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3 Things I realized while growing up

by LenneTea

To grow – 2020

Sometimes I look back on the way I grew up, as if I could turn back time and tell myself to do something different. Maybe build some skills, so that my adult life would be easier. Grow early and bloom young. Become a musical prodigy, or spend all my childhood on painting, or writing. But how do you even become and author? Whenever I read books, I never thought about the person behind the book. How could I become that person?

Well, it was now or never. So, I started to write. But I was scared.

Chapter 1: Rejection & Restraints

The feeling that stabs a dagger into your stomach.

The first time I received the pleasure of experiencing this might have been when I attempted to kiss my childhood-friend/crush. Me, this awkward, 13-year-old, newly discovered sapphic child and her, so pretty and so not interested. Not my finest moment, but far from being my worst. It might have thrown some stones into the path of our friendship, but that was fine, as I left the city that very year. Undoubtedly to escape from my middle school classmates. The bullying might have been a problem, but it was not even closely as bad as the actual reason I needed to escape. The small town that I grew up in, it choked me out and held me down. I wanted to grow and this place was refusing to let me do so. The big city called, and I was feeling hopeful, ambitious and gay. However, this feeling of not getting what you want, not achieving your goals or not being good enough to do so, drags itself through my life like a red string. It tangles around my feet and legs and causes me to stumble and trip all over the place. It was easy to blame my lack of growth on the place I was from, but this is all on me now. Being the odd one out in the small town was easy. Being seen in the big city is harder.

At this time at my life, being 18 years old, I believe to finally fully realize, that I need to be rejected in order to grow. It hurts and it crushes my hopes, but its on me to put the pieces back together and try again but this time better. By the gods, I am no life-coach or therapist. My advice might just be for myself. Sometimes it's best to try again, sometimes you have to change your course of action. But today, I don’t know where to turn.

Today I got rejected from the university course I applied to. Do I try again next year, or do I change my plans? Do I have a future or is my life over? Probably, Maybe, Definitely, probably not. But you can never be sure. So…ask me again in a year and maybe I will have some answers for you.

Chapter 2: Vortex

I am 18 years old and I don’t know what to do with my life and I wish that was okay. I wish I didn’t have to decide tomorrow. It can’t be that the most important years of my life are roughly the first 25 of it. It can’t be that anything after that is set in stone. Even if it was, break that godforsaken stone with the same tools you carved it! I am tired of being me. I am tired of not being me. I feel like there is nothing about me that’s special and nothing about me that’s worth exploring or building. Why does everyone have talents and I don’t? Why does everyone know where to go and I’m lost?

When I was around 15 or 16, I went to therapy for the first time again since I was a younger child. The therapist was nice, but we sat in silence. She didn’t really know what to do and in retrospect I do feel bad for not saying a word but to my defence neither did she. The quiet got too much for her apparently, as she called her supervisor. He sat down with us, and he told me one thing that kind of stuck with me and perhaps will in the future. He said: 

“You know, you have a magical talent. You are special, because your talent is bringing people to desperation.”

Well, I suppose I do but that didn’t feel all too therapeutic. So, I ditched the silent therapy and replaced it with piano and violin lessons. My piano teacher taught me so much more than just notes. He taught me philosophy and some history, little bits and pieces of life wisdom, that I am grateful for. It really opened up the world of music to me, which also helped me grow as a person. I got so drawn in, that all I wanted to do and all I cared for was music. I still do feel that way, but now and then I read a book or watch a film, that’s not about music. He helped me write my first composition that originates from an improvisation I did once. He wrote it down for me, and I was able to play it at the final concert, before he moved away. In many ways I admire him. The musical talent, the knowledge about so many different things, the positivity he emits. In many ways he is what I want to be.

I want to know more and acquire more knowledge on everything I can. I have the privilege to be able to study almost everything, except the course I didn’t get accepted into, and I want to use it. However, I don’t want to waste my time either. I don’t want to wake up one day, remembering who I wanted to be and realizing I have failed. I don’t want to spend my lifetime trying to be this ideal that I have, and never actually spend my time being present. What I need is to find balance, to escape this vortex of wishes and expectations and find a solid rock to stand on. To explore everything I can, but also have a future that lets me look back at life and allows me to be proud of how I spent it.

Chapter 3: Love and Hurt

I’m sure it is no surprise to anyone, that I wasn’t exactly popular in middle school. Now don’t get me wrong, I did have a boyfriend. Sort of. Not that relationships meant anything in middle school, but I had a boyfriend. I also had the biggest crush on a classmate, that was neither my boyfriend nor a boy. You can imagine the confusion my younger self felt. But this problem solved itself, due to my boyfriend breaking up with me. Dating the unpopular girl was bad for his image. I didn’t mind.

Fast-forward to my first year of high school: attractive people everywhere and none of them knew that I wasn’t cool. This led to me being messed with as a joke by a hot girl, who eventually turned into a friend actually, but also being messed with in a messed-up kind of way from two guys. I won’t get into detail about any of these past relationships because, first of all I am 18 years old and what do I know about love. And secondly, I don’t want to. But should you ever feel unsafe in a relationship or as if you can’t leave; that is a shiny, glowing red flag for you to get out of there. People who say that no one could ever love you, are wrong, because there will always be someone who does and you’re never as alone as you think you are. Even if your family thinks they’re amazing and charming, you don’t have to stay with them.

In high school I had the thought that maybe, I wasn’t actually into girls and maybe, just maybe, I should just date guys. But as it turns out, no. This experimental guy-phase just left me with some trauma and experiences I’d rather not remember. But in conclusion: I love girls and that’s that. No apology and no changing that. It is what it is, I love it and I love her.

In my last year of high school, my best friend of 3 years and I started dating. It was a bit strange at first to be honest. I did have a crush on her for a longer time but I never thought she’d return these feelings; especially considering that she had rejected me before. I suppose it was the internalized homophobia for both of us. However, never have I met a person that made me feel safe and loved like this. I know people would probably disapprove of me loving her but I don’t think I can care about that. Not when this is what love is. Feeling like this with her is one of the most beautiful things I have experienced so far. 

I would rather have people hate me for loving her, than not be able to love her.

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406 Reviews

Points: 35738
Reviews: 406

Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:53 pm
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JustPerks wrote a review...

Hey there! I wanted to give you a quick review on this work of yours.

To give a comparison to your kind of writing, I would actually recommend to read The a Chicken Soup for the Soul series, at least anything relating to teens/young adults, as I definitely see a resemble in the short, yet self-reflective stories that those books often have.

I can really relate to the overall growing-up-is-a-rollercoaster kind of feeling here. Not to mention with changing schools because of bullying? I definitely get that. However, even if you don’t quite remember what some of these conversations were like, between the first girl you kissed, or how you and your current girlfriend originally got together, I would love some more specific detailing.

Even someone like describing each scenario, each different little story with how the weather was, or how everyone had looked each day, goes a long way in making this both unique and more relatable, as plenty of people can probably tell you random bits about their first significant other, or their first kiss, or their first important part of their life.

I definitely agree more with Elinor that I simply want more! Sometimes we all need to think about some of the pitfalls that were in our younger years to look forward to when we get older. Nicely done!

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1250 Reviews

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Reviews: 1250

Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:00 pm
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Elinor wrote a review...

Hi LenneTea!

Welcome to YWS. My name is Elinor, and I'm so happy that you decided to share your story with us. I thought I would drop by to give it a quick review.

I really like this piece conceptually, and I was wondering if you were intending for it to be a non-fiction memoir or if you wanted to go in a different direction and fictionalize it. I only ask because you have it under novel/chapter, but it feels very much like a memoir.

I'm wondering if you've listened to the podcast Dear Young Rocker. You should be able to find it wherever you listen to podcasts. It really reminded me of your story, because it has a similar tone of the narrator, when she's older and wiser, looking back at her childhood.

The main comment that I would make is that I wanted more. This felt like a summary for a story rather than something more complete. Early on, you tell us the rejection hurts. Bring us into that time and place. Paint a picture.

I'd love to see an exapansion of this! Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. And I hope you stick around on the site!

LenneTea says...

Hey thank you for your comment!

I suppose it should be in the memoir section, i wasnt aware that was an option tbh

I have not heard of that podcast but it sounds like smth i would enjoy. :D

Thank you for your tips, I'll work on painting a clearer picture!

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.
— Brené Brown