I Lost My Way

“They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.”
– Philip Larkin

 

The world is weird and children get the worst of it. Then we grow up and, somehow, the same world that fucked us up expects us to be normal, to be secure and mature and all kinds of other words that we don’t know how to live.

It’s hard to know who you are in a world full of people who are constantly asking you to be something else; to be who they want you to be, to be who they need you to be.

I used to know who I was. When I was a child, I didn’t have a lot of cares. I knew who I was. I knew that I was precocious and restless and had this thing inside of me that made me want to wander and poke into holes in dark places and find new things that would make me wonder and maybe come back, maybe not come back; but I knew who I was, until I turned nine.

Nine is the first memory of concrete sorrow because nine is when I started to lose myself; nine is when I no longer knew who I was. When it was about what the parents wanted for me; there was no question about what I wanted it was just what they wanted and it didn’t even matter if what each one of them wanted for me did not suit what the other wanted; it didn’t matter.

I was just a rope in a tug-of-war. It just did not matter. I didn’t matter. I was just a rope. And it was years of that; years of being lost, years of roaming in my head and having no concrete reason for sorrow. I keep saying that I had no reason for sorrow because I don’t know what it was. All I knew was that I could not be me. I had to be this person who was good at school, who got perfect grades and I didn’t know how to be that person.

I wanted to sit in the Queens College library full of thousands and thousands of books and I just wanted to read them; I wanted to read books and write Italian words and forget them in a week, and read the unabridged version of A Thousand and One Arabian Nights. I wanted to roam. I wanted to find new things in the pages of books; I wanted to find new things in my head but I couldn’t be that person no matter how hard I tried to be because I had to be this person who passed Mathematics and who, if she didn’t, got beaten by her mother.

I had to be this person who got compared to her sisters and even to her baby brother because I wasn’t putting in enough effort, I was too restless, my eyes were too wide, I wanted too much yet too little from the world.

Maybe they want what’s best for you but who knows what’s best for you? In the process of doing what’s best for you they erode what makes you you. And coming from that I started to date my first boyfriend at 18 and I had to be someone else; I had to be who he wanted me to be; I had to be quiet, respectful and couth and I didn’t know how to be that, I didn’t know how to be a woman. I didn’t know how to be the woman that they wanted me to be. I didn’t know how to be the woman that the world wanted, that the men wanted. All I used to know was how to be was me. But even that, I no longer knew how to be.

I was this person lost and floundering and trying to please the parents and trying to be good enough for the parents and trying, at the same time, not to lose myself, so that in the end I was a cacophony of confused personalities stuck in one person, stumbling all the time and I turned 20 and another boyfriend and the need to be good enough, to be enough, to be better than who I was, a different version of who I had been expected to be in my last relationship, a different version from whom my parents wanted me to be, a different version from whom my friends wanted me to be, a different version from whom the entire world wanted me to be.

young-lost-woman-road-4812971

I didn’t even want to be myself because I didn’t know who I was. I just wanted to be enough, to be perfect, to win. And the thing about perfection is it’s a lost cause so no matter what, you’re never quite enough.

And now I’m 25 and I don’t know who I am. I’m 25 and sitting in front of a therapist and weeping my eyes out because I don’t know who I am any more. I don’t know where that girl is. The one who had no sorrow because she had no reason for sorrow. I don’t know what I am besides lost and I’m trying to recapture this thing that I used to love, trying to find the person that I was, knowing that it’s okay to not be perfect, to not have the perfect body or the cutest face. It’s okay and I’m comfortable in my body that is like a boy’s. And I had missed my sneakers and now I can wear my sneakers and my jeans and t-shirts and not need to be sexy, to be better than the other women vying for your attention, not need to be dumber than you because you need to be the most intelligent person in the world.

And I’m mad. I’m angry at myself, I’m angry at the world for expecting so much; not just so much but for expecting different things, for not accepting. And I’m mad at myself for trying for acceptance because in the end the more you change, the more you need to change.

In the end, no one is ever going to be who I want them to be. It’s also up to me to realise that I’m never going to be who everybody wants me to be or who anybody wants me to be and it’s okay to accept who I am and to not try to change it; it’s important to not change who I am.

 

“…you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that.
…you are terrifying and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.”
– Warsan Shire
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10 thoughts on “I Lost My Way

  1. … In the process of wanting “what’s best for you”, they might create a “monster”, one that they now have to live with and then they wonder where “it” came from.. “the troubled being”. All good sha! Larkin put it well!

  2. I really relate to this and what you’re going through. I swear this post is eerily spot on with how I feel about my life. Only, it’s hard for me to pinpoint when the shift that brought this cloud of depression into my life occurred. Sometimes I surrender to the idea that I was just born this way, other times I distinguish it as having happened when I hit puberty, or when I moved, or some other time. I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter though, does it? It’s here and I have to deal with it.

    I hear a lot of people say that feeling lost and misguided during your twenties is normal. Supposedly this is the process of emerging into adulthood.

  3. Hmmn! Rayo puts reality in words like you put butter on bread .Mind boggling and thought provoking write up.You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them.
    An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you.
    Goi Nasu

  4. Omg
    i♥rayo
    Stop trying so hard to find yourself. It will come to u. Step by step. U probably feel like ure wearing sumone elses skin. Ull grow into ur skin or shed it and get a new one. Throw urself into stuff. Lose ur mind. Go crazy. Migrate to colorado/pot colony, lol. Dont let anyone change u.
    Then it will come.
    It had just come for me when we met. remember? I had lost all my friends and everything else that meant anything. Dont pretend. Pretence will eat at u n make u ashamed.
    Just know that ure special n beautiful n everyone else is weird except u

  5. Ha!
    Love this.
    Alot of people are stuck here and do not even realise it.
    This was me until I left my dream Job to nothing, went back to my old journal, started to read and write again. Now I’m considering keeping a journal again.
    Cliché, teenage, or whatever, that of one of the things that define who I am and I’m not going to stop because people think its ridiculous.
    I still wanna dance in the rain sometime! !! *wide grin* wanna join me?

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