I thought as a child that when I became an adult, I would just magically know all the things. That I would suddenly be able to read out loud without crying, I’d figure out how to tell people what I felt, I’d instantly become responsible and confident, and I’d make Thanksgiving dinners. Though I do now have a pretty good handle on all but the turkey roasting, it definitely was not an overnight success story. I had to fuck a whole lotta shit up to get where I am today.
I control what happens to me these days. I alone decide who I am. And I accept full responsibility for my actions. But… it wasn’t always that way. Tiny Me had to learn things from someone. And oh how I did! How to tie my shoes, to duck if a lawn dart is being thrown at your head (and if you can’t duck, goose!) what to do in case of a fire, to always be obedient, how to count to 100, kids are usually lying where as adults are always to be respected, proper techniques for baiting a hook, how to outline the picture in crayon first to make coloring inside the lines easier, and to never, ever say “no”. So many things!
Clearly not all of those are useful as an adult. Truthfully, some of them weren’t as a child, either, but that’s done with. It’s hard to relearn things, though. Some of us are rational thinkers. Logic can be used to find the flaw, it then gets replaced with the correct method, and paths reset. I am not one of these people. I am an emotional thinker. My reactions tell me what to do and where to go. Making people uncomfortable, upsetting adults (which I still don’t consider myself unless I stop to actually think about it) and saying “no” are painful. I have physical memories of what happens when you do those things, and I don’t want them repeated. (Even though rational thought might point out that my dad probably isn’t going to tackle me, sit on me, and while hitting me tell me he’s tired of hearing my opinion anymore, uh, I believe we just went over how “rational thought” and I are more like pen-pals than bffs.)
Sometimes, though, you have to upset that fucking apple cart. Just because something has always been done a certain way, doesn’t at all make it right. I have a son, and I’ll be goddamned if he’s going to be 30 years old and panicking at the thought of having to call the landlord because the hot water heater doesn’t work. But I can’t just tell him, I have to show him. I’m also not trying to pretend this is all me sacrificing myself for him, either. I want this for myself, because I deserve better. I’m not being a martyr and jumping in front of bullets lest someone I care about suffer a grazing shot to the pinky toe. I set rules, and boundaries, and all kinds of fun shit, just for me. It’s actually really exciting.
It’s also incredibly exhausting. Once again, there is no switch. Tiny Me is still huddled up in there, trying to make us invisible whenever the threat of upsetting someone arises. Whispering to me that we’re doing the wrong things, and people won’t like it. It’s a battle. But it’s one I choose, and one I’ll win.
If this current battle had a flag, it would say this:
I’m done keeping other people’s secrets.
It would probably also have two giant hands, both flipping the bird on it, just because that’s how I roll. Taking the high road, motherfuckers.