hearing opinions I don’t agree with or statements I know to be insane, acknowledging they are ridiculous and don’t really affect me, and smiling like the somewhat condescending, pretending-to-be-uninterested-in-pointless-conflict person that I sometimes am. I wonder if the person emerging from the other side of years of shaping, teaching, advising, and confusion might be walking down Broadway with my pitifully minimal selection of music inundating my ears as I bob my head and mouth the words, smiling at the rushed, frustrated commuters and feeling my little bubble of a world form around me, reassuring and encouraging but porous and permeable.

Perhaps embracing my own complete personhood entails accounting for the consequences of my actions while simultaneously giving myself a break for less-than-perfect decisions that leave me feeling beat up and ashamed. I’m entertaining the possibility that I’m approaching the VERY non-linear, very non-utopia where mistakes can be analyzed and learned from without translating into my own self-worth.

Slowly, yes — crawling, seeping, creeping, pulsing in an amber mass of caresses — I feel that root-sprout stretching down, circumventing the cells of resistance to ground me in a transportable, interminable habitat of my own fertilization.

In other words, I don’t give a shit.

I’m living in a world of contradiction, exposing myself to vulnerability and protecting myself from getting my foundations shaken out from under me; questioning my own beliefs privately while defending them against challenges; hesitating on thoughts and leaning into impulsive decisions. I can pretend in my head and walk around like I’m a brilliant, jaw-dropping bombshell while I go 3 days without a shower and wear my grandma’s pants. It’s a wild ride out here and I might just be continuing my entire-life crisis.

I’m learning, though, as it would be impossible not to. I’ll probably forget and I even forget the lesson I learned yesterday. I’m tricking myself into thinking I’m growing when maybe I’m just a big infant and all the growth charts had it wrong the whole time.

Back in my very first blog post I thought there was a skill to enjoying one’s own company. At this point I’m pretty sure it’s just listening to the same 10 songs on my unnecessarily extensive daily walk and harboring a suspicion that maybe deep down I’m actually a moderate Republican (HAAAAAAAA that was a joke. I’m not, don’t worry).

And you’re all over there stifling pity laughs saying “Yup, you go on thinking that. No, seriously, you’re probably right. You’re not ridiculous; you’re definitely growing up. Cute.”

And now, excuse me while I join you.

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