I’m giving my age away with this one.
It’s been ten years since I graduated high school.
This time ten years ago I was studying for that math test that was making or breaking my honors status. This time ten years ago my biggest worry was getting ready for University in the fall. This time ten years ago I was ready to get out of that small town and start my life. I was excited to be able to spend time with my boyfriend and actually see him most days. We had big plans, big dreams.
Ten years later, my studying has turned in a daytime office job where I answer phone calls. My biggest worry is paying the bills and actually having enough money left over for food. Then I have to choose between bills, food, clothes, or a social life.
Ten years later, I spend my vacations at that small town that was my home for those few years of my life. And I am super happy to report that that boyfriend I had ten years ago is still by my side. I am one of the few that I know who are still with that person they dated in high school. That boy I met in my last year of high school has grown into my best friend and partner through this life. We still have those big plans and big dreams and we’re not giving up until we reach them.
Ten years ago I wasn’t sure what I wanted.
Ten years later, I’m still not sure what I want. But I know what I don’t want and I know what I’m not.
I was looking through an old journal I kept in high school. Some of what I had written breaks my heart now. My high school years were spent hating circumstances rather than embracing what I had around me. I was spent burying myself and making myself believe things that simply weren’t true. I doubted my worth, and thought that my worth was created by what those around me thought. I was caught in situations where I went with the flow because, well, that’s what everyone was doing right?
These situations gave me false beliefs, false feelings. I spent time exploring feelings enough until I believed them to be true. The boys I had “crushes” on back in high school I almost had to continue to talk myself into the feelings. They were normal right? And other feelings I had to repress because they couldn’t be true.
Looking back, those boys were never my type. Those boys made me feel for a little while that I was desired. However I think I was using them just as they were using me. They fed me that false hope that perhaps someone was actually caring about me, maybe they saw me when I felt invisible. What they were using me for I don’t really know (my high school years were pretty G rated to be perfectly honest). Looking back I think we were trying to distract each other from what we really wanted. Some of the things I wrote about those boys was terrible. I was definitely not an Optimist in high school.
Ten years later, I am still caught with the notion that I need approval to feel worthy. However, I also KNOW that I will not have the approval of everyone around me for my ideals, beliefs, and preferences. So that belief is one that I am trying to kill. It isn’t easy, but I have come to the point where deep down under those layers I truly do not care what others think of me.
Ten years later I know the feelings I had about those boys, and also the feelings I had about girls growing up, are okay. It took me years to understand exactly what was happening but I have come to realize that I am attracted to both. I like both men and women. I refer to my partner as my partner because he is much more than a boyfriend to me. I refer to him as my “significant other” instead of boyfriend… again, because he is more than a boyfriend. We’ll be together eleven years in August and our relationship is as strong as it ever was. Letting go and accepting who I am has really strengthened our relationship.
So what have I learned since leaving my parents’ house?
- Though I do seek approval, at the end of the day I truly do not care what others think about me and my lifestyle.
- Don’t be afraid to explore your feelings. You are feeling them for a reason, do not repress them.
- Adulting sucks!!! And I am terrible at it! But I’m alive so I can’t be doing too bad of a job.
- You can’t be scared to ask for help.
- Be confident
- Be You! If those around you do not approve, well that’s their problem, not yours.
Well, that’s enough from my brain for tonight. I hope it filled your void of three weeks without this DumbOptimist!
Cheers and Stay Smiling!