You Are More Than The Years You've Spent Alive
I remember being a child. This long-haired, twiggy thing with delightful dreams of becoming a movie starlet or a princess, a ballerina or a pigeon. I spent so much of my time preserving what I saw as beauty that I didn’t stop to realise I could be beautiful without it. Or, here’s a new idea, I didn’t have to be beautiful. At least not in the way society convinced me I should be. Of course, you’re not entirely logical when you are that young. Your head is in the clouds and the future is a million miles away. I think, it is only when the clouds begin to clear and you start to see the future, there in the sky, that you begin to grow up. I miss the excitement now of being a child, which only greets me sometimes in memory. I discovered that something came with my growing up: it became harder to feel. Life begins to sink in. You realise you are not beautiful or elegant enough to become a princess or ballerina, and your eyes don’t sparkle enough to be a movie star. Pigeon was always a definite no-no.Try again.
Even though my clouds seemed to clear away sooner than anyone else I knew my age, I was still breathing them. Only suddenly I knew who I was, or moreso, who I wanted to be. I was fourteen and I wrote on my blog that “I am going to live. Really live.” and for me that meant throwing myself headfirst into life. Much of society seems to think there is a ‘right’ way to live life. A formula. Finish school, go to university, climb the career ladder, get married, settle, buy a house, have children, have grand-children, retire, die. It’s strange that something so outdated is so widely spread.
I remember a friend of my mums saying to me one Friday night, 'Shouldn’t you be out partying and being a teenager?' As if there is a right way to be the age you are! Well I guess I am a rebel by not being rebellious then. Isn’t it all ridiculous? It makes me wish that people would see us for our thoughts and actions, not how many days we’ve been alive. Sometimes I think about this and ache to be brave and push aside my fears. I want to be loud about what I'm passionate about, even if no one else agrees with how I see things.
At times it is easier to regard the past as something that happened to someone else, like a girl in a novel or a film. At other times being a writer at heart means that no matter how many terrible, unbelievable things happen to you, it’s okay because they will always make for good stories.
There is resentment and jealousy from others at times, as though people think I am undeserving of the attention I've gotten or the 'talent' I’ve developed. As though it is all luck and really, they deserve it much more. Yet I have worked and I have obsessed. I’ve left my mind inside my writings and forgotten to use my head, pushing away friends and family and being regretfully selfish. I’ve forced myself to grow up rather quickly, and only now things are beginning to happen for me. Things I only ever imagined. Not just with writing, but also with my life. It’s not so bad, I’ve learnt to not tie myself to anyone or anything. Things have become simpler. I don’t spend time thinking about what I don’t have or who isn’t here, but what I do have and who is here. Split time up into moments, into little boxes of life. And only think about what is in my current box. Everything else falls away and I feel connected to everything.
I want to stop analysing myself through other’s eyes and start being free to be myself. I want to say yes to more experiences and not be afraid. I want to choose good thoughts to play in my mind. I want to stop the negative thoughts about my body and accept I am healthy and beautiful and happy to be alive. I want to see the world like I did when I was a child, full of wonder and magic. It’s still the same world after all, it’s just my perception that has changed. So, today I write these things down and find more to read every day. It’s difficult and I know it will take a long time to shed my fear, but it begins to work. I tell myself I’ll never get to be sixteen years old again. I skip down streets and share cheerful hellos to strangers, I listen with an open heart and I sing aloud to the songs playing in my head. I sit near a patch of flowers in the garden for a while just watching the insects that live there, no need to be anywhere but there. I just be the person I want to be, and it was that simple all along. Simple, but not effortless.
I write this in many places. In my head as I’m walking the streets of my hometown. In our garden in a notebook filled with my little cousin's scribbles. Late at night while everyone sleeps. It feels like a collage of mismatched paragraphs. Something has been holding me back. I have a feeling this will be my last entry like this. Today something struck me, and for the first time (albeit in a hazy way) I understand the influence my blog has and how many read it, but it all feels too unreal. My thoughts have been tattooed on a stranger’s body (I just found this out today, thank you Gia!) and it’s not as unusual to introduce myself to someone new these days and realise they already know my life story. It’s another world. A world I never thought I’d be immersed in. And now that I am here I see that we are all just human beings. We all feel joy and pain and imperfection. There is no need for envy, we all have our own bliss and own battles. None of us really have it all together. Despite it all I feel completely ordinary, because in everyday life I really am.
Once upon a time being well-known was what I wanted. But now, apart from the ability to make positive change and connections, I wish I wasn’t. I worry I'll become too exposed and it’s unsettling, the poison of negativity leaks into reality and I know I need to step back. Then again, this power I have to bring good into the world is too important to give up. How lucky and grateful I feel, I want to help others and I have this way to reach so many! I can’t even comprehend how blessed I am to have you all. So although I’ve decided not to document my life so intimately after this, I will keep giving what I can.
Life took over 4 billions years of evolution to design us and here we are on a planet floating in the Milky Way, surrounded by billions of stars and other galaxies. This is it, life, the very moment I type these words, the very moment you read them: this is us being alive. The thing more precious and mysterious than anything else, so fleeting it is only a flash in the lifetime of the universe.
It isn’t a bad thing, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to distance myself because you guys have been incredible for so long now, that even the loneliness and frustration are blessings in disguise. When I’m content lessons don’t hit me this hard or sink this deep, the highs don’t knock me off my feet. I needed this. I just need the freedom to be young. I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I’ve learnt that to make dreams come true, you have to be obsessed. truly, utterly obsessed. I think of obsession as passion doubled, and if you have passion for something people will see that. If you go through an entire day without doing something towards your dream, you’re not obsessed enough to make it happen. Sure, some people get lucky, but we’re not going to wait around to see if that’s us. We need to make things happen for ourselves, because we are the only ones in control of our lives. With enough obsession and work any dream can come true for you. You will be disappointed, sleepless and somedays you will want to give up. but you will be happy, because you are living. You are more, so much more, than the years you've spent alive.