Friday, March 28, 2014

Pacifying My Younger Self

As with everything else in my life, the root of this post is the lyrics to a Beyoncé song:
"When you're lying in your bed, are you happy with yourself?"
It's not news that I used to romanticize being a grown-up, I think I've harped on that enough times on this blog. I was swept by Disney Channel's portrayal of highschool and Nickelodeon's teenage lifestyle in shows like Zoey 101 and Naturally Sadie and Unfabulous. I was a devoted reader of a magazine designed for tweens (pre-teens) and it would make teenage life seem like a magical land where disorganization and crippling anxiety about the future don't exist. And although I was an only child for most of my early life, a lot of older (than me) cousins would live with us for school or work, and I would, sometimes begrudgingly, look up to them. They were horrible to me and they made my childhood life a living hell, but I still thought they were the coolest "real" people on the planet ever. They always were in keeping with the latest trends be it technology or fashion. They always had the coolest phones and the coolest things and were basically, to me, a vat full of creativity. Although I disliked them to an extent, I couldn't help but try and emulate their "coolness." They were who I wanted to be when I finally become a teenager. Now as we all know, oft-times we don't live the life the way we imagined it to be, and that's making me wonder if I am living the life that I wanted to live when I was ten, it's just that I'm not realizing it. I'm really inclined to say yes to this, for the most part, and I think, in a lot of ways, my younger self would actually prefer to see the lifestyle as I am living it now, rather than the way she imagines teenage life to be.

A lot of the characteristics that I think I actually prefer now about my teenage life were brought about by my move to Ireland when I was twelve, which in my opinion really marked the start of teenage life for me. Without a doubt that first couple of months in a new and strange place were one of the most tumultuous moments of my life. I've never had to deal with so much change before and I really was forced to get out of my little box of dependence and start doing things for and by myself. I do think that moving made me become a more well-rounded person as a result, because I learned to think critically and see other people's point of views, which I don't think I would've learned if I was brought up in a more suffocating society that shots down any kind of change or deviation from the social norms. Moving here also improved my English grammar and vocabulary by soooooo much, and I don't think my younger self would've ever envisioned that.

Of course a lot of it too was brought about by the internet and the amount of new ideas that it offered and still offers me, and that I think is one of the reasons why I couldn't have imagined myself as I am living now, because technology and the internet has evolved so much over the past 6 or 7 years. Ideas that I feel very strongly about right now, like feminism and equality, were brought about by the amount of time that I spent online, and by the amount of exposure that I got from both sides of a particular issue. I am a better informed person now, way more than I could've imagined myself to be, and I think I really do owe that to the internet, particularly social media. I obviously still don't know everything about a lot of things, and is not in any way an expert to any subject at all, and I know that the internet can misinform a person a lot of times, but I still think it did me more good than bad. I may talk about the internet in a different post, actually, because I've got a lot of things to say about the subject.

So yeah, I could work on being more organized. I can be a lot more tidier and make my room look like something out of a page of a home interior magazine for teenagers. I am not athletic, or fit, and I don't wake up at 8 am in a Saturday morning to jog and then go home and eat a smoothie that I made myself out of fresh fruit. I am in no way living the teenage life that I thought of a lot when I was younger, edited in my head so that it looks like a Sofia Coppola movie with all the haziness and the dreamy soundtrack. But I have impressed myself in more ways that I was expecting, and sometimes, in a world where we are taught to make ourselves smaller and where being comfortable in our own skin is branded as being "narcissistic," it's just nice to recognize that, and say that, "Yes, Beyoncé, I am happy with myself. Thank you very much."

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