When I was little, I would look up to the bigger girls who knew where they were going and what they were doing. They just looked like they had everything figured out. That was my idea of what it meant to be all grown up. It wasn’t until I started college that I began to understand what that truly meant.
Freshman year was rough for me. It was hard when things didn’t work out the way I wanted them to. It was even harder to ignore the discouragement, get up, and try something different. Adding to the equation was my habit of blaming the external world for my failures. The one glimmer of hope in my unhealthy viscous cycle was chance and luck. I hated feeling absolutely powerless over my life. I felt like I was being dragged around to places I didn’t want to go, but had no say in. I wanted so badly to be those girls who were the bosses of their own lives.
In my frustration, I would blame my mom. Since I was little, my mom has been struggling with depression. Her insecurity would bleed into our mother-daughter relationship and end up poisoning everything. I remember envying my friends whose mothers were so loving and nurturing. The resentment I carried resulted in a warped understanding of my reality. Because my mom failed in the art of motherhood, I had never been given the abilities and nurturing I needed to succeed in life. Consequently, I thought I would never be able to succeed.
My perspective soon changed. That’s when I knew for certain I was growing up— I took full responsibility for my own shortcomings! I realized that yes, there are a lot of conditions that aren’t fair in life. But I can either let life take over me, or come around and take over life. And the “taking over life” part starts with facing myself head on— no matter how hard that may be—so that I can build myself up.
I think I finally get why “the bigger girls” walked with such a bold step, so sure of themselves. They were the ones who grew up. They looked in the opposite direction: inward. As for me, I think I’m on my way to being the captain of my ship, just like them. Because, for the first time, I am my own compass.