I’m laying on my bedroom floor coughing up dust. The nostalgia that is erupting in my mind over the simplest objects - an old tee-shirt, a book that I decided to never return to my high school English professor, a hideous necklace that I obsessed over for months back in 2010 – has left me in a state of disillusionment…
It’s funny. I truly thought I had myself figured out back then. Now, I don’t even recognize that girl. She was a child; so ignorant to the ways of the world, yet so confident in her ideals. Ah, high school. What a bizarre and humorous escapade. And, rather than concluding that chapter after graduation, two years at a community college close to home prolonged my naiveté.
I was a coward. An ignorant, bold, narrow-minded coward. Not in the way that I was fearful to live my day-to-day life, but in the way that I was completely reluctant to change. As an admitted control-freak, or rather, former control-freak, vulnerability to anything unfamiliar meant shortness of breath and an accelerated heartbeat. I cannot lay a finger on the particular point in time when I became that way; there was no specific moment that my haughty ego shoved my sense of wonderment into a dim and clouded corner in my mind. It must have been a gradual closing of the entryway for new ideas and change. More and more I became deeply entrenched in the narrowness of my beliefs and opinions. I said I “hated” things, when in reality I probably did not even try or care to learn about them. I lost friends because I refused to understand or accept anyone’s opinion but my own. I upheld this image of a confident, conservative, audacious individual who knew exactly what she liked and believed in and did not let anything or anyone rattle that notion.
I was comfortable. Change was foreign. I was in control (or so I thought). We become accustomed to a certain way of being, and for a long time I was this shell of a person with fictitious ideals and judging eyes.
I was a hypocrite. An impostor, a fraud. All of those ideals and opinions I spoke so strongly about, I did not really feel strongly about, nor did I even know anything about. Whether it was a pop singer I said I “hated,” to make people think I was ‘cool’ or ‘unique’, or a social issue such as same-sex marriage that I claimed to be against - it was a front. I wanted so badly for others to see me a certain way, that I did not even open my eyes and mind to the reality of it all.
I don't know the exact moment this began to change, the day the doors began to break down. Maybe it was someone I met. Maybe it was living on my own. Maybe it was the day I committed to leaving this town for college. I’ll never really know for sure, but gradually and graciously I have accepted vulnerability into my life. I do not even recognize the girl that I once was.
Growth is not comfortability. It is not remaining. It is not making excuses and hating things you have never experienced. Growth is opening your mind. It is allowing yourself to be vulnerable and spontaneous. Vulnerability is terrifying. And enlightening. And magical. It is letting go of control. It is letting go of expectations and allowing God to surprise you.
I still have a long way to climb, but I am already mountains from where I used to be. More and more each day I discover who I am. Growing up is really growing into yourself. It is accepting foreign things into your life with open arms and observing how they make you feel. After all, everything that is extraordinary in your life was also once unfamiliar.