Time is a strange construct to grasp; it holds immense power, dictating, in part, how we live while waiting for not a single one of us to find our balance. It’s unfair in every way, shape, or form. We all live and frame our lives around this one thing that shows the slightest remorse nor concern for our frightful pain or melting joy. I’m trying to grapple with what happened in the past, reconciling it with the present, all while making way for my future. It’s some real hard shit to handle.
I've been getting antsy as of recent. My mid-twenties have somehow snuck up on me, and I’m stuck in this mindset of feeling like I have to prove my worth every minute of every single day to every person I encounter. It’s strange, but it deems necessary, especially in the moment. I don’t know how to explain it other than saying that I get this odd urge to just describe where I’m at in my life. I think it could be their eyes peering into mine. Feeling the feeling of not feeling adequate. I just want everyone to know that I’m functioning as an intelligent and productive human being and that I’m not ‘falling behind’ by any means.
I’m at a place in my life where I’m achieving fulfillment from my passions and interests. Mainly within my career and somewhat even in my friendships. It’s definitely unique to me to feel this way because I’ve never truly been proud of myself until maybe this past year. It has mostly to do with the fact that I spent my entire childhood trying to find myself and align my passions with my interests. It was definitely a rough time for me because there was no one like me* within my family, friend group, or even community, for that matter.
* Like me: non-athletic, scrawny, ‘artsy.’
A Ball of Awkwardness
What felt like centuries was merely a decade (and a half) of me having to prove that I was intelligent since I was absolutely unathletic. What sucked even more was that I wasn’t ‘institutionally intelligent’ because I never tried my best. I didn’t study enough; I just didn’t see purpose or motivation. It was hard for me having to cope with the bullying, the looks, and just life itself. The pain of not being understood is the hardest thing you can go through as a child because it’s hard to explain; it feels so uniform to you in those moments. And what’s worse is that when you let someone know, and they don’t get you, you are immediately shut down and no longer want to open up. It’s a fucking bitch altogether.
Being a middle child already left me at a disadvantage (I kid, but keep reading). My older brother was a star athlete, opposed to me, who fucking hated sports (and still do). Things only got worse when my younger brother became an athlete too. It was just a fucking ball of shit whenever we’d go to family parties and sports-related dinners. My immediate family didn’t isolate me too much, but it was the others...the ‘distants.’
Elementary Rhymes with Pageantry, Kinda
The Olympics of Horror started when we were children. The three of us played soccer as kids, which later turned into basketball before elementary school was even over. I was being dragged into something I absolutely did not want to do. My parents probably thought that if I had too much free time as a nine-year-old, I would turn to meth or prostitution in the future. They wanted what every parent hopes for their child: a strong foundation of mental and physical skills. Again, I was fucking 9. I was no JonBenet Ramsey by any means, but they were no Brangelina themselves; the playing field was leveled for all I was concerned.
Even going to a party or getting together was too much for me; I felt like everyone was either staring at me for my scrawniness or already knew that I was the ‘non-athlete.’ It sucked over the years because I was walking into the lion’s den constantly. My entire family felt that it was nothing and that I was seeing stuff that wasn’t there. But I wasn’t.
And I fucking hate that, by the way. When people try to invalidate your feelings by simply brushing you off. I’m not making shit up for the fun of it. I’m fucking 11, for fucks sake.
Being that I wasn’t too big in size, I had an iron deficiency, and I barely ate food; I looked relatively younger than most kids my age, in addition to my younger brother.
When it was time for me to enter high school, I did the thing I dreaded most: I asked my parents if I could stop participating in sports camps. They accepted my resignation a little too swiftly, I might add. It didn’t really bother me, though, because I fucking hate(d) sports. I am not one with the ball.
The One Time I Should’ve Been High
High school was a lot less momentous than I had expected and hoped for. It sure was a letdown for having gone from a relatively smaller elementary school to a larger secondary school (which was literally up the hill). At least initially, I had watched too much TV at that point that my expectations were so high. Like probably many other people, I didn’t really do the work to thrive. I just did whatever would satisfy the requirements.
There’s this strange perception that high school sucks because everyone’s busy trying to fit in, but that’s barely the problem. What sucks balls is that there’s a possibility you won’t be able to hang out with the very few friends you already have because if they’re not in your classes, you only get to hang out during lunch. And if they also have other friends (whom you fucking hate), that’s even worse. That was the case with most of my friends; we just never saw each other except at lunch. We had different interests, I liked art, they liked foods or just skipping school altogether.
I thought that we’d become close like we used to once university started, but he didn’t even feel the need to go. He chose to take a gap year...I was beyond bummed. Cheers to having to meet new people again for the next four years!
An Underwhelming Undergrad
By the time I had started my undergrad, I had confirmed what I had always feared, which was that I was terrible at adapting to life’s changes.
Throughout my Arts degree, I battled terrible anxiety and stress (story of our lives) to deliver half-ass essays on the most random subjects, from an archaeological exhibit to the semantics of a Dior ad featuring Ms. Charlize Theron. I say half-assed because I never truly put in any effort throughout any of these assignments. It took me a year to realize that post-secondary education, in many ways specific to the universities I attended, was not filled with professors and courses that genuinely tested our creativity or thinking. They were designed to see if we fit their mold and were willing to be just like them. Why condition us to fit the norm?
(S)Lacking in Motivation
It’s the fucking worst when you’re exceptionally gifted at something but have no way of expressing it because you lack the motivation to give that ‘thing’ your all. It may seem far-fetched, but seriously, I look back on many of the papers I wrote back in the day with cringe and regret because my mindset, writing process, and drive are far more advanced and passionate now than they ever used to be. I could’ve thrived at a time like that.
It’s strange to be in a place where I feel successful. I don’t need recognition or validation from anyone. I think that all those years, being the brother on the sideline or the “non-basketball” son, slapped an extra layer of the skin to my body and threw me in the sun—Vitamin C fu.
Page 404 Cannot Be Found, But Peace Can
Looking back at my childhood and thinking about all the times I felt misunderstood makes me consider that such feelings are being reconciled now that I’m in a place where I feel my best.
I’m trying to almost overcompensate for my past of zero accomplishments. I’m trying to be the renaissance man, filling my schedule with work so that I can then fund a future of more work?
I grew up with somewhat low self-esteem; it wasn’t that I felt that I was unnecessary by any means; I just knew that I didn’t have much going for myself. This carried on well into my teens. Everyone would talk to me about my siblings, it was fucking weird, but whatever, I guess.
Being A Teller
But we’re here now. Why do I feel like I need to suddenly validate myself without giving people a chance to even talk? I have no idea dude. I have no idea. Maybe it’s because I’m worried they’re going to think I’m not up to par. The thing here is that I always cancel myself before giving people a chance to even get to know me. It’s definitely weird but I think I do this to protect my feelings. I don’t want to get invested in people that may not like me after knowing me. It’s strange but I do prefer to take myself out of the race before it starts.
Maybe that’s why I enjoy working so much. It takes up the majority of my days and weeks, but it’s the place where I feel the most validated. God, I feel lame for saying this. You all are probably wondering...did this stupid fucker just say that he enjoys working?...
Yes, the answer is yes. Although stupid fucker...wow.
The Power of Reflection
I’m starting to understand the power of reflection. It stings because it’s awkward and cringe-y and just obnoxious at times, but we must move forward with optimism and strength so that we can foster openness to new experiences, and nurture our self-love.
The moments where you felt hurt or where you caused hurt. Who the fuck wants to relive it? I have somehow found solace and comfort in the pain because it’s no longer there. I was able to persevere and move to a place of peace and happiness. I think that kind of speaks to the purpose of this blog. I’m not a product of my past, nor am I a product of my community. I’m a product of the lessons I’ve learned, the pain I’ve transformed into perseverance, and the dreams I’m making a reality.