Pride and Judgment. what ugly little things.

slack lining

I have a lot I want to accomplish in 2010. I have a lot I NEED to accomplish in 2010.
I deem this the year of growing up. I am 23, and I feel somewhat like an adult, but not quite enough yet. I need balance.

Here's the journey:
Somehow, through finally finding a community I related to in college, I also learned to box myself in and allow other people's opinions of who I am to confine me. College was really really good for me in many ways, but in one way, I do see that I lost some of my natural power to be myself even in the face of defiance.

I have always been quietly rebellious. In middle school I rebelled against being outwardly silly at school and instead wanted to be develop my wisdom. Needless to say, I was not the most popular child. In junior high I rebelled against certain clothing trends and decided to instead alter and redesign my thrift store clothes. They were not always particularly attractive outfits and boys never dug me, but I am glad I gave myself freedom to experiment.
In high school most of my friends at school were way into partying, drinking, smoking weed, and testing other similar boundaries while somehow maintaining really good grades. But I never drank with my friends, despite the fact that my parents allowed me to taste test a lot of their drinks since I was very little and I had always been allowed a glass of wine at dinner. I didn't want to drink because I didn't want to be irresponsible. I didn't smoke weed because I didn't want it to become a crutch for me. I went to parties, I danced, I had a good time. But I didn't need drugs or alcohol to do so. And I did hear the word "prude" often, I did hear a few people whisper that they thought I was self righteous, which really hurt. But I never wanted to be untrue to myself, even if it meant it would make me uncool.

I college, I found friends who felt really similar to me artistically, in our beliefs, in our personalities, what sorts of activities we liked to do, how we dressed, what music we liked. And it felt refreshing to finally feel a part of a community that understood me. It meant that I finally let my guard down and let my life be affected by the words of others. In some ways that was really great for me, to allow my friends to influence me, direct change in my life despite my stubborn nature. In many ways it helped me to become more relaxed and free of anxiety. But in other ways, I feel as though I became more afraid even to express those thoughts that feel really in congruent to the mass think. Though, perhaps the vague thoughts I am referencing are in fact thoughts that I never managed to come to a conclusion on my own. I am confident in expressing thoughts that feel definite in my own mind, applicable to my own life. But I hate expressing thoughts that are not yet confirmed in my own mind as a good or bad idea, a correct answer, a correct choice to make.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I am discovering that as I grow older, the desires I had when I was younger are fading. I am not as desperate for independence as I once was. I still feel to be a fiercely independent woman, and always will be. It is in my nature. But the desires I have the sound of being less independent and more... I am not sure.
I guess that as I grow older and wiser, things become more grey. Yes and No are not as simple and easy to distinguish. Right and Wrong feel more relative. So often, I feel trapped in a mind bubbling over with analytical questioning. Conclusions rarely come. But when they DO come, they are powerful and overwhelming. Conclusions are frightening because I end up laying a solid answer out in front of myself that is hard to look at despite it glaring me in the eye.

I think that, in realizing how much grey area begins to take over ones life as one grow older, it has made me fearful of the rare and final conclusions that spring up out of the hazy grey mass of existence. I am deathly afraid to admit to myself what I truly want, what I need to do to get there, what I need to give up to get there, what I need to be. I am scared of judgments. I have been quickly stereotyped my whole life, and I think that in college I just let myself sit in it, I let others think what they want while I stayed quiet. I let them just stew in it.
I am afraid of people being disappointed in me for my choices, for my aspirations. I both expect A LOT out of myself, recognizing talents and gifts, but I also desire less and less of a dramatic and glamorous lifestyle that I once had envisioned for myself. It is very overwhelming for me to see what I want and know that people I respect will probably think less of me for it.

Maybe I am scared that if I let go of certain things, then I won't respect myself as much. Maybe I am afraid of hurting my pride. The person that I was when I was little is pretty much exactly the same as who I am today. But when I was little, it was NOT cool to be artistic, quirky and creative. Not cool at all. It was not cool to be interested in music. I dressed weird, and my personality was as equally strange. All these things stand true today. But now, as a twenty something, it is cool to be artistic, cool to be into music, cool to dress differently. I don't like that. I don't want to associate what I love with what is trendy. Where is my true spirit in the midst of a trend? The essence of me does not pass with each new movement in art, music, fashion. But these are things that I do love.
And I am religious. The stereotype of "Christian" does not mix with good art, music, fashion. And when it does, I am usually really grossed out. I never want my faith to be associated with a trend. NEVER. Is it a true religious experience when it is based in what is "cool" "popular" "trendy?" I am disgusted by things like this: Are You a Christian Hipster? It makes me so angry that I relate, and yet it has nothing to do with TREND for me. I just want to be true, real, myself. (Interesting fact, the guy who is writing this book on Christian Hipsters interviewed a boy I once dated. I was criticizing it one time to said boy a year ago when he informed me that the author is actually one of his friends and that it is based on a lot of people he knows, including himself. That made me feel gross.)

I am so frustrated by the culture I find myself in simply because of what I have always been interested in. I like art, music, and fashion. and separate from that, I am Christian. I am not seeking to change who I am to fit in with any one type of person. But I am beginning to realize that I am afraid to express certain things for fear of criticism, fear of people thinking less of me, fear of people labeling me. Fear prevents me from allowing myself to have vulnerable and genuine moments.

I fear that people think that I do not think independently from my faith and from the trends within the things I enjoy in art, music and fashion. I fear that people think I am mindless, a Mignon in the wheel of popular culture. I fear that people think I am shallow, trendy, and a soulless follower. I fear that people think I do not make my own choices but rather let others blindly guide me.

I fear that if I state what I truly want, that false judgments of me will only be furthered in their twisted critical patterns.

But they are just judgments. I take them too seriously. We all take them too seriously, because they are not always right! I judge. I am falsely judgmental sometimes. And in seeing the wrongs of my own thoughts, my own actions, I deeply fear those of others.

In 2010 I need to give myself grace. I need to not give in. I need to allow myself to be rejected for what I love, what I hold true, what I believe in. In the same way, I need to believe that I deserve love for what I love, hold true, and believe in. I need to believe that for each person that laughs at me, thinks less of me, or mocks me that there is one other person out there who must be the opposite. That there must be at least a few who see me in truth, respect me in honesty, and honor the person that I am. I want to do that for others too. I want to love with sincerity of heart. I want to be good to others, though for some stupid reason being nice or kind or good to others is not trendy and sometimes people look down on you for it. weird. LAME.

2010, lets get together and break my pride. 2010, make me strong in what I love, help me to hold my ground and not quiver under others' criticisms. I need to break sometimes. I need to fall and still feel intact. I think I learned that last year, but maybe now I just need to initiate laughter when I fall. I need the fall to feel like graceful flying. 2010, make me a woman.

falling off.


LD said...

So, apropos of nothing (and not to detract from an otherwise soul-searching and fantastically introspective post, of course), but that asymmetrical tank is LOVELY. Simply lovely.

Kyla Roma said...

I love your brand of reflection- I think my life would make more sense if I outsourced mine to you =)

I love this whole post- I think that it's so important to find yourself and get to know who you are from head to toes. And I agree with you on the whole Christian image being so strange, our culture loves to package things into tiny easily identifiable packages and faith is just too big for that.

And I'm also glad that you're too big for those classifications too. Grey area buddies?

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is why our hair turns grey when we're older. We become more aware, in our soul, our mind and eventually our bodies, of exactly the small spaces that really are black and white. And how beautiful grey really is.
It's funny - I knew girls like you in high school.
And the only thing I ever felt in your quiet, strong presence was incredible envy.
xo Moorea.
You never cease to amaze.

andrea said...

I hear being an adult is overrated yet we all want to get there. Oh and nice slacklining!