Disclaimer: This story is not intended to take away from anyone or put anyone in a bad light.. People experience different traumas that affect them all differently. But this is my life and my truth and I share because it helps me and I hope it can help others.
You know the episode of Modern Family where they’re all trying to get to Manny’s birthday dinner and Manny is trying to be a child again because Jay implied he was never a kid? Well…
It was a couple of weeks ago when my boyfriend and I were talking about memories from high school. We didn’t go to the same school or have the same friends, so it was our individual experiences. When he was talking about his memories I suddenly got anxiety. I couldn’t relate to any of his stories. He had stories, experiences, and friends from high school that he was still friends with. He got to be a teenager, not that his life was easy. He had his own challenges, but that’s not what this is about. I wasn’t able to be a teenager like him and all my friends. I suddenly felt alone and sad.
The next morning I woke up feeling horrible. I felt so sad and I couldn’t figure out why. I know it was triggered the day before. Sometimes you wake up anxious and/or sad and you don’t need to find a reason. But I knew there was something deeper there. It took hours for me to realize I was grieving. I was grieving the childhood I didn’t get to have and the memories I would never have. I was grieving for the little girl….
The little girl who watched her siblings play flash light tag with each other so excited to one day be old enough that her parents would allow her to play with them and by the time she got old enough her brothers and sister were moving out of the house and moving on with their lives. (I’m significantly younger than the rest of my siblings, if you don’t know.) I was grieving for the little girl who got ignored and closed out of her friend group in the neighborhood for reasons she would never know. So they all played and she stayed inside. I felt so sad for the teenager who pushed her middle school friends away because middle school friendships are drama filled and she didn’t know how to handle it, so when it came to high school she was alone. All she had was her online friends. She would talk to them everyday, and she had her first “serious” relationship that gave her constant anxiety because it wasn’t healthy, but it was consuming. While that’s happening her parents are getting a divorce and now she’s going back and forth between two houses and two parents who drink so they forget their problems for the evening.
The relationship she had ended and she would blossom and make friends, but she was still having trouble actually connecting to those friends because while they were mentally teenagers she was mentally older. After all, she only had herself and often children in her shoes had to grow up a little bit faster. So while they were talking about boys she felt disconnected from it all. She was trying to be a teenager. One of her friends started inviting everyone but her to parties. Why? She didn’t know. Maybe it’s because she just didn’t connect with them. It was no one’s fault that the connection wasn’t there, but it hurt her. They started having parties without her. So she made friends through work, all of her friends were typically older. She wouldn’t party with them, though, just work.
So not only was she pushed out of friend groups, when she tried to be a teenager she was belittled and guilted and shamed by her father. She couldn’t be a teenager. She wasn’t allowed. If she wanted to do stupid teenager stuff she knew she would be shamed and belittled for months.
By the time she was able to do her own thing, she didn’t have the desire to. She was settling down in a healthy relationship where neither of them wanted to party. But she still felt like the only stories she had from being a teenager were about her traumatic home life or her shitty high school relationships. Nothing fun. Nothing exciting.
I’m sad I don’t have stories like my piers. I’m jealous I didn’t get to make stupid and harmless decisions like them. I listen to my siblings tell me about the stupid things they did in high school, and I can’t relate at all. I wasn’t free to be a kid and make stupid decisions, I was forced to act like an adult from such a young age that by the time I was an actual adult I had no desire to party. I’m sad I wasn’t able to be a kid, but I can’t change that. So I grieved it. I felt sad for the little girl inside of me, and I let her know that it was okay. That she’ll make new memories. That she still has time to make new memories. Not those stupid teenager memories, but new fun memories.
I typed this blog out a few weeks ago but it was much longer. I ended up just typing everything that came to mind. It was so heavy that it took a while before I could come back and clean it up and make it make sense.
Thanks for reading 🙂