You Can’t Go Back

*Originally posted August 28, 2014*

They say you can’t please everyone, so you should just be yourself. But there’s definitely a version of yourself that will please the most people possible, and I think that’s what people really mean when they tell you to “be yourself.”

I’m in this wonderfully awful place of not being an adult, and not being a child. I have finished school, and am entering a career where I am held to a high standard of professionalism. But I’m also a twenty-four-year-old woman-child who feels restless and exhilarated with every possibility I’m confronted with.

Woman-child me likes:
– dancing
– being flirtatious and seductive
– drinking a whole bottle of wine to myself
– wearing dramatic make-up
– driving too fast
– taking selfies
– dressing like a thug
– feeling to excess
– gossip
– bad movies and trashy novels
– staying up talking till 2 am
– being spontaneous and doing whatever I want

Grown-up me likes:
– reading news stories and discussing them
– routine and a schedule
– giving advice
– grocery shopping
– drinking a glass of wine with friends
– reading educational materials
– wearing professional clothes
– post-it notes and other stationary

I’m not in high school anymore. I’m not even in university anymore. Does that mean I suddenly have to be a real adult? Is being silly and weird offensive and immature now? Is there a way to make a compromise between all of the parts of my kaleidoscope soul? Can I still be a hip hop dancer at heart, wearing baggy sweats, high tops, and hats, while also being a responsible role model for children? Can I be proud of the 30 lbs. I lost and wear form fitting clothes, or (God forbid) crop tops, and still be a desirable addition to the work environment? Can I hold the view that women staying at home, cooking, cleaning, and making babies is a perfectly respectable and awesome life’s ambition, and not be frowned upon? Can I still dream of a perfect little life with the love of my life, or has that head-in-the-clouds attitude gotten old?

What are the rules now? I feel like half the people in my life are twenty-four going on forty-four, and half are twenty-four going on fourteen. I’m either struggling to feel intelligent and mature enough to take part in conversation, or looking at the clock wondering when I can leave the immature skinny-bitches I’m with. Is there no in-between? Where did my friends from when I was nineteen go? “You’re not 19 anymore…” Yeah, yeah, I know.

I miss the 2am teary phone calls to the one person who knew how I felt better than anyone else. I miss the way music so got me. I miss spontaneous drinking game nights. I miss 3am McDonald’s trips. I miss spending whole pay checks on clothes. I miss splitting a 2-6 of vodka with my best friend. But I want to live in my own place, with my own stuff. I want a grown-up woman’s professional wardrobe. I want babies. And a white picket fence. I want a 9-5 work schedule (or more like 6am-8pm, as my career will be). I want a promise of forever. I want financially smart decisions.

You can never go back. You can’t go back to the way things were, or to the people who were there for you. People evolve and leave your life, and your life changes. But going forward sounds so confining and stuffy. I just want to pause life. Just let me be twenty-four, working as a waitress and living at home, saving and spending money, making out with my boyfriend like a stupid teenager, feeling lost and excited and sad and overwhelmingly in love. Let me just be what I am right now without worrying about what that looks like to other people and having those perceptions mean huge ramifications for the rest of my life. Let me be a dancer again. Let me be a singer again. (There are people in my life who have never heard me sing. How weird is that?! At some point singing and making covers became this childish thing that I shouldn’t do and definitely shouldn’t post online for fear of who might see them.) Let me be all of the pieces of the kaleidoscope, and not just the ones that look best in public.


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