Ok, first, let’s just be honest with ourselves; when you have a majority of your photos on Facebook feature you in a fake mustache, you aren’t that “grown up” in the traditional sense. Still, I noticed that I’ve been growing up.
Not like suddenly or anything. As I look back I can see the changes growing. The other night I found my old LiveJournal (did you just shudder, too?) that I kept in college. Wow. That’s really all I can say.
First big thing that stood out to me from those LJ posts was the depression I was going through. Just re-reading them, I sounded a little selfish, a lot insecure and a good helping of whiny. However, since I was the one writing those posts, I can recall the crippling anxiety and depression I was going through. Feeling like I mattered to no one and that I would never find true happiness. Trying to build myself up to have this tougher shell than I actually did and lying to myself about who I was as a person.
As I got older, I’m sure my hormones evened out, causing my lows to not be so severe; but also, I just started to come to terms with who I am and what matters most to me.
You know how you can worry about what someone will think about what you are wearing or how you look, the things you say or don’t say, just other people’s opinions in general? Well, I gave up worrying about that stuff for the most part when it finally dawned on me that EVERY ONE is just walking around thinking “What do they think of me?” Every one is just so concerned with themselves that we rarely actually stop to think about the people around us. Once I realized that the people around me were just as self-centered and insecure as I am, I actually let some of that doubt go.
After college, I moved to New Orleans and lived by myself for the first time ever. I had a lot of me time. I had to make all new friends and had to deal with life out of school. When you are in school, your friends tend to be your schoolmates. People in your classes or extra curricular activities become your friends. After school, I came to realize, work replaces the classroom. Your coworkers become your friends. Now, of course they are not the only people you make friends with, but they are where you start when you are new in town.
I also had my brother and his circle to hang out with, not to mention my best friend lived only an hour away on the coast. I slowly started to grow and expand my friendship horizons. I no longer cared as much about people hanging out without me. I started to enjoy my time alone. I started this blog to give my single life some direction.
Not all my friendships have lasted. I wouldn’t say they ended on bad notes, they just seemed to have run their course. It was like I was trying on different interests that my new friends had and while some of them suited me, I never seemed able to get them into my interests. I just ignored it for the most part, but more and more I wanted to do things that were in my realms of interest and less of what was in their realms. Meeting Mr. LL, who has many of the same interests as I do, just made me more focused on the things I like best and less on some of the things I was trying to convince myself to like.
I was living on my own for a few years, I started to come to terms with my body. I was so embarrassed by my weight and weird shapes that I just knew I’d never be comfortable with a man. Then, one day, I finally realized that most men just want to have sex with you. There are many wonderful men who, of course, want more than just sex, don’t get me wrong. I’m just saying that if you are a woman and you offer a heterosexual male sex, he’s more than likely going to say yes. It’s silly to worry about that kind of rejection (extenuating circumstances not taken into account in this scenario). I’m not trying to say that sex is the be-all-end-all of a relationship. But not feeling attractive and believing that no man would want to be with me in a relationship because they saw me the way I do was a HUGE deterrent. Retraining my brain to understand that no one looks at me as critically as I do (well, my mom might) was tough.
This realization gave me confidence. Not that I went around offering sex to men or anything, lol. Before I met Mr. LL, I went on one date in the time I lived here in New Orleans. It was one of those internet things and I deleted my account after it. Then my friends, Matt & Becky, introduced me to Mr. LL. You know how that turned out, but all that time I spent coming terms with myself and my body were huge in making this relationship work (for my part, at least).
The next thing you know, I’m the senior graphic designer at my work. My best friend gets married and I get married too. Now, Mr. LL and I are looking to the future and all the very grown up but extremely exciting things it holds for us. I’ve come a long way from those LJ days of crying over insignificant things and being practically paralyzed by my insecurities. It would be a lie to say that I don’t still get low, but I can realize when I’m being influenced by my depression or even by my hormones (and no, I don’t think hormones are an excuse for anything, I just know that certain times during the month, I get way more weepy than other times) as opposed to any real tragedy.
I steady out my temper by taking time to stop and think about what is actually making me angry and how I can fix it. I realize now that all that tasks there are that have to get done will get done and to try to not let myself stress out too much about (sometimes this works better in theory than practice 😉 ).
I, by no means, have all the answers; nor do I feel like I have fully matured. I don’ t know if we ever stop growing as people. I know that we never stop changing. Still, I’m happier now that I’ve had some years of experience and growth behind me. I just didn’t realize that I’d been growing up this whole time.