Growing Up Emotionally Fast

I remember when I was young, I was never rebellious, just dumb. My friends did mature things that I was pretty naive to even though I was lowkey the equivalent of a horny teenage boy with no dick to stick in things. I learned about things through hours of sleepless nights on the internet. I didn’t learn much in real life.

While some of my friends were having sex at an early age, hanging out with older guys and smoking weed on the regular; I was just around. I didn’t get caught up in any of that. There were times I made embarrassingly terrible efforts to be sexy and failed miserably. Example: I wore a thong to class in ninth grade and almost gave myself a wedgie trying to show it off out of my jeans. Still, guys wouldn’t look at me. I was never the slutty one at parties. I only made out with everyone and then probably threw up somewhere later on in the night because I wasn’t very good at drinking either. I didn’t have sex until I was sixteen and I waited on purpose because that’s what teenage rom coms taught me was an appropriate age. I remember even calling a friend about it right after the guy left and being like yeaaaah, I did it. Because sex, amirite?

Fun fact: I had sex with the guy I lost my virginity like, eight or so years later. Nothing was like I remembered. It was pretty bad. I judged pretty hard. We never did it again. As a person, he was alright to me until he got weird/gross this year. I’ll respect on not getting into because he’s a newly father now………

I didn’t have a consistent adult figure to help me through life. Not even secondary like, a relative, teacher, mentor, etc etc. I had someone I viewed as an older sister when I was a kid but she passed away when I was thirteen. I lowkey had no one. It’s been weird trying to navigate life and raising myself mentally and emotionally. Especially since I’ve always been a bit of an idiot.

While I struggled with the confusions of growing up, I grew up emotionally faster than I was prepared for. I didn’t even know this was happening because I was just a kid. Reflecting as an adult, it explains why I was such an internalized mess for so long.

I have faint memories of being in a women’s shelter and the green pajamas with strawberry shortcake. This was one of my first real memories. I experienced death of others at a young age but dysfunctionally because most of the people I knew who died were young. It happened frequently enough while growing up that I had to accept it as something that was a part of life. I was too young to grasp the emotions of it properly. I took that into adolescence as well. I mean, I got sad but I never learned any grieving skills.

No one really took me seriously because of my parents and when I was young, I didn’t understand that either. I didn’t understand why the other kids in the Vietnamese community were so tight knit and I was such an outsider. I always felt like I never fit in. My dad used to try to beat the Vietnamese into me and my mum was the reason why we were so isolated so you can imagine how confusing that was for me. Nothing in my life made sense but because I was too young to understand, I didn’t really think much about it.

But I did know I felt bad things inside me that I couldn’t understand. I felt different but I didn’t know why. I had no one to talk to so I just kept it all inside. Getting yelled at or dismissed definitely helped with the internalizing. I wrote my thoughts out only to have my mum find them and when she could understand them, I’d get yelled at. Shame game was very real in how my life played out.

Though I didn’t understand, I had to cope. I had to cope with figuring out who I was while feeling like it was wrong to be me. I’d see happiness and connection around me but I couldn’t genuinely feel it myself. I was never jealous or bitter about it; there was just always this sad feeling that I couldn’t understand. I thought it was normal to feel the alienation, I think. At the time, I couldn’t tell what was from the trauma and what was part of growing up. They just seemed to blend together.

I didn’t tell many people about what was going on with me. I just acted like everything was okay. Partly to fit in, partly because I really, really wanted to be okay. I convinced myself enough that I was okay knowing I wasn’t. And just cool. I just wanted to be cool. Still waiting on that. But it gave me an understanding that I didn’t understand myself. I experienced things that people around me didn’t. I knew my upbringing wasn’t normal. Some people kind of knew but I spoke about it like a conversation not with any feelings. It was easier to pretend that I was normal too. I could always study how to be normal online while just pretending I was in my real life. I read obsessively about those who I looked up to and pretended this one message board was full of older siblings guiding me.

My lowkey coping and forced emotional growth kept me going through some of the darkest moments of my life. It caused an earnest in me that makes me more aware of the tough parts of life. I’m resilient for it but paired with my inability to think any better of myself, it caused for many, many messed up years. It kept my dumbass from feeling sheltered or entitled though because I didn’t ever feel important enough for that “privilege”. Because I never really acted out, I’d suffer quietly with occasional outbursts. I was innately attuned to my feelings but lacked the self-awareness to control them properly.

Growing up emotionally was my unintentional survival mode. Now as an understanding adult, it takes away the intensity of the shame I felt and the defectiveness I thought I was. Being able to share everything I thought I had to hide has helped me accept who I am more as a person now that I have less that I’m supposed to hide behind. I get to connect and feel the emotions I once wondered about. Maybe not to the level that I imagined but you know, I appreciate what I can feel. It’s allowing me to know what my actual emotions are and how to control them because I’m shedding the misunderstood ones away. I can understand what are sincere ones.

At almost thirty, my emotions are beginning to grow properly. They’re growing with me and with an awareness. Talking about it brings out the uncool feeling out of me because that’s how I feel with vulnerable shit but we’ll shed that.

Sept 17th, two years ago, last year & this year

On this day two years ago, I was in Winnipeg on a whirlwind trip that was less than 48 hours. I didn’t want to go. I ended up going because my ex at the time didn’t want to be away from me too long and was willing to fly me out. I voiced my hesitation but in the end, I went with his wishes because I wanted us to work and it would make him happy.

I had a miserable time there. I found out the life he told me and that I saw in Vancouver, was a different tale he told back at his home. His family life wasn’t as close as he made it out to be and he ignored me most of the time instead of introducing me to his friends as I thought he would. They asked me questions I didn’t know how to answer because it was different from what I was living with him back home. They didn’t even know of the person we were fighting about back home. I hated it there yet I tried so hard to convince myself that I could make this work. That I could make Winnipeg work. We had plans to get married. I was really stupid.

When that relationship ended, it was the crisis I needed to realize that shit needed to change, I needed to change. I made a promise to myself that I would work on myself. I didn’t keep that promise very well in the beginning. It was really tough but I kept trying.

This time last year, I started a new job that I couldn’t believe I even got. I had plans to quit my previous job just five days before but instead of two weeks notice, I was so fucking fed up, I made it effective immediately. I remember waking up the next day after I pulled that shit and going, what the fuck do I do now? I had nothing lined up and the reality of that hit me hard. But it was the beginning of me understanding faith. I told myself that if this was meant to be the right choice than something better was going to come along if I put in the work. So I hustled the fuck out of job hunting and then I got a better job.

This led me to take another step into the unknown a month later by saying fuck this to living any longer with my roommate at the time. It was something I should’ve done months ago but she convinced me rent was too high in Vancouver to live on my own and I didn’t believe myself an adult enough so I believed her instead. I snapped on that misery too and gave notice without even finding a place first. I put it in faith’s hands that there was better and I would find it. I found the place I’m currently at and at the time, even now, it’s right for me (even though the laundry is garbage). I got pretty lucky with the rent as well, to be honest, so there you have that.

Flash forward to today. My lease is up next month but I’m going to continue living here because, on my own, it’s good enough for me. It took a few months to build a home out of it but it’s been the first home I’ve ever felt since being on my own. It’s been a place I can have people over and feel comfortable about it. It’s got a welcoming and cozy vibe to it that I dig, that I set up. I actually don’t tend to have people over but the option is there when my place isn’t a complete mess.

I started a job a month ago that is what I’ve been looking for with a company that wanted me a year ago but I declined because they couldn’t offer what I wanted. It’ll be a job that I will either be valued at or will give me experience for a much better one a year from now. I finally feel a sense of responsibility and autonomy in a position for the first time in my life. It’s been a rocky road with jobs this year and employment but it’s recently beginning to find a steadier footing.

Two years ago, I was an emotional mess in a relationship with a guy I didn’t even really like. I started therapy because of him and I’m so grateful I did because my therapist opened my eyes to who he was and that I wasn’t crazy for my thoughts of him. It was hard coming to terms with how stupid I was and it wasn’t easy to genuinely forgive myself and believe that I wasn’t going to be the same stupid person. It didn’t help that for that year after I was still distracting myself with dating because I didn’t know how to use my time properly but it was the first time that I was attempting to try for myself.

A year ago, I was still a mess but this time a mess in my own space, on my own. I shed my miseries and only had myself and my own doubts to face. I had lived on my own before but I wasn’t ready at the time but this time I knew I was. I was more determined than ever to be my own person and attempted to bust my ass and was getting there, even though it was pretty poorly. I stopped distracting myself so much by filling my time with guys even though there was a couple I got attached to. Thankfully, I got over them and haven’t looked back since. I made the decision to put myself on anti-depressants to help keep the big emotions at bay while I tried to learn proper ones.

Today, I stand on my own two feet. Not alone, because I am blessed enough to have people who let me know I’m not alone, even when I feel the loneliest. I was in a relationship that I believed in too much but I’ve grown enough to not invest in it and move on for now, maybe forever. I’ve busted my ass off this year to get to where I am now. I worked through a death, a roofie incident and a somewhat emotionally abusive relationship. I made it through them and as I went through these things, I was still learning ways to take care of myself. I’m not as self-destructive as I used to be and I don’t think I ever will be that way to the level that I was again because I’ve learned to love myself.

Today, I see myself and have allowed others to see me. I don’t have that sense of isolation, hiding or invisibility anymore. I’m no longer on the anti-depressants because I’ve learned emotional regulation that I can handle on my own now. I still stumble but I don’t hide it anymore because I’ve learned to open up about it with people who remind me to be gentle instead of dismissive of me. I’m not as self-absorbed in my own issues now that I’ve learned to connect more with the world. I’ve come to accept the flaws of me and the parts of me that I thought would get rejected. I don’t distract myself with dating anymore because now that I’ve learned to make it something that I have a choice in, instead of something to fill my time and void, I’ve lost interest in trying. I’m happy doing my own thing and once I realized that loneliness was the driving force of it, and really recognize it without defensiveness, I was able to overcome it with the help of my friends.

Two years ago, I was in love with the wrong person and in the wrong place. Last year, I didn’t know what love was. This year, I found love in the right place and with the right people. It’s been a journey and I’m not there yet. I still fumble but I’m not as lost. I don’t downplay how far I’ve come because I acknowledge the amount of work I’ve put into where I am right now. I shed a lot of who I thought I was, who I used to be and old thought patterns and mindsets that were holding me back. I believe in the depths of me rather than thinking I’m deep down shallow because I’m not sophisticated.

Today, I look in the mirror and see who I am instead of confused at who’s looking back at me.

 

 

 

The Tackiness of Emotional Ignorance

Sure, it’s bliss for some people but it’s a headache for those they come in contact with. It can be uncomfortable because you’re dealing with someone who reacts off assumptions and acts in the moment without the perspective to think it further. There’s no awareness to see past themselves so there is a disconnect for them to understand their behaviour and it’s exhausting. It’s awkward because there’s no point in arguing. They are so certain they know better and with how far their heels are dug in the ground, it’d be great for trenches. You’d almost feel bad for them if they weren’t so obnoxious with their sense of righteousness.

The accountability is almost nonexistent because they are not the cause of their detriments. It’s what made them who they are and they’ll be quick to let you know this when they’re on the defence. Their self-esteem is high. They don’t understand why you don’t appreciate how patronizing they are because that’s how they’ve always treated people. Their bubble is limited to those who they don’t think are better than them. They’re so good at pretending that in the beginning, you believe their shit too.

They move quick with you. You think it’s because they like you but it’s because they are trying to impress you quick so you can’t spot their inconsistencies. Whether or not this is intentional, you’re still not even sure once you’ve walked away. They sell you a story until they don’t want to anymore. They’ll be mad at you when you don’t go along with it. Their emotions are your fault. They’re not supposed to really have them. One minute it’s a joke, the next minute it’s an annoyance.

They’ll want you around all the time when it’s convenient for them. You’ll find yourself questioning your thoughts of them because are you being a dick for how you’re feeling? There’s this weird feeling in your stomach even though you care about this person. They’ll help you out when you need it. They must be nice. It shouldn’t matter if they make you uncomfortable with how negative they speak. It shouldn’t matter if you’re feeling uncomfortable matching what they tell you matters to them and how they actually act about it. Are you being too judgmental?

The doubt grows and grows. You express how you feel but it’s pretty dismissed and overlooked. You find yourself reasoning for them more and more even though they give less and less of a shit about your feelings and getting more and more frustrated with what you’re thinking. They still do stuff for you but outside of what’s in front of them, there’s not much thought or consideration. You ask yourself if this is a bad thing or not. You know it doesn’t make you feel good though.

You feel like you’re just trying to help but you’re not sure by how much you’re getting shut down. You don’t know better than them. You question things but they act like they know more than you even though it’s stuff you actually know and have an understanding of. They’re just doing it their own way, okay?

At first they’ll act like you’re their everything but suddenly you feel like you’re being taken for granted because their moods have changed and you also start finding yourself feeling more stressed. You’re still trying until one day they get frustrated and call it quits on you.

You thought they cared about you this whole time and your feelings mattered. This thought goes away and reality sets in when you see they’re already trying to date other people and expressing interest in other people like what you had never even happened. You find yourself confused for awhile and wonder what you did wrong. They want you in their life but at their convenience and you will just have to take whatever interest you get now. It doesn’t make you feel good though.

They’ll yell at you for taking away their happiness and tell you it’s your fault. They were fine before they met you. It’s not on them. This is all you for trying to understand them and the disconnect in what they tell you and what they show.

But it’s tacky. The ignorance becomes too overwhelming for you and all you can do is walk away and hope the best for them. It won’t matter to them though.

Nothing really matters to them. They’re happy in their ignorance and you continue to be happy with your mental wellbeing and you feel it once you start to accept that. Your heart still aches but you know it’s for the best. For you. This is who you remind yourself to care for because they don’t care about you anymore.