That’s what my family told me when I was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by my abusive childhood.
I later learned the biggest reason people told me to “grow up” was because my talking about what happened to me and sharing my story made them uncomfortable.
The more I shared my story, the more I realized that feeling uncomfortable can be a good thing. You have to endure feeling uncomfortable to discuss issues and problems with the world, or else the world won’t change.
My dad’s side of the family is of the Evangelical, all-hail-Trump conservatives who believe themselves superior because they are not of this world (John 17:16). So they turn their noses and me-me-me their way through politics, and expect their tribe to follow. The family is the tribe. It’s a bit cultish, if you ask me.
Why am I noting such a thing? Because they care not about changing the world, but instead of inducing the rapture.
So it doesn’t matter how bad the world is, in regard to how they could change it, because…they won’t. They’ll only pray.
And that was what they expected of me throughout my depression and “dark years”, when I frequently dissociated from my mind and body, and wanted to kill myself.
I don’t define this state of “better” that I’m in as part of my “growing up”.
More specifically: I did not grow up as per their expectations.
Rather, I grew into myself. I grew up into a person I could live with. I grew up into a person who holds her ground, unwavering in the fiercest of confrontations with those who question her character.
I grew up and stopped accepting all the bullshit and platitudes and false sincerity.
Society romanticizes innocence too much.
It wants kids to be perceived as “innocent”, to keep them naive for as long as possible.
Wedding dresses are traditionally white to represent purity and innocence, as if getting married/having sex/whatever taints you and makes you no longer pure and innocent — which doesn’t even make sense, because if you’re supposed to wear white as a bride because you’re supposedly “pure”, then doesn’t marriage/sex/etc. pollute you?
It doesn’t make sense to me how impurity and untainted are inherently bad things when so little is done about children who are abused and grown-ass adults would rather bully on Facebook a boy child who enjoys wearing makeup than appreciate his self-confidence and nurture his self-esteem.
Why, pray tell, is there such high demand for innocent children and never-married females, when much of the tainting is done by precisely the same people?
As if a lack of innocence makes you damaged goods.
The thing about being “damaged goods” is, the people around you will try to bandage you up, paint over the scars, and mold you into something acceptable. If you attempt to escape their grasp, they’ll reprimand you the best way they know how: shame.
When I started this blog, I was in a limbo. I wasn’t a girl, but I wasn’t a woman, either. I wasn’t anyone worth befriending, even though I somehow had friends, because I was only what everyone around me wanted me to be, at any given time. I was trying to find my way whilst being this person, despite the impossibility of it all, because I thought it was all true. I also thought I could have everything, if only I was the perfect daughter, the perfect friend, the perfect grandchild, the perfect niece, the perfect everything.
When I couldn’t make it work, I thought I needed to “find” myself. Problem was, I was already found — just dormant, sleeping inside my body. It’s complicated, making all the sense and no sense at all, and I’ll explain it in time.
But eventually, I made it.
Fast forward to today, and we have Jane. I am myself, my own person, holding court.
I didn’t grow up in the way anyone expected me to — and most definitely not in the way anyone wanted me to — but I did. I defined, for myself, what growing up is.
Growing up, adulting, being a grownup — it’s not a list of boxes you can tick off and consider success. It’s not a collection of achievements. It’s not even acting mature all of the time, or faking “it” just to make it through. It’s accepting everything — your flaws, perfections, position, status, hopes, dreams, experiences, etc. — and continuing, even when other people think you’re done or you think you’ve “made it”.
Thanks for coming to my mind dump. 🎤