29 has been a strange age but good age. I made a promise to myself that I was going to take control of my life and self and own it however which way would come. And, for the most part, I did. I did more this age for myself than I think I have in a long time. At least consistently and not just in chunks. Not since 23, when I took a year to learn what being self-sufficient meant. I failed myself after that and then spent a few years struggling with who I was and what I was even doing. I abandoned myself as others abandoned me and was really fucked up for those few years. I became independent but still with unresolved issues and attachment problems.
I spent my 20’s with so much inconsistency. With my looks, my weight, and who I was. That’s what they’re for, right? I didn’t see that at the time. That I wasn’t making mistakes, I was just experiencing life itself even though it was through a sometimes painful route. But when you think you are a mistake and dumb, you don’t feel the worth of thriving. So you’re just confused. I never fully felt like a real person because I thought I wasn’t important enough compared to everyone else. I felt like a kid on a soap box every time I wanted to have a voice. I took whatever I could in terms of a connection because I just wanted to be valued, yet it was something I was scared of because I failed at giving to myself. I felt like a potato/turd who just really, really, reaaaaally wanted to be cool.
I’ve always been judgmental but never quite leaned into it. I didn’t use it for better judgment for myself. I didn’t think I could own my shit if I got called out. I’m learning this isn’t true. Embracing my judgmental nature has helped in a sense that I waste less time. I don’t politely tolerate things I know I shouldn’t. I’m less giving to people who aren’t worth it and have more to give to those who are. I have less trouble expressing thoughts and stand by them knowing they are valid. I can deal better with conflict without worrying about being abandoned for it. I judge from my head and less from a defensive position, if that makes sense. As I own my self-care and feel boss from it, I stand where I do and stay there. I like who I’m beginning to build myself to be because it’s the me that I’d like to be and I’m allowed to have a choice in who sits with me or not. It’s only going to get honed and better. I know this. I’ve got an attitude that I’ve wasted trying to bury its worth. Now is the time to let it out.
I felt sad that I couldn’t hold down a proper relationship and felt like who I was wasn’t girlfriend material for what was needed for a working relationship. I have a couple of friends whose significant other just adore them and I still wonder how I get that to happen for me. My inadequacy with dating and being so available to guys who could barely make an effort for me made up most of my 20s while I was navigating alone. Sure, I had boyfriends but nothing was lasting like I once was capable of. I went from only understanding long term relationships to wondering if it was even a possibility anymore. Even now, I can’t imagine being in a relationship lasting at least a year. I gave my heart away recklessly, that’s for sure, and cried a bunch of unnecessary tears for the guys I cried over. I now roll my eyes about when I recall them.
I learned to be less apologetic for my dealing with guys because I stopped making reasons and excuses for the behaviour and efforts I’ve encountered. It’s something I no longer take responsibility for. I don’t have to colour up a romance that is simply not there even if my yearning heart wanted it. I’m allowed to respond instead of just react. I’m allowed to be grossed out or not interested. I have watched grown men cry not because they had feelings, but because they were getting their shit called out and emotional from it. It was always for themselves and never for me but I’d try to cooperate thinking it was. I emotionally babysat their feelings for them while they held no accountability for their bullshit. I didn’t think of myself enough in these situation. I was too busy proving myself over so little that it didn’t occur to me to assess them for myself. Not until it was too late and I was looking back on reflecting and mending rather than from a position of choice.
I’m getting better at engaging with people, as a whole, not in fragments. Almost all of my 20s were just pieces of me left with people because I never knew how to engage fully. I’m still not sure how to get explain this aspect. I felt like I couldn’t be accepted entirely so I’d show what could be accepted, by bits. I lived like an omission rather than a lie. Though it’s definitely a work in progress, I’m trying to navigate how to share my stories with people worth telling them to rather than as a way to try and connect. I’d like it to be a conversation rather than confessions. I used to be bad at participating in conversation unless someone engaged me because I didn’t really know how to connect with people. I didn’t know how to ask questions or what really to say. It’s honestly fucking weird when I think how I lived this way for so long now that I can properly do it. It’s crazy even.
More and more, I look in the mirror and see someone who takes care of herself but she’s no longer trying to chase an ideal. For like, four years now, I’ve been chasing this ideal weight and I got to it. I haven’t maintained it. I’m on average about two pounds over but I’m okay with that. I’m not disappointed because where I am right now, I like. I know it can be better but I don’t shit on myself for not making it better. I like how I put myself together. I don’t see someone who protects herself through binge eating or does it as a punishment for her emotions anymore. I don’t intentionally set out to stay comfortably but miserably chubby anymore. I don’t want to anymore and am confident about my self-control about it. Don’t get me wrong, I still indulge but I don’t feel the shame or guilt about it I once did and certainly not to the extent I felt it. I don’t hate myself when I’m not “on track”. I’m accepting of my body more without adding “even though”. I dress with a bit more self-steeze and honestly, its pretty fucking dope. I can finally feel it, ya know?
That’s the biggest thing I’ve shed in my remaining 20s. My self-loathing and this feeling like I’m living falsely as a person. I’m not trying to love myself anymore. I do. I’ve allowed myself to look after me and protect the inner child I neglected for so long. I no longer feel shame that I’m not a perfect person and not friendly all the time. I don’t apologize for it profusely as I once have. I can wake up the next morning with carb face from eating and drinking too much and not feel genuinely disgusted with myself as a human being. I don’t think I’m completely dumb and useless on a super earnest level anymore. That thought no longer feels like a truth about myself I have to hide. I know now it’s not true and I am okay with telling myself that as often as need be until I really understand it because there are days I still don’t.
I don’t feel insecure anymore. At least not with the same sense of tragedy and doubts. There were moments where I wanted to own the confidence but felt like I should be insecure instead and that doesn’t even make sense. I wait less on the approval of others because I prefer my own of myself. I don’t dim myself down to cater to other’s insecurities as much. I can do this without questioning if I’m arrogant or not because I don’t need to move aside where I’m not overstepping or crowding, ya know? Don’t call me over if you’re just going to ask me to step aside.
I’m living a life that is my own and in my control. In comparison, it’s alright but for me, it’s becoming pretty chill. Sometimes I feel incredibly lonely with how I live it but it doesn’t feel so isolating anymore. I know I have people in my life, it just takes adjusting to not feeling like I can only fill that spot romantically. I no longer fantasize as an escape or a longing, I now dream with ambition and think of how I can get there even though I’m still in learning. I still hope for a love where I’m represented as a partner and it’s expressed and not something that’s questioned or passive. I’m not desperate to try and find it with every person that flirts with me anymore though. I present myself as a person better because I can feel like I am one now. I haven’t quite grasp how to smile and wink at the world because I’m a flirt but I’ll figure it out.
All the things I struggle with, I no longer feel hopeless about. Being unattached gets me into trouble with myself when I drink too much because I haven’t learned to properly navigate that shit. I’m accepting my level of capabilities and challenging my feelings of uselessness. I know where I stand without assuming the lower end of life. I know how stubborn I am and how hard I can work. I’m not smart or intelligent but I can be clever. I have valid things to say. I’m allowed to be funny or think I am. I’m allowed to just try and go after my visions and my goals and whatever else I want to strive for. I can be unapologetic for standing my ground against people who are trying to undermine me or belittle me. I don’t have to be polite about it. It doesn’t make me difficult to stand up for myself.
I’m reflecting on all this stuff in the last days of being 29. My 30s will be something I hoped for in my 20s and if I do it right, each decade after will be better. It will be great not because I say so, it’ll be because I’ll be living in the best way I can, in whatever direction it goes. I will be authentic about my life and hope it’ll attract the same. I still feel silly embracing this mindset but I also feel more joy for it. Like, it’s not quite there yet but I’m at each step of getting there. I get to practice saying no to the wrong people and yes to the right ones and opportunities. I get to see what’s fitting for and with me and have that instead of struggling mismatch. I get to do so much more for myself now that I’ve shed a lot of the darkness I carried with me for most of my life. I’ll be standing as a happier 30 yro rather than a tragic 20.
Short of possibly failing my driving test tomorrow and crying myself to sleep about it…. I’m ready for the next decade and chill about the remainder of my 20s.