I was lost for a long time. I suppose the worst thing about being lost is knowing you are lost and not knowing where to go from there. Thats why I feel like I ought to drop these hard truths on my younger self..or anyone who can relate. I wanted to fit in so bad and often, after getting into a place I longed so hard to get into, I often ended up feeling like I was still on the outside, looking in.
I didn’t really have values or principles because they changed according to who I was with. I was tolerant of a thing with one group, and I couldn’t stand the same thing with another group. This made me unable to stand myself when I was alone. I knew I was a fraud, but I found consolation in the fact that only I knew that. Outside, I was a pretty , confident and popular girl.
You’re not just pretty…
I liked being known for that. I thought it gave me something to hold on to. As a result though, I couldn’t talk to anyone about how I was really feeling, which was lost. I didn’t know who I was and my deepest fear was that others would find out that it was all a facade. I made a lot of wrong decisions due to that. I would do things I didn’t really agree with to look cool. I would make moves that I knew I shouldn’t be making to impress people that now looking back, didn’t really give a rat’s ass about me. I suppose looking back is the gift of growing up.
I turned 27 last month and I took some time to look back. For the longest time, I measured my growth by my financial, educational, and career situation but for the first time, I looked at my mental growth. I saw how along the line, I started to have my own ideas while simultaneously respecting other people’s ideas. I saw how forgiving I had gotten of people because I had seen how harsh and unforgiving life could get and I really don’t want to add to another person’s suffering.
I saw how I’d learned to take myself out of situations that were toxic to me without shouting about how toxic they were. I saw how somewhere along the line, I’d started taking responsibility for my thoughts and my actions. My failures were nobody’s fault and my underachievement could not be blamed on anyone but myself.
big girls take responsibility sis…
I saw how I now understood that validation can only come from within myself and untapped talents remain just that, untapped. I saw how most days, I had to clap for myself or get myself off the floor and try again. I saw how I had reached a place where I understood about giving back. I saw how I now understood that the face was always just a pretty book cover and there was so much more inside that I didn’t bother to check for.
I would have liked to go back to my 21 year old self to drop a few hard truths on her, but as that’s not likely to happen, I’m going to share these hard truths with you. There’s no time like the present to re-evaluate and come correct. You don’t need to do this for anyone, you owe it to yourself to do the most with everything you’ve been given and if you’d just take a moment to check, you’ll find that you’ve been given a whole lot.
To go back?
Would I have done things differently, certainly. But I’ve also learned to respect the process. So my love to Young Paula, thank you for showing me what I do not want to be.
What would you tell your younger self if you could?