Being 23 is nothing like what the movies make it seem like. At least not for me. Movie-23-year-olds are at their dream job, engaged to the love of their life, and have life figured out. I think watching movies like that did not prepare me for what being 23 is actually like.
Being 23 means you’re either still in school or you’re freshly graduated, and you’re so overwhelmed with what the rest of your life will look like that you don’t want to plan it out. You just want to nap. Or have a drink. But it’s only 4 in the afternoon and if you do either of those right now, it’ll ruin any plans you had for the night, so instead you try not to think about it.
I remember at my high school graduation the teachers asked us where we imagined we’d be in five years. Well, it’s been five years and I don’t think I could’ve predicted I’d be where I am. I figured I’d have my degree, I would’ve transferred from my community college to a four-year, then gotten my Bachelor’s in Writing or something of the sort. I didn’t think I would’ve changed my major four times just go to back to where I started. I didn’t think I would’ve switched schools after taking a year off. I definitely didn’t think that I’d still be in school now, barely even a Junior.
I remember when I graduated high school- I remember the feeling I had. I felt so free, I had so much to look forward to, so much ahead of me and it was only just beginning. I imagined that by 23 that feeling would’ve dissipated by now. I still feel like I’m only just beginning and I’m pretty sure it’ll feel like this for a while.
I think I’m at the point where I’m getting an idea of what I want to do with my future. I think the initial excitement of “wait, I can actually do whatever I want with my life???” has died down a bit and I’m thinking more realistically nowadays. There’s still a lot I want to do in my life, and I can’t even imagine where I’ll be in five, ten, fifteen years. I just hope that I’m happy. I just hope I’m going down the path I think is right for me, no matter what job I have, no matter where I live. I just want to be happy. I think that’s what I said when my teachers asked me that at my high school graduation, too. And I think I’m getting there.
Am I where I should be?
Is this what I want?
Does anyone know what they want?
Or are they just blindly chasing a feeling?
People put on a reassuring smile
and say they’re happy,
they’re doing what they want
and “don’t worry, you will be, too.”
Sure, maybe they’re right
and I know I’m still young
but that doesn’t make this
uncertain feeling in my chest
Days all blend together
and I wonder if they’ll ever stop doing that.
I want to grow
I want to bloom
I want to look back on this time
and think of how much I’ve changed
for the better
and be proud of myself
I’ve always been growing
I’ll always be changing
I’ll always be looking back on the past
with a hint of nostalgia
and a wave of pride
because I’m always growing
and I’m always changing
and I used to think I would stop changing
when I reach a certain age
but I don’t think that’s how it goes.
You learn new things
you find new hobbies
you find new things to talk about
with strangers and with close friends.
I think it’s beautiful
how the world is always changing around us
and we’re changing, too.
if ever there comes a day
where I stop growing, stop changing
I hope it is my last
because if I can’t change with the world
then I can’t change the world.
.. Lauren Hayden ..
I’ve been at my worst
I’ve been at my best
I’ve stood face to face with anger
and I’ve given in and I’ve given up
but I’m done stewing.
Now when I come face to face
with anger or despair
I’ll ask if it needs a cup of tea
or maybe more sleep tonight.
I want to believe
that these bad thoughts aren’t real
but they are,
they’re just poorly communicated needs
I just have to ask them what they are.
it’s nothing against you
I’m just bad at remembering to talk.
It’s something that’s been a constant since I was a child
and I’m not sure it’ll ever go away.
I get in these moods
they’re not necessarily depressions
though maybe they once were;
they’re like riding the subway late at night
when you’re the only one on the train
and you don’t feel lonely,
you’re just there
and you’re sort of tired,
but you still have enough energy to make yourself dinner when you get home-
at least something filling, if not a full meal.
It’s not a cry for help
and I’m certainly not lonely
but I want you to know I’m still here
I’m just less
Black coffee is not Bad
but it feels like a punishment.
I will continue to put milk in my coffee
on days that I feel I deserve it.
When I need to be Bitter
I will have it black.
Today I deserve
i want love
i want the world
i want someone to tell me they saw something that made them think of me
i want someone to care about me
as much as i care about them
I remember getting mad at you for things you couldn’t control. I was so naive back then and so were you. I remember when you told me you couldn’t be there for me and I took it personal. I realized later that it wasn’t personal, but the way you treated me made it feel like it was. I was an afterthought in your day, and you could never care for me the way I needed. The way anyone needed. I was an inconvenience to you, and you taught me to keep my feelings to myself. Yet another thing I’m unlearning.
You were never an inconvenience to me, and that’s what made me bitter for a while. I cared for you, I cared for our friends. I was bad at showing it, sure, but you couldn’t deny the love was there. Or maybe you could, you always had this picture of me in your head. But it wasn’t me, it was someone else. Someone that looked like me but acted on their rage. Like I was out to get you. And maybe that wasn’t my fault, maybe that was your own inner demons telling you I was bad for you. Either way, we parted ways and I know it was for the best, but I can’t deny I miss it.
I don’t miss much, but I miss it. I don’t miss the arguments, I don’t miss the gaslighting, I don’t miss pushing the blame. But I miss the jokes, I miss the closeness. I’ve been alone so long; I can’t remember what it feels like to know someone else cares. I imagine it feels warm. I imagine it feels like a blanket that just came out of the dryer. I imagine it feels like the sun against my skin in the summer, and the wind against my face as I’m driving.
This isn’t a love letter; I don’t want you back. I don’t want any of our old friends back. I just want you to know I’m not angry anymore.
I want to smile when it rains
I want to answer when you call.
I don’t want to live in fear,
it’ll be the death of me
but where do we go from here?
but I’m tired of trying
and getting no results.
I want to be brave
like I was when I was ten.
I want to feel the wind against my skin
and not cower away.
I want to feel
I’m done with this complacency,
this everlasting loneliness.
it’s like they turned the lights out
and I can’t find the switch.
I want to be brave
so I can say I beat the demons in my head
I don’t want to be brave
for anyone else
because if I’m doing this for you
and you leave
what’s left to fight for?
I want to be strong
so I can look back
and smile when it rains.
I started to realize why people come out
it’s not because they want to be brave
it’s not because they want to be a shining light
it’s because they’re angry
at the injustice being thrown upon them
and the words ignorant people speak
not directly at them
but meant for them-
and they anger us
until we finally speak out
and in my 23 years
I’ve barely seen change
for the trans community
and people are so openly saying
we don’t exist
we’re just confused
but we are here
and we’re not going away
despite what makes you uncomfortable
my life is not meant to make you comfortable