July 24, 2017
I’ve never understood the desire to return to childhood, or high school, or the claim that those times are “the best days of [one’s] life.” I know people who look back on those times wistfully – they talk about the lack of responsibilities and worry, etc. I, on the other hand, am very very grateful to be an adult. It’s not that I had a difficult childhood and, in fact, my high school experience was a pretty positive one. But I remember, as a child, many times, wishing I could hurry up and become an adult. I love the autonomy. Children have so few choices, other than perhaps consumerist choices (which toys do I want? Which flavor ice cream?), which are not really choices at all, in the end.
But as an adult! I have chosen where I live and with whom I live. I chose to pursue, and was lucky enough to successfully pursue, a career wherein I get to choose how to spend my time, for the most part. I have worked, and practiced, so that I have quite a bit of autonomy over my life on both the small, day-to-day scale, and the big scale too.
But, when Child Me imagined being Adult Me, she also imagined I would have something which I still am pursuing – A Voice. A confident, authoritative voice. Child Me imagined that Adult Me would know when to speak up and feel confident about what she was saying at meetings, in conferences, in conversations. She most certainly thought Adult Me would be writing somehow, in some way, and she never imagined the crippling insecurity which haunts my writing like a shameful secret past haunts the protagonists of nineteenth century novels.
Writing here and in my journal is helping me find my voice. Supportive colleagues, friends, and an incredibly supportive partner are helping me find my voice. The confidence of tenure has helped. Reading about imposter syndrome, and shame, and yoga, and Buddhism, and feminism, and all sorts of other related themes is helping me find my voice.
But it’s still not here. I still feel more like Child Me than how I imagined Adult Me would feel a lot of the time.