I’m stuck somewhere between a girl and a woman.
I’m wavering between openness and being guarded. Someone I admire made a seemingly simple, simultaneously brilliant assessment that made my brain explode in a rush of light and clarity. “You are an adult. You still behave respectfully like a child.”
When I was younger, I had a narrower view of the world. I remember thinking someone can’t possibly love their parents if they move away from them. And then I moved away. While deeply flawed, my naïveté did lend itself a degree of ignorant bliss. In my adulthood, I’m constantly questioning.
I thought more about what my confidante told me, her genius the antidote to my anxiety and indecision. Everything we learned to do without question as children shifts in adulthood. The demands and pressures of our culture require transformation.
As children, we are forthcoming with love. We indiscriminately dole out smiles and affection. We trust without inhibition. Somewhere down the line, this practice needs adjusting. Why can’t we develop relationships so freely, and how do we course correct when we still long for that connection? I’m still not sure.
Be honest and transparent, the teacher said. Come adulthood, don’t reveal all your cards.
When a child laughs with glee and waves at a stranger, it’s cute. When I’m too joyful or kind, some will look at me with skepticism. They wonder if I’m disingenuous.
Behave, they said. Behaved women rarely make history we know now.
Walk the line, they said. But now, you must go your own way. Chart your path. Break the rules.
Raise your hand before you speak, they said. Today, speak up or you will forever be a doormat. Don’t wait for permission to act.
You should respect authority, they said. Come working age, trust few if anyone or you’ll end up under a bus.
Share your lunch! Give of yourself. But remember, you have got to worry about yourself first. Self-preserve!
It’s ok to cry… Better if you conceal your feelings or people will prey on your vulnerability.
These are generalizations, I realize that, but there is an element of truth behind grand statements. It’s not irreparable, but surely uncomfortable. I’m stuck somewhere between a girl and a woman.