"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Monday, November 26, 2012

the best I can be

Now Playing: Sophia by Laura Marling (I'm wounded by dust)

I feel like, lately, I'm not being the best I can be. I am not the best version of myself.

Which is an odd thing to say when you're supposedly at the top of the world. I mean, seriously. WACE is over. I've graduated in the hottest, sweatiest, longest grad ceremony in the history of the world. I'm top in English in the state's top school.

But I still feel like something is missing. There is something about me - and it's not friends, it's not boys, it's not anything to do with people or me blaming my problems on the fickleness of teenage love - that is absent, a nonevent, something that should be but isn't. I feel as hollow and as shallow as the people I love to hate.

A few days ago I went to the beach with my friends and, admittedly, the beach doesn't particularly like me. I don't like sand. I don't like seaweed and any bugs or fish or...sharks...that might be part and parcel with the waves. I haven't got the most amazing bikini body (although losing 10kg this year did help) and although I can swim I'm not very strong and I'm more of a chlorinated pool sort of person rather than a lets-swim-into-this-big-ass-wave girl. I had to be taught how to jump over and dive into waves and I got dumped lots of times. The beach where we went to dips suddenly into rocky...dips...(epic English skills happening here) and I'm only 5'2" and I'm very uncomfortable when I can't touch the bottom. So in amongst all of that, I got into trouble a few times. But I was always with my friends, and there were always better people to wade out to get me, always better people to hold my hand, always better people to pull me back to safety.

I feel a bit like that now. Being kicked out of high school is like being tossed into the deep end. I can't touch the bottom and I keep going under and yes, I'm terrified. But it's also exciting, being one of the grown ups, I just don't know how to...comport, not just yet. I don't know how to carry myself. I went out and wore what felt like the first non school related clothes ever and I felt like someone else, as if it was someone else sipping iced coffee and chatting to my best friend. I didn't really feel like me.

I've spent my whole life in a tiny little world with what I now know to be problems that are all at once tiny and little but also big and huge and momentous. I don't know what it's like to wake up and not robotically put on uniform, slug my backpack on, throw a packed lunch together and run for the bus. One of these tiny little big huge momentous problems is that I was hurt this year, by people I thought were my friends, and as a consequence 2012 is one of the most lonely years that I can remember. Another one of those tiny little big huge momentous problems is that I was fucked over, quite literally, by someone I trusted, someone I thought of as my dearest friend but who I actually can't say anything to without blushing/sparking a big fight/all of the above, and now I don't know if our friendship will survive the week, much less the summer. These problems are tiny and little in the grand scheme of things, but people forget the big huge momentous emotions and repercussions of these tiny little problems, and how until I get out of this liminal space between baby high school and big kid uni these tiny little big huge momentous problems are stopping me from being the best I can be, from being the best version of myself. It's pretty claustrophobic in a cocoon but I want to come out of it a butterfly, not some half-mutated caterpillar.

I think this is compounded by the fact that high school literally means nothing, and for all the teen angst and hormone drama and touchy feely of it all high school will get you nowhere, given the academic inflation, and the adolescent years are the most ridiculed in literature and popular culture. It's humiliating that all these tiny little big huge momentous problems will be laughed off at some point in the future, but for now you just don't have the wisdom and the age and the mental capacity to detach yourself and to get over it.

I am my own harshest critic. Nobody is crueller to me than myself, and what I put myself through. But at the same time, through being fearless and trying to begin again, I am also learning to be forgiving - not of my faults, but of the things that make me human. I've taught myself that it's okay to cry, okay to be hurt, okay to be angry, okay to love, okay to hate. Everything I feel is not a mistake. And given this, when I start annoying myself with how I behave in the heat of the moment, I know I'm not being the best I can be. This is beyond my normal insecurity and self-esteem issues. I really, genuinely know that I am not the best version of myself just yet, and all I can ask of you is that you love me still, and be patient, because I'll always be there for you and I'll let you get away with murder. All I can ask is that you be the better person who wades out to get me and pull me to safety, in the assurance that I will always return the favour. All I can ask is for the kind of love that should endure in sickness and in health, through good and bad, till something tiny little big huge momentous do us part.

Or something like that.

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