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The elephant in the room, addressed.

I bite my lip. Fidget around in my seat with my legs tucked into a vague lotus position.

Released a stifled coughed, scratch at the skin around a budding pimple and mentally cursing its appearance the day before Homecoming Weekend.

I shift uncomfortably. There is a sense of unease, a constant presence that weighs itself down upon my chest. I’m well aware of how to remove it, in fact I possess a manual that provides meticulous instruction on its removal. But I don’t use it, except to cast a cursory glance into the pages every now and then. Perhaps flip a page, engage long enough to lull the weight into a false sense of security, tricking it into believing that change was coming. But it wasn’t.

And even though I know what I should be doing, what I must be doing, I allow for time to lapse, only to look back in horror. It traps the oxygen into my lungs, asphyxiating me until visions of shattered glass, a painfully obvious metaphor for broken dreams, lines the bottom of my eyes.

There is no point in pretending there is potential. Potential exists so long as the individual is willing to earn it. There’s no coddling in adulthood, no parents to pat you lovingly on the back, reassuring you that there’s time, that you can do it if you try. It is the oddest feeling, the strangest sensation, this new life. Some seem to ease gracefully into the period after college, when true life begins. Others, many others like myself, only pretending.

“It’s true: we’re all a little insane.”

Adulthood is a sham. You never truly know what you’re doing. The fake it till you make it facade represents the entirely of one’s adult life. How is 23-year-old me any different from 18-year-ol me? Do I know more? Am I more conscious of my surroundings, can I say that I am more observant?

I’ll take a stab at defining this new life: it challenges your self discipline. You are no longer compelled to glide to and fro in accordance to a structure, a structure that you have practiced as long as you have been breathing. Schooling. Parenting. Rules. Repercussions.

You can do whatever you want now, and therein lies the truth: who have you been this whole time? A cog, following orders? Now that you have your own say, now that you can define who you really are with no constraints, does it scare you a little?

Yes, yes it does. It scares me. What if I have no idea what I’m doing?

What if I never did?

I came across an interesting AskReddit thread yesterday that posed the question: “If you could call yourself from five years ago and had 30 seconds, what would you say?”

A simple inquiry, but it haunted me: what would I say? Would 18-year-old Tania be proud of who she became today? There are some days, when the sun overhead matches the mood I am in, where I would confidently say, yes she would.

Those days don’t come by too frequently.

I can’t say whether this is a testament to confronting reality, and having the bubble finally burst. 2016 has been a year of changes, of hardship and guilt, and overall–growth. I have grown faster than I anticipated. It’s been a hard year. It will leave scars, both physical and invisible.

Sometimes, I cannot breathe. I want to be somebody, but these shackles won’t let me. Or maybe I just won’t let myself.

Cheers to disillusionment. In the meantime, how do I remember to breathe again?

 

 

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