Live Through This

Hail the Misprints

The world is basically a disaster area of people who have no idea what they’re doing.

Illustration by Ruby A.

The girl to my left picked at the skin on her index finger and sighed heavily. “I just feel like everyone on earth has a book on how to be normal, except for me,” she said.

The rest of us—eight girls sitting in a semi-circle in a cream-colored room with strategically calming lighting and inspirational quotes on the wall—nodded our heads in agreement. “I’ve said that like, a million times,” I said. That was a lie. It was probably closer to eight million.

I was 18, and it was the first time I’d stayed in a psychiatric hospital. Group therapy was a morning requirement—the eight of us had to meet up every day at 10 AM to “process our feelings,” which is hospital-speak for taking all of the scribbles you’d typically put in your journal and letting them escape your mouth instead. We spent a lot of time talking about “normal people,” and how they had it so easy, how they never had trouble eating, or sleeping, or talking to others, or going outside, or looking at windows without wanting to fling themselves through the glass. It felt like “normal people” had been given a gift to help them get through life without ever messing things up, like they had been born with The Manual of How to Be Normal preloaded in their brains. Meanwhile, we were adrift without instruction.

When it was my turn to speak, I always said the same thing: “I just feel defective. I wish I knew how to fix everything.” After I left that room, I repeated that line in other rooms, to other ears, many times over many years. I was always looking for an easy answer and a magical key to living like the rest of the world.

What I wanted was The Manual of How to Be Normal. What I ended up with was a Manual of How to Be Myself.

***

It often seems like everyone has an opinion on how to get you from eighth grade to college the “normal” way, as if life is a perfectly choreographed parade of milestones: marching bands playing the “important” songs you’re supposed to hear; a float covered in tampons to celebrate your first period; a sad-looking giant beer bottle and his girlfriend, the giant bong, being led down the street in handcuffs by policemen with stern expressions; clowns tossing condoms to the crowd while you wave from a shiny red car with a banner reading “Coughlin Chevrolet Congratulates Sally On Responsibly Losing Her Virginity!” The whole thing ends with the Chevy fake-crashing into a Styrofoam wall to demonstrate the dangers of texting while driving, while a storm cloud spells out “STUDENT LOAN DEBT HA HA” in neatly timed bursts of lightning. Congratulations, you’re now an adult!

Have you ever met someone who seems like they’ve turned their life into a checklist of milestones? It’s usually the girl at camp who has FBI-esque background files on every person she’s ever kissed, or the people who always knew the statistics on average age of virginity loss (even boys who are terrible at math are Stephen Hawking when it comes to this shit), how often people got high and still got into Ivy League schools, or the person who puts some arbitrary age on the “appropriate” time to do things because they’re convinced that certain things should be done by a certain time.

These people are everywhere, and they are exhausting. In middle and high school, my idea of “normal” was shaped by their expectations, their gossip, and the countless stupid movies about having to lose your virginity before going to college, because if you don’t, your genitals will turn into a giant, rabid seagull and kill everyone in North America.

In middle school, I bought into the idea that there was such a thing as doing “the right thing” at “the right time,” and felt awful about being behind. Everyone seemed to get their first periods, their first boyfriends/girlfriends, first kisses, first hangovers, first EVERYTHINGS, before I’d even figured out that sex was technically more than making out without clothes on. They all seemed to know how to move their bodies in a different way; how to dance, how to walk, how to flick the ash from a cigarette, how to apply makeup without looking like Homer Simpson set the makeup gun to “whore.” Everything seemed to come so easily to everyone else, and I couldn’t figure out how I’d missed out on those instincts. Even the simplest things, like talking to people at parties, seemed impossible to me. I was paralyzed by the radio constantly blaring panicked thoughts in my mind, and all of the platitudes adults offered (“You’ll know when you’re ready”; “It gets easier”) sounded like total bullshit to me.

In order to handle all of this pressure and confusion, I spent years wearing clothes I thought would help me fit in, using a “social voice” (think: fake-happy salesperson at the mall), and studying TV to get a better sense of how people communicated with one another (this essentially turned me into a demented sitcom character whenever I left my house). I just wanted to act like everyone else—or at least the way I thought everyone else acted. I worried about doing everything the wrong way, about screwing up my entire life with a single decision. If things didn’t go perfectly, I freaked out, thinking that I’d thrown a wrench into my future or missed out on some major life experience. I would get stuck in patterns that only increased my anxiety and depression. My life was defined by three major phrases: “I should have,” “I’m supposed to,” and “I’ll never.” When I applied for college, I didn’t get into my first choice (like millions of other people), and I legitimately thought my life was over (it wasn’t). I felt unequipped to answer the questions that swirled in my mind. The manual that I’d been given was clearly not a Manual on How to Be Normal—it was an edition filled with misprints and unreadable instructions that I kept ignoring, cluttered with words like “relax,” “let go,” and “breathe” that couldn’t register in my brain.

What I didn’t realize then is that most of life is like your 17th birthday—the moment that just kind of happens between “major” milestones. When you’re 16, you can drive a car! When you’re 18, you can buy cigarettes and porn and fight a war and vote! When you’re 17, you can be the subject of creepy ’80s songs by old dudes, and who cares about that? Nobody makes a big deal out of your 17th birthday (I guess everyone figures you’re already sneaking into R-Rated movies).

Seventeen is the lull between milestone birthdays, but that doesn’t make it any less important or special. The most exciting things usually happen when we aren’t forced to make a giant deal about them. You can’t guilt yourself into having fun.

I spent so many years in cream-colored rooms trying to do just that. But if you put all of your energy into trying to do things the way you think you should, you end up missing all of the things that make your life unique, the tiny, beautiful sentences that combine to form your story. Eventually I figured out that the parts of myself I was trying to hide and change were the parts that I liked the most; my hypersensitivity to everything from lights to sounds to people’s feelings, the way I tend to think in pictures, and the fact that I have to daydream a little bit before I can say exactly what I mean aren’t negatives; they are assets that give me a unique perspective on the world.

Believing in a Manual of How to Be Normal was my way of dismissing people I didn’t understand. I realize now that everyone’s brain comes with a different set of instructions, and everyone’s idea of normal exists only in their eyes. If I could travel back in time and tell my 13-year-old self anything, it would probably be that the world is basically a disaster area of people who have no idea what they’re doing. Everyone just wants to do things “the right way,” even though no one really agrees on what that is. Now I can see that “normal” is just in my head: for all I know, everyone else is sitting around wondering why they can’t do this or that, trying to correct the misprints in their own personal editions.

I’ve come to appreciate the unpredictable messiness of the manual in my brain. I still have trouble feeling comfortable in many situations—mostly social ones. But even when I’m struggling, I just remind myself that as soon as you let go of the idea of trying to fit some kind of ideal, as soon as you stop comparing yourself with everyone else and focus on what you want to do instead of what you’re expected to do, it gets easier to ignore that voice that keeps telling you you’re missing something, or you’re too late, or you’re not smart/beautiful/charming enough. And then one day you will realize that you don’t need someone else’s Manual of Normal. Because you’ve been going by your own book all along. ♦

50 Comments

  • isobele July 5th, 2012 7:08 PM

    this is great! I get so stressed about my birthdays, because I feel like im supposed to have fun and do something ‘cool’, that im not actually able to enjoy it half the time.

    http://seesusiebean.blogspot.co.uk/

    • BritishFish August 8th, 2012 2:43 AM

      Exact same feeling over here. I turn 19 in September and that feels like the most awkward age of all.

  • jenaimarley July 5th, 2012 7:15 PM

    This is beautiful.
    I’m seventeen right now and I feel like it is so true, a great number of my “firsts” have actually taken place this year during this liminal stage of growth and development (the in-between always seems to put less pressure on us and lets us feel safest and free to explore and be ourselves).

    Thank you.

  • katrinaexplainsitall July 5th, 2012 7:28 PM

    I love the illustration. Also, this is a really great article. I’ve always wanted to feel “normal” and have only just realized that there’s really no such thing, and I think the Manual of how to be yourself is a much better investment than the manual of how to be normal.

    http://www.katrinaspice.blogspot.com

  • maren July 5th, 2012 7:42 PM

    WOW, this is exactly how i feel. i used to (and still often) feel like there are certain secret social rules for situations/conversations etc that everyone agrees on, and i would constantly do the wrong thing, and beat myself up about it. i’m really getting better though at being less scared by everything, esp people. thankyou so much for writing this <3 <3 <3

  • Tara July 5th, 2012 7:43 PM

    brilliantly written. pixie, you have such a way with words. this moved me and I definitely relate to the struggling-to-beat-expectations-and-ideals

  • nickz July 5th, 2012 7:44 PM

    This article is so heartwarming and so well written it really resonates with how I feel about my teenage life(btw I am 17).I think everyone should experience the big steps in life at their own pace.I get so worked up sometimes about the things I am supposed to do as a teenager and the advice you are giving about doing what you want to do not what you are expected is really one of the best ones I was given as a teenager.

    http://rightrough.blogspot.ie/

  • laurelbird July 5th, 2012 7:47 PM

    How does Rookie always magically post articles that directly relate to my life at the moment?? This is beautiful! Thank you

  • nicole12 July 5th, 2012 7:48 PM

    this made me cry. thank you, i needed this.

  • Limey July 5th, 2012 7:48 PM

    Thank you so much for this article. After it, I reread http://rookiemag.com/2011/10/ghost-rider/

    Both of them really hit me hard. I think I’m struggling with OCD but I’m not completely sure. I do things like checking sinks over and over before leaving the house. I have to allow an extra 5 minutes for my “rituals” which are essentially checking doors/sinks/stoves/ovens over and over.

    “I’d spend hours at night reciting special sayings over and over until I got them right, for fear that if I didn’t, terrible things would happen.” I never knew that people did this, too. I do this when I’m saying bye to people. I’m always afraid that if I don’t stick to the ritual I’ve made, something bad will happen.

    Since I was 7, I’ve had a combination of these rituals and worrying. I still do. I can’t really go to parties because I worry about how I’m going to get home and everything like that. I think I made my rituals to control my worrying, like, if I do them and something bad happens it’s not my fault.

    I’m not really sure where this comment is going, but I’m so thankful to you for showing me that I’m not the only person who goes through this. I’m going to try “exposure and ritual prevention” and I hope I can eventually overcome my OCD, or whatever it is.

    Thanks

    • zoeah July 6th, 2012 8:03 AM

      The rituals thing…

      Its been the same for me since i could remember. I used to get so anxious about everything. It was a weird combination of my inner personality- which is sensitive, spontaneous, disorganised- and the outer shell of OCD and anxiousness. My rituals and anxiety used to get so bad that i developed insomnia, making me late for school and turning me into a zombie throughout the day. I used to feel as if everyone i loved’s safety depended entirely on how many times i closed the door etc. I was terrified of going out at night, scared I wouldnt find a way home, or that i wouldnt have enough stuff with me, so I’d always overpack, or cancel completely. And then I’d feel lonely, weird and depressed.

      This year, my 17th, i decided to tackle it head on. I started to go out, without knowing where i was staying exactly. I began packing light for everything. I stopped caring about milestones and when i was supposed to reach them. I began to feel free.

      When you decide to face it all, and let go of the control you think you have, its scary as hell at first. But then the rituals become less meaningful. You realise you have no power over the safety of others. You realise that you can feel safe, grounded and ok wherever you are, by centering your power in yourself. You are the only one you have control over.

      I hope you overcome it, I really do. I’ve still got sleeping problems, and little rituals- but they don’t get in the way of the person i want to be, anymore. And if they do, I let them go.

      • Limey July 8th, 2012 11:14 PM

        I’m turning 17 in a month and a half and I’m off to college in a year. I want to set a goal for myself, like being “cured” by the time I leave for college. I think I have to trust myself and trust that things will work out.
        Thanks for your reply, it’s really touching and inspiring to hear that others have pushed through this odd condition.

  • kimberleighrc July 5th, 2012 7:57 PM

    This article is amazing. Although I’m past the point of many of those firsts, this message still resonates with me very much and you communicate clearly a message that is so often overplayed in cheesy “what-makes-you-different-makes-you-beautiful” terms. Thank you.

  • ellieks July 5th, 2012 8:15 PM

    Pixie, I have read and reread your Ghost Rider article over & over, questioned and requestioned the depression & anxiety that I know my mind is plagued with, & your stories are always so genuine and relatable, and I really really appreciate that. Although I am well aware that so many other people suffer in silence of depression, it can be isolating knowing that others can view the world in an (unfamiliar to me) unfiltered & steady mindset. I remember, towards the end of this school year, I had a discussion with a good friend of mine about everything–about the world, our minds, depression, mostly depression, and I said to him, “The mind is a scary thing.” And he said to me, “Only if your trapped inside alone.” It was such a reassurance, in a way similar to how your writings can soothe my mind, that maybe even though the depression alters my view of the world, I know that it is something about myself that would be difficult to do without.

  • runningfilm July 5th, 2012 8:19 PM

    I turned 17 two months ago (to the day!), and everything you said was true. I wouldn’t describe it like awkward, or uncomfortable- just kind of complacent. I’ve spent my fair share of time in cream colored rooms, except mine were usually dim, dark rooms with scratchy armchairs.

  • attackeddd July 5th, 2012 8:31 PM

    this is so wonderful! I’ve also been thinking “i need to drink, i need to smoke, i need to hook up with boys blah blah blah” just so my life looks good in my head y’know, and i haven’t really been living it.

  • aliceee July 5th, 2012 8:49 PM

    I’m seventeen & this is pretty much exactly how I think. I worry about what I should be doing & get frustrated at how I seem to just not have the “normal” instincts or interests people have… I’m much happier when I just act how I want & do what I want, but sometimes it can still be really hard.

  • Moxx July 5th, 2012 9:11 PM

    I love the things you write!

    I can definitely relate to how people tell you stuff like “just relax” and “it’ll come naturally” and it feels like utter bullshit… For being stressed about social interaction and presenting things you made to other people and any sort of thing where you’re afraid that people will reject you or think you suck at what you do, there was this one piece of advice someone gave that I thought was really true: pretend you’re someone who can do this, who knows how to do this, who knows how to do this well.
    Maybe you’re afraid your English teacher will think your poem sucks. You like it, you think it’s good, but as soon as you realize you have to give it in, OH NO IT SUCKS. Pretend you’re someone who writes great poems that are amazing and beautiful. Just pretend.
    Or if you’re at a party and have no idea what to do and just stand awkwardly in the middle of the room. Pretend you’re a very social person who knows exactly how to talk to people at parties and does this all the time.
    At the Rookie meetup, I got there and felt like NO EVERYONE IS GOING TO BE COOL AND THINK I SUCK and I walked around awkwardly for a while until I pretended I was a social genius and went up to someone and stuck out my hand and said “Hi I’m Marie!”. I know it’s so cliché but it felt great! And the person was really nice and the whole afternoon was fun and I wasn’t even shy! And I used to get dizzy every time I said something to someone. Pretending to know what you’re doing (for some stuff) can help.

    It works for me and doesn’t feel fake, so I thought I’d share it.

    • Moxx July 5th, 2012 9:24 PM

      P.S. There goes my pseudonym oopslol

      Also, I remember who said this: it was Neil Gaiman.

      I found the speech it comes from!:

      http://www.uarts.edu/neil-gaiman-keynote-address

      Actually, he doesn’t exactly say that in the speech, now that I’ve listened to it again. I think it’s just something I’ve extracted from it, mostly. I still think it’s a good thing, though, and I still love this speech. Love love love

      • Pashupati July 6th, 2012 8:53 PM

        And there was a Rookie article giving a very similar advice: http://rookiemag.com/2012/05/fake-it-make-it/
        Well, you may not care about it but from reading your comments I think you’re cool. Not that a stranger’s opinion should influence how you see yourself or anything. Just saying. God, now it’s awkward, what have I said? :D

  • resonance July 5th, 2012 10:03 PM

    My life was defined by three major phrases: “I should have,” “I’m supposed to,” and “I’ll never.”

    I love this part because I can relate to it so well. I felt this way a lot when I was in my early to mid-teens, and it prevented me from doing some of the things that would have made me happy/happier. I still feel this way sometimes, but it doesn’t overshadow my life the way that it used to; it just took several years for me to get to this point.

    Thank you for writing something so relatable, Pixie. This is great writing. :)

  • Muna July 5th, 2012 10:28 PM

    This article is so perfect in so many ways!
    I totally agree that everyone feels the need to “fit in”, to be “normal” and just to be accepted by others. What we shouldn’t forget is that people (EVERYONE. Really.) tries to conceal their insecurities because we think that if we don’t, then we will just be seen like total freaks, and never fit in, and just be total losers AND never make our parents proud.
    So thank you, thank you, thank you for this article ! :)

  • pixie pop July 5th, 2012 11:32 PM

    Thank you so much for writing this! It means so much to me, and I cried the whole time I was reading your article. I always feel like I am not doing “teenagery” things, like going to the beach with a bunch of friends or going to parties or dating and going to school dances. Everyone else seems to know how to go about being the perfect teenager and I feel like I am years behind. Sometimes I freak out over the fact I don’t always “hang out” with my friends and I feel pressured to do so, even though I usually enjoy spending time alone. Even reading Rookie makes me stressed out sometimes, because there are articles talking about all the great experiences the contributors had as teens, and I haven’t or wouldn’t even enjoy doing those things. I can’t emphasize enough how much this means to me!

    • TheGreatandPowerfulRandini July 6th, 2012 6:16 AM

      Same. It gets to the point where I get kind of happy when I’m acting whiny with my parents, because I feel like a normal teenager.

  • La Fille July 5th, 2012 11:48 PM

    This was exactly what I needed to hear today. I often struggle with not feeling normal, but I’ve eventually realized that no one really is normal. We all have our pasts, no matter how we appear to be on the outside. When I was little, I often believed that I would become wise and benevolent and all-knowing as an adult, but when I got older and started to realize the parents and relatives I idolized had their own problems they hid beneath a brave surface, I realized that nothing was wrong with me either and I was a unique human being like everyone else.
    No one is really beyond destiny or beneath it.

  • Isabellla July 6th, 2012 12:08 AM

    My life was defined by three major phrases: “I should have,” “I’m supposed to,” and “I’ll never.”

    I think so many people feel this way…like life is a chore or something. This story really meant a lot to me considering I am going through a similar thing so thank you very much!

    http://bell–shire.blogspot.com.au/

  • ahappyyeti July 6th, 2012 12:14 AM

    I couldn’t agree more with this.
    I have the exact same thoughts!
    Glad to see sooo may other people think the same way!

  • Harley July 6th, 2012 12:34 AM

    Thank you so much for this. All of my friends have their shit together and can naturally pass as “normal”. (Whatever that means).
    I struggle so much with being organized so I always get freaked out when people tell me that I seem really put-together. I know it’s a compliment but it freaks me out because I don’t believe it, I feel so messed up in the head. Thank you for sharing and letting us know that it’s okay to be confused.

  • bunny2015 July 6th, 2012 1:10 AM

    I needed this. I needed this so much and I don’t have the strength to say why but I am so thankful that you wrote this.

  • Lillypod July 6th, 2012 4:22 AM

    this is so beautifully written and so, so true.
    i think about this a lot…the thing about “milestones” has ALWAYS irritated me….it assumes everybody is the same and living the same life. It is the very definition of conformity.

  • vanguardinspace July 6th, 2012 11:19 AM

    Pixie, hank you so much for writing this, it is really the story of my life, and I have tears in my eyes as I write this.
    I too wish I could speak to my thirteen-year-old (or twelve-year old) self, and tell her that there’s nothing wrong with preferring books to magazines, not liking jeans and being more interested in acting goofy with friends than meeting boys behind school buildings. I wish I could tell her that she is beautiful, and that her twiggy thighs are not “fat,” and that even if they were, it wouldn’t make her any less of a worthwhile and amazing person. I wish I could tell her to choose to be friends with the people that accept her for that she is (and doesn’t want to be,) rather than constantly trying to change to be accepted by people that will never accept her anyway.
    I came to the realization this year that I was depressed and anxious because I didn’t know who I was, what I thought, or what I liked; because I had spent so much time basing my identity on what is supposedly “normal”– a concept that I now know is quite meaningless.
    Thanks in part to Rookie, I actually feel like I am alive now. I feel like a real person instead of a shell of one, a human rather than an impostor on earth. I am developing my own tastes, my own ideas, and not giving them up to please other people. And thus, I am connecting with so many people on a deeper level, and finding kindred spirits in so many places. What is the Kurt Cobain quote? “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are.” Truer words…

  • Tini July 6th, 2012 2:43 PM

    Thank you so much for this article. While it was amazing in itself, it also led me to the Neil Gaiman speech that Moxx posted the link to and that speech led me to write a really important diary entry that made me realise a few things that might help me overcome some of my problems and stop holding myself back.

    Which led me to write this comment – I have been reading rookie since the beginning and have been to shy too even comment because everything I write sounds stupid to me and because my English is imperfect. Now I’m really excited to finally participate instead of just lurk around.

    Thank you again!

  • Mayabett July 6th, 2012 2:55 PM

    Fabulous. People are always talking about when is the right time to achieve “milestones.” As in, # is too old for a first kiss, you’re still a virgin and you’re #?
    What BS. C’mon people. Live at your own pace. I hate pressure to “get things done.” Don’t pressure other people and try not to let theirs get to you.

  • SarahCat July 6th, 2012 3:23 PM

    I can relate to this so much. I remember being 13 and being so panicked that I didn’t yet have a boyfriend like all the other girls. Now, I’m seventeen; I’ve still yet to have a boyfriend. Those girls are all out drinking while I sit with my friends and play board games. I’m really happy with this! It took me a long time to distinguish between expectations of teen life, and what I actually enjoy.

  • radiofireworks July 6th, 2012 4:23 PM

    Wow. This was – I could have written this, every word of it. And I wish so hard that I’d had this to read a few years ago.

    I cannot even count the amount of times I have collapsed in a panic attack saying over and over again, “I’m broken, I’m broken. There is something defective inside me.” It got so bad that at one point I managed to convince myself that I was actually not human, that I was from some other planet, some kind of mutant life form not meant for this earth, this society.

    Thankfully I don’t feel that way anywhere near as much anymore, but it’s taken me ten years to get to that point. I really hope I don’t sound patronising here, but I desperately hope some of Rookie’s younger readers (I’m making myself sound like a grandma here, I’m actually only 23!) read this and take it to heart – or hell, that the older ones do too, because it’s such an important message. No one has it figured out. Everyone has damage. There are probably people who think your life is great and theirs is terrible, and they’re probably the same people you envy.

  • darksideoftherainbow July 6th, 2012 4:51 PM

    thank you for this. socially, i’m a mess and i remedy that with alcohol. it works but in the end, it doesn’t make me feel any better. it’s not so much knowing that normal doesn’t really exist, it’s more working and achieving being your true self. it’s a struggle and it’s difficult, but i work hard at it everyday.

  • cami8 July 6th, 2012 7:09 PM

    this is such a great article! I specially loved the last paragraph… i always give more importance to what im expect to do and what others will think about me and my desitions rather than just caring about what i want.

  • taste test July 7th, 2012 12:02 AM

    this is an amazing article. I have seriously read it like five times over the past couple days. when you said you feel like everyone else received some kind of handbook of normal that you never did, you’re saying something that I’ve thought almost word-for-word so, so many times. as much as I know the whole concept of a universal Life Timeline is bullshit, it’s hard to think “WELL I’M UNIQUE AND I GO AT MY OWN PACE” and stay confident when it seems like everyone I know has it all figured out and I just keep fucking things up. surely they’ve all made idiotic mistakes too, but when? where? out of public view? anyway. I think I’ll be rereading this article a lot more times, too.

  • Flavia July 7th, 2012 9:05 AM

    Beautiful and really interesting!!!

  • Maradoll Mynx July 7th, 2012 3:03 PM

    I want to THANK YOU so very much for posting these beautiful words. I can’t tell you how much it pangs me constantly comparing myself to other people; trying to keep control over my anxiety (being aware of it can strangely make it worse for me at times~ugh); and just feeling somehow out of place. The reminders in this article that these feelings are all a part of what makes me unique is such a consolation and a comfort. Please keep it coming; there is no other place on earth where anyone has ever acknowledged these issues and spoken so frankly about them; let alone offering words of comfort. I’m going back for a second reading now, and I’m sure it will be the first of many :) Thanks again.

  • steph.anie11 July 8th, 2012 12:58 AM

    so very well done. i could really relate and am definitely going to look back on this.

  • sully-bean July 8th, 2012 3:23 PM

    I’m totally bookmarking this. It’s perfect. Thank you, so so so so so much. <3

  • shjaron July 9th, 2012 9:39 PM

  • GlitterKitty July 9th, 2012 10:20 PM

    This is so perfect. I feel like every 13 year old should read this. I often feel like a loser for not having kissed a guy or gone to parties but this makes me feel better about it.

  • Cecily July 10th, 2012 8:45 AM

    Reading your article made me realize (again) that there is at least one fantastic advantage to being a grown-up (I’m 39): The older you get, the less worried you are about what other people might think of you. You are so much more relaxed and realize that you are the best judge of yourself. It’s true. Something to look forward to.

  • Serena.K August 2nd, 2012 3:56 PM

    i absolutely loved this and could completely relate. i especially loved the second-to-last paragraph; it’s basically my outlook on life. also this part:

    “In order to handle all of this pressure and confusion, I spent years wearing clothes I thought would help me fit in, using a “social voice” (think: fake-happy salesperson at the mall), and studying TV to get a better sense of how people communicated with one another (this essentially turned me into a demented sitcom character whenever I left my house).”

    it’s comforting to know other people have done that, too. i’m slowly trying to stop and focus on being myself.

    thanks for writing this, one of the best things i’ve read on rookie! <3

  • moonlightwrite3 August 31st, 2012 12:28 PM

    Oh my oh my oh my.

    Words cannot express how grateful I am for this article. It’s like you spoke EVERYTHING that I’ve been tormenting myself with for so long.

    Your Ghost Riders article also had the same effect.

    I don’t really know what to say; I’m stunned that there are other people that have felt just as I do.

    We are not alone.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  • AlisonR October 21st, 2012 8:08 PM

    this is so good. thank you. i love this. be me=life mantra.

  • Irisablack October 22nd, 2012 6:56 AM

    I was literally just thinking about this today. I was at school feeling sorry for myself, listening to all the recounts of adventures that happened over the weekend that i wasnt involved in. This is why love rookie you are like the cool aunt that always knows what to say =)