This is something I wrote when I turned 18. Looking back, I can still relate to this. Hope you enjoy!
“It’s temporary. She’s too naive. She’ll be normal when she grows up.”
Only that day never came. And it never will.
What are we? How do we learn? What shapes our mentality? Who decides normalcy?
These simple questions are not so easy to answer. As the quality of opinions may vary from time to time and from person to person. So many views. So many perspectives. But who can claim their answer is the only truth? Do we even need answers? Is it so important to answer all of life’s questions in our limited existence?
Suppose you HAD all the answers. Each one of us, born with the same exact manual. How to grow up. How to talk. How to interact. How to think. How MUCH to think. What to like. What to dislike. What it is to be a man. What it is to be a woman. How to be normal. How to live a stable life.
A stable life. Yes, this is what we are aimed to do from the beginning; to lead a stable life. Birth, elementary school, middle school, high school, college, career, marriage, family, death. The basics of a stable life. The only simple and certain thing, which will come no matter what, is death. The other components are rather full of complexities. And death may come at any stage of life; the unspoken inevitability. Every person, great or ordinary, wealthy or poor, intelligent or stupid, goes through this preassigned routine of life, only to reach the final phase of death.
Does this mean life has no meaning? It is your choice what you think. As there really is no answer. Some children are dead even before being born. Some die a couple of months later. And some live long enough to be announced as ‘Oldest man/woman’ in our local newspaper.
I have always felt ‘normal,’ whatever that term means. I was born a girl. I was passive. I was an observer. I was quiet. I enjoyed sports. I liked video games. I enjoyed writing. I loved the idea of growing up one day and earning all the fancy things and life’s luxuries MYSELF. Being my own leader. Being able to look at myself and feel satisfied. Thinking and dreaming of a perfect life gave me immense pleasure. There were no boundaries in the world I dreamed about. And all at a very young age.
But then I grew up.
It is said that as you grow up, your intelligence increases. Your cognitive, memory and performance skills significantly improve. But what about your imagination? Do we provide enough freedom to our children to push their limits of creativity?
We think we do. But it is often untrue. Some children are given immense support when they do something ‘different’ while some are even discouraged. I was born unique, just like everyone else. But the people in my vicinity did not understand me completely, which did not concern me. What concerned me as I grew up is how rigid and inflexible we have become in our approach to nurture a child. A boy must have ‘boyish’ likes and dislikes and grow up to be masculine and manly. A girl must have ‘girly’ interests and have feminine traits.
But what if you don’t? Does this make you abnormal? Does this make you worthless? Sometimes, I have thought myself to be these things in the process of growing up. I have often wondered as a child whether I will ‘become’ girly when I grow up. I thought it was supposed to happen naturally.
But here I am, an 18-year-old, who has not changed the slightest in terms of my likes, dislikes and hobbies.
But am I happy? YES. And in this journey of attempting to find my identity, through childhood, teenage and adulthood; I’ve realized this is the only thing that matters to me now. I’m happy. Comfortable in my own skin. Studying the subject I’ve always wanted-psychology.
I’ve realized that the best thing you can gift another person for free is ENOUGH SPACE for them to make their own choices, decisions, mistakes, successes and failures. Just enough space.
Because if you try to shape a person, a unique individual, into something they’re not, their hidden talent and exclusive individuality will die even before coming out. And what do we have to do so it does not happen? Nothing. Keeping an open mind and a positive outlook towards each person is one of the things we can at least attempt to do.
I am so glad I shared this. Thank you so much for reading!