I’ve lived the past few years knowing I’m not what you quite thought I would become. I haven’t,
– magically turned into a swan (though my braces are off and everything. weird!)
– somehow gotten my act together and gotten admitted into oxford… or hogwarts.
– managed to meet mr.fantabulous who reads amazing books and just ‘gets’ me
– suddenly become ms. sociable
– had it all figured out
In a way, it’s more because you, 13 years old and naive, assumed things happened “magically” “somehow” “worked themselves out”. They don’t. They require an enormous amount of doing. I learned this from a bubbly, overly enthusiastic junior of mine in school (I was in twelfth, she was in eleventh)… through observing her from a distance.
I neither liked her nor hated her or even knew her. she annoyed some, she was revered by some but most importantly she DID. she did not cower under the false facade of indifference and pretend everything came easily to her. she didn’t think of enthusiasm as shameful or cheap. she actively DID and that’s one thing from my two years at that school that stuck with me more than anything.
19 (20?) year old me is still socially awkward. fumbles over the ends of her sentences. interrupts at the wrong places. trips over anything solid. dances around things and gets so freaking anxious. she’s even more neurotic and competitive and perfectionist (in a messy way) than you. imagine that. but she’s also stood for college elections and done other things you never imagined you’d ever do… not necessarily the awesomest of things. but DIFFERENT things.
no, things didn’t go smoothly from there.
in fact, they lead to stickier spots, lonelier roads and moments of claustrophobia…
but you have learned far more this way than through the life of smooth nonchalance and unjustifiable privilege you dreamed of.
if we bump into each other, you might think, what is with her? who is she? what is she even doing? where is she even headed? i know you will. things are so different from how it was for you.
i’ve forgotten how to laugh off a bad grade. eat chocolate and watch fluffy or high-on-angst movies every.single.day.
i’ve learned to take the bus. do things on my own. love solitude.
i’ve learned to keep away.
i’ve learned to get what i want. scratch that. you taught me that when you were at your brattiest.
i don’t manufacture sadness like you did. i’ve cried with my heart. broken down. started over. and over.
i’ve learned to take NO.
i’ve learned that some things happen because they need to happen but that’s okay. nothing has more than a 15 minute impact.
But you won’t stick around to understand me. At least I don’t think you would. You would take one look at me, my hair in an unmade bun and my rumpled blue kurta and… probably not even notice me. I don’t think I’d even make it to your awareness. I wouldn’t even make it to your sensory memory though if I did, we might be okay friends.
That hit me the most.
And that hits me the most.
Indifference in the eyes of your thirteen year old starry eyed self is worse than failure.
Your thirteen year old self is at its judgiest- always.
I’m twenty now and it’s funny how nothing anyone says will matter as much as your approval does. Nothing hurts more than not falling in line with your unrealistic expectations. But I don’t hate you or anything. I love you the most. Isn’t that weird?
PS: Happy birthday to you. And me.