I’m not sure why I do this anymore. I don’t understand what inside of me allows it to happen despite knowing that it is detrimental to my health. And I’m not sure why I even drive myself to feel guilt about it anymore, because it is something that I am so obviously against changing. I have told myself for years that I don’t need this in my life, but there is something in me that won’t allow its release from my clutch. There is an overwhelming part of me that is ashamed of my habit and seeks to hide the truth of how I operate from others, but there is an instinctual part of me that wants to forever keep this dirty secret. The truth is that it is no secret at all and I wear my brand boldly in the face of those who don’t know me. With the anonymous mask of being another face in the crowd that no one recognizes, I practice my habits freely and detrimentally. Without the guilt of being known as someone with promise and potential, I am free to indulge in the practices that make me less capable. To the passing stranger I am just another person practicing bad habits, but to anyone who knows me I am killing myself slowly and deliberately. The reflection in my mirror does not show the truth of what I am putting myself through. It does not reflect the mental torture I wake up with. And it does not show me that there is something more to me to be valued. What is doesn’t show is my mind. I can see that I am a healthy looking twenty-seven year old with physical features that are applauded in beauty magazines. I see that I am skinny and frail with just a thin layer of muscle and strength to keep it all together. And I plainly see that I am just human. What I can’t see it the tar that fills my lungs and the damage I have inflicted on my liver. In my reflection I can’t see the person I am with a spliff in my hand constantly and a mind that is being under used. I can’t see the mind that I know to be strong and the heart that dares to dream. My reflection fails to show me the struggle I am experiencing internally, and proves to me that I am simply just another human. So as I look myself in the mirror this morning, I wonder who is this person looking back at me? How did they obtain my face? And is this someone I can truly trust? Who have I become? And how did I age so quickly? Because in my eyes I am still just the timid age of five, mute and observant, taking in all the life threw in my face. I am just a girl who is looking for someone to hold my hand while I cross the street into new territory. And I am just a child who is lost and searching for a place to call my own in this world. I don’t believe that I am the woman who is looking back at me in the mirror. And I don’t feel like I embody this aging body. I can’t see myself as a tall, sexy woman when I feel so very much like a still maturing child. When did my hair get so long? And when did I start needing makeup to cover bags under my eyes? Since when did I feel that I could wear lingerie? And why is my closet full of anything but princess costumes? When did I receive so much responsibility that it makes my shoulders visibly sag with the weight? And how have I aged into this crippled old woman? I don’t recognize the person I see myself to be, and I don’t see the same image that others catch of me. I don’t understand the impression I make on others and I wish that I didn’t make any impression at all, because I can’t explain where the person they see comes from. Because I don’t know who they even see in the first place.
Someone lied to me. I was led to believe that college would prepare me for life. I was told that that piece of paper that I worked so hard to obtain would open doors for me and allow me to get my foot in. It was conveyed to me that college would teach me life skills and that once I made it through the shit show of four years I would know how to live like an adult. And someone allowed me to believe that that someone else could hand me all of the answers. I trusted in an institution and I had faith in an organized approach with clearly outlined steps. I had to take certain classes to advance onto other ones, I was allowed to develop my own schedule and I squeezed in time at work whenever I could. I participated in an internship that humbled my ego and taught me the meaning of hard and unrewarding work. And I studied abroad to take in other cultures and learn a different way to approach life. I valued every learning experience I had during those four years and clung to them as i was told these experiences would get me through the rest of my life. But someone had lied to me — and although those years built a foundation of knowledge and experience, they were nothing in comparison to what experiencing life had to teach me.
These are the times that I live for. These are the moments that make life worth living. This is my time to shine. And this is my opportunity to accept life and make it my own. This must be what every twenty something feels like, and this must be the inspiration that moves a nation. This must be what gets people by. And this must be what everyone is waiting for. But the question remains, is that what I was looking for?
The dog from his past had returned to haunt him. He never really chose the company of this forced friend and when he arrived in his life he had no choice but to accept him. He always played nice enough with the annoying little dog, and treated him like the little brother he neither had nor wanted. Continue reading