It’s the pixie cut you get when you don’t want anyone to think they know you, to think they’ve boxed you up and stored you away on a shelf. It’s the music you turn up, loud, to drown out the silent dying of your own world. It’s the alcohol you experiment with when there’s nothing else to do and it’s just . . .there. It’s the language you use when you don’t want people to think you’re Bojey or a goodie-goodie or even when you’re heated and trying to get the upper-hand in a blazing argument. It’s the old pictures of yourself that never see the light of day because that’s when you were that girl or that boy. It’s the girl you refer to as Vegetable Lasagna to your friends and have a good laugh. . . when in reality she’s everything you’re not. It’s the lies you feed yourself to stay on the surface, never going there. It’s the versions of yourself you store deep down, the rawness that you glamorize, the you that you run from.
It’s human nature. We’re all running from something, all trying to be someone else, all trying to squeeze ourselves into roles that aren’t meant for us.
As girls, especially, so much of what we learn is how to be someone else, to undo ourselves and redo ourselves over. No one wants to be the clingy girlfriend or the overly emotional girl or the girly girl or the know-it-all girl. We’re so caught up in who not to be that we wind up being these unsettled, guarded individuals rather than the beautifully messy, unique individuals we are.
I’ll be the first to raise my hand to tell you, if nothing else, the game doesn’t work. You can run, but you can’t hide. I learned this the hard way today: you have a funny way of catching up with uh. . .you. And if something feels wrong for you, it probably is.
Today was the day I gave up a dream opportunity and it was the kind that could have been taken straight out of my imagination. I had these grand ideations of traveling and learning and writing about my experiences and I found a way to make it happen.
See, God? I’ve got this. Uh. . .God?
It wasn’t right and I knew that. Traveling was this puzzle piece that I wanted so badly to fit, no matter what else God may have had for me. And maybe it will fit someday. . .but maybe it’s a center piece and I’m still working on the framework. Maybe I am meant to travel and do all the things this opportunity provided, but this wasn’t my stop. Nevertheless. . .I’ve spent the last 4 months turning it round and round in my hands, wanting it to be mine. Nevertheless. . .today was spent in emotional decision-making and listening to ‘Shake It Off’ a solid twenty times and driving all over, anxiety-driven and tearful.
When I say I gave up a dream today, the reality is that I stopped running today. I told God I was sorry today. And that He was right.
I learned that it’s okay to be Amanda. It’s okay to not fit into this adventurous, hipster motif. It’s okay to be in Greenville right now and it’s okay to not have it all together. It’s okay to be 23. It’s okay to be a writer and not much more.
And you out there, you lovely runner. Stop running. I’ll repeat it a thousand times if I need to. Stop. Running. Turn around. Head towards the nearest metaphorical mirror, or a literal one if that’s your scene, and look yourself dead in the face. Deal with yourself.
Be the weird, deep girl who asks theological questions on dates. Be the dreamer. Be the messy, emotional girl. Be the obese girl.
Be the complex, sensitive guy who enjoys wearing scarves. Be the guy who makes C’s in school.
At the end of the day, I guarantee you will regret the battles you forfeited because you were too busy running. Stop running.
Stay. Fight your battles. Let them mold you. And then let them go.