I realised that the title of my blog, Chronicles of a 30-year-old teen, required some updating and further explanation.
There are actually several reasons I chose that. First and foremost, I started a blog on Yahoo some time ago. It never went anywhere (then again, don’t expect this one to, either—I ramble). So I started a new one, the web server got harfed, and I restarted. I must have been feeling rather determined. But I never explained why my blog is called what it is. In the beginning, two years ago, I changed my method of birth control, which left me a hormonal mess. My body went haywire, and my emotions followed suit. That part is still wildly accurate, since I haven’t settled into anything vaguely resembling a normal hormonal cycle. They’re few and far between, but when they do happen, I feel like a teen just entering puberty. At about the same time I was having a major rosacea flare-up, which made me feel even more like an awkward teenager. At least now it’s without the bad skin.
But I noticed something else. When I think about who I am, fundamentally, I still tend to think of myself as the person I knew me to be when I was a teenager: gothic, dark, depressed, creative with words, linguistically talented, and sorely beset by the unfairness of the world. I had one best friend that helped shape my image of myself. I am still very locked in to that understanding of myself and it tears me up that pieces of me are missing. I’m no longer goth, but I do play one on Halloween. Dark and depressed, yes; part of that is biochemical, and even with modern antidepressants, that aspect of my personality doesn’t vanish. Creative with words? I used to write poetry. Some of it was very good. None of it survived—I had a policy about such things. Once written, poetry had to be destroyed. It was too close, too personal, too telling; some secrets are better left kept. I wanted to live in a castle (draughty, cold, and miserable with only firelight for company)—who doesn’t? I wanted to write with a quill and ink (which I now have). I wanted the romanticised version of the middle ages, all chivalry and honour. Honour weighed heavily on me then. I needed that for my creativity, as I needed my darkness.
I am not the same person that I was then. My facility with words was replaced by a trained understanding of scientific writing, which is pretty nearly the polar opposite of creative writing. My language talent is rusty and unused, and while I still learn new languages with more facility than my peers, the absorbency my mind once had is dwindling as the sponge dries and crustifies. No, that’s not a real word, but an apt description.
Even as I went through college, parts of me disappeared. Crucial parts. My best friend died, which left me without someone I could tell anything to. That’s a story for another day. I’m not sure how to explain it. The more I learned, the less I knew (that is typical of science), but it felt like wisdom was seeping out of me. It felt like I was slipping away, gradually being eroded as I was reshaped (now that I look back on it). I need to explore who I have become—but the more I learn about this new person, the less I like her. In some areas, she is very responsible, but in most, she acts like a spoiled teen. I feel like I’ve been stripped down and rebuilt, but not into a better person at all. My sense of honour still exists, but by my own definition, I don’t have it. I have cheated, lied, stolen (actually, that was when I was younger); I have violated my sense of self, I fail to do things that I know should, and must, be done. I mismanage time and money, and it leads to a lot of stress.
Where did I go wrong? I’m not sure I did. I’m not certain that it wasn’t unavoidable. As we mature, we acquire new freedoms and responsibilities, and how we interact with those changes who we fundamentally are. I didn’t have to get up and go to a job. I didn’t have to pay bills. I couldn’t drive, and I couldn’t legally consume alcohol. I couldn’t vote. The unfairness of the world is still there; it’s fundamental. It’s a matter of perspective. The world doesn’t care about me, nor should it. Most people are concerned with themselves. Animals are concerned with themselves. Plants, if they have concerns, are also egocentric. This is the way things are, and it is best to accept that and set your expectations accordingly. You cannot predict what the world will be like. Things are as they are, and life does not revolve around us as individuals; we go about our daily lives not worrying about the impact beyond ourselves. How will my daily commute affect someone in Colorado? Would it, could it? Who knows. *I* think it’s unlikely and therefore not worth worrying about… but what does the person in Colorado think?
How do I integrate the old-me with the new-me? Are they already there, merged, and I can’t see it? Can one reclaim honour and integrity? Can we learn to take the best parts of ourselves, the ones that we can’t function without, and keep them while we grow, or is it necessary to periodically purge ourselves as we purge our junk-drawer?
Am I still a teen?