Bravery, Voices, and (lack of) Childhood

I’m able to actually sort of think straight for more than 10 minutes. Everything is still in a fuzzy poofy-face and vicodin haze (seriously, can’t wait until I don’t need to take painkillers, and can have pizza..). I have some thoughts that carried over from PAX that got lost earlier this week because it was all I could do to hold ice to my face and somehow swallow pudding. Some of them I was reminded of today, over twitter, and my weekly existential crisis. Some things of myself make a little more sense today, but that could just be the haziness too.
I made a comic last week, because I was frustrated about the whole “check your privilege” thing, and I’m not going to get into it here, because you can just go see it. I don’t like being silenced – and I’ve realized over the last couple years, as I learn about who I am and what I like (not who I’ve been told I am and what I’ve been told to like) that it’s really hard to find my voice and hold onto it, after it’s been taken from and used for me for so long.
It’s so easy to lose myself, because I was never allowed autonomy; I’ve always had to fight for it. I feel a lot of pressure sometimes, to say this or not say that, or to write with certain people in mind – and every time I do that I am losing my voice, and crippling my process. When that happens I don’t follow the “rules”, I just stop creating, I stop writing, because suddenly my voice – my autonomy – feels threatened. Which quickly leads to frustration because writing and creating is just as important as breathing or drinking water to me. I can only go so long without it before I start to lose it.
Aside: this week’s been rough largely because I haven’t been able to draw. holding an icepack is really frustrating when you *have* to because pain, but all you really want to do is draw comics.
So, I get angry when I feel censored and then I shut up and it’s a bad thing.

Erika Moen wrote a post today, which I guess really sums up a lot of how I’ve been feeling lately – about being vulnerable and using her voice. Which triggered this and unleashed a slew of other thoughts that don’t necessarily have the coherency to see through to the end.
It’s hard, and it’s scary to say things, and to say things on the internet. It’s hard to live on the internet so much sometimes. Some things happened in the last couple months that terrified me, and even terrified me to the point of being paralyzed creatively. I live publicly (because, living on the internet is largely public) and it’s scary to be honest and vulnerable and real, but I can’t not be.

I can talk to more people with less social anxiety on the internet than I can in real life – and finding my community has been beautiful. Interestingly enough, I think my depression was masking my anxiety, and all of my social anxiety, because now that I’ve fixed that, I’ve noticed….a lot of anxiousness, especially when it comes to interacting with people. I think I used to not care more, because, depression, but now I care and it’s….I’m a lot more self conscious.

It’s strange, seeing people I know turning into adults. It’s weird because I see them, and I can’t relate. I don’t see me when I was 18….because when I was 18, I was basically 40. It’s strange when I see 18 year olds being…18. And I’m hit with a shockwave of reminders that I didn’t have the luxury of being a teenager or a child. From the time I was 12 I was a full-time care-taker, though my “training” for that began when I was 8. I was never allowed a carefree exploratory childhood, I had to be an adult the entire time.
I panic occasionally because I feel so behind in life. I’m not where I want to be and I feel like time is running out and I have to step back and remember that I’m only 22. I feel like so much of my adulthood has been lived already, and I’m learning what it’s like to relax, and enjoy, and not take responsibility for everything or everyone’s kids. I’m caught between feeling too old, and having no experience…
I have to learn to relax, and to explore and enjoy my 20’s. I’m just now experiencing what most people experience in their teens. I’m forever playing catch-up, but also fighting to figure out how to adult, but not be overly responsible for things that aren’t mine.
I felt like it was too late for me to take my SAT or apply to college or do things that normal 18/19 year olds do when I was 18. I thought I was too old – because my reality was so…completely fucked up. Hint: it’s never too late.
I think this is what happens when you’re stripped of your childhood and expected to be an adult from the time you can reach a stove. You’ve aged, and not aged, in weird places and wrong ways. It’s too much pressure.
Growing up being told to act like an adult, but also, that you’re inherently worthless….it kills a lot of things. A lot of passion and a lot of drive. All the responsibility but none of the power is devastating.
The further away from childhood I get, the more I wonder how I – and how anyone who’s gone through similar things – managed to survive it. It was all we knew, so we adapted. I promised myself, when I was young, that I would always remember how it felt – so I wouldn’t forget and inflict the same wounds on others. I intend to keep that promise.

Being a person is hard, finding and keeping and using my voice is hard and scary, growing up is weird, but I think it’s all worth it – at least, it is for me right now. This is a lot more rambly and meh-ish than I intended, but on the bright side, this is the longest bit of almost coherent thoughts I’ve been able to put together all week.
Oh, and I CHEWED today!


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