Grow up or Become More Ourselves?

I lost my wallet on the train. Again.

It was the second time (my dad likes this part) in two weeks.

In response, I decided to turn these mini-heart attacks into a lesson just in case I lost something else.

So, I set myself the challenge of selected 30 images out a few thousands that would be devastating to lose if my phone decided to ride the train without me.

It’s rather interesting to remember where your head was at when you clicked that button.

With only you picking the lock and seeing past what the photo projects. Your hair, location and intoxication levels all secret intel on yourself and who your with.

The further I scrolled down, the more I felt a disconnect with the person smiling back.

That version of me was impulsive, careless with herself and loud.

First love vanished, it use to play on my mind. Emotions that don’t quite belong, laid in reaching distance. A lack of direction yet a need to fill ambition cancelled each other out in a frustrating debate, blurring where to next step.

Drinks at 18, always in hand. And then depression came and nothing felt like anything. I cut my degree, moved back home and sat with myself for months, awaiting a visit from change.

Without partying to hide behind, I was desperate to feel happy again. But in fact, the change of me was slow and terrifying.

At the end, I was someone else. Someone experienced. Someone disappointed by people and by the life she thought lay waiting post high-school. Illusion and reality one of the most crippling obstacles of adulthood to understand and not resent. 

So to my own surprise, at the start of my phone’s gallery, I found this:

“ We don’t grow up as time moves us along. We just grow more into ourselves. “

This quote, my prized 20th image saved and selected. 

That night, the words peddled through my thoughts in the shower. Lingering on my towel, as I smudged it all over my damp skin.

Sitting on the right side of the bath was my new dress.

A deep frill cascades down the front with wedding buttons that trickle down the sleeves.

I wanted something fully black and sophisticated for my 21st. I wanted to be elegant.

Yet, there in it’s place was a light-pink, pearly fabric. When I first tried it on I knew it was too me I couldn’t say no.

The dress was flamboyant and a little over the top. Sophisticated with straight shoulders and a deep V-plunge that points an arrow to my legs, always longer than the dress itself.

For some reason it’s in my fibre that with any big event, I gravitate towards a pink dress.

I figure it was because my childhood was flavoured pink. I went off it when mum left. I figured that since my heart broke, it was only fair to uncoloured it. Move on.

Yet, pink still tails me at age 20. It must show up and be present. Wave to me in a crowd, as I pretend not to see it.

My year 10 dress was pink and I looked Albino. Silver on my eyes and poodle hair I wasn’t happy with. I pledged from that day onwards that I would tan when faced with pastels and with hair and makeup, have a “no free-style policy“. I now tell them in the nicest possible way, to stick to the pictures or we gonna have a problem ** head tilts to the left.

I can’t help but laugh at the overdose of spots accumulated on the bath’s edge, like some over-cooked rice pudding. We can never escape who we are. What makes us one of a kind. Irreplaceable.

And we cannot forget, who made us feel so intensely our feelings ventured into deeper holes of ourselves, burrowing through tissue and time. Creating obstacles and pressure points for the next people to wrestle with.

We have no control over what names or faces trigger our bodies to expand in immense animation or which make us flinch.

I look to the dress and realise why it wasn’t even a question of whether I should buy it.

That very day I was talking at my menswear job, chatting to a gay groom who wanted some spotty ties for his wedding. I look down at my dress and see the swatches, staring back.

The polka-dots, multiple eclipses or even fullstops that the mind connects that sometimes we see or don’t see right away.

And when we do see things that make sense, it’s because they are already familiar to us, or apparently that’s what Phycology majors state. ‘Exposure therapy’ stimulates instant awareness and a sense of familiarity. Apparently that also counts for attraction as well as studies have shown we go for people who share our features and/or who have some of our parent’s traits (which is pretty gross when you think about it ).

And I mean, perhaps it’s the writer in me but the million of fullstops/dots all over the dress kind of make me love it even more. Or eclipses, like a conversation that continues on forever. Me at 21 is a conversation continued.

It all makes sense. But even when it doesn’t, call me an eternal optimist but I think things don’t make sense so they can. It just pushes us to look where we haven’t or try something that makes us uncomfortable.

It cuts a new person from us, mid-life, divorce, death. It helps us to live another life. Feel more depth. Pain is growth, waiting to be realised. appreciated. Understood.

I get it now.

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