Friday, 1 May 2020

'A Slice of Childhood' - Miah Ke-leigh



My mother and I were having a conversation in the car last year in December. It was summer and the air conditioner was on full blast. My hair was beginning to frizz because of the humidity and the radio was softly playing Selena Gomez’ ‘Wolves’ in the background. I remember my mom telling me she still felt young and it occured to me that maybe only our bodies grow up and perhaps our souls never do. Of course, most of us become wiser, more informed about the world and learn how to act our age - whatever that’s supposed to mean. I’m currently twenty-two and I realized I’m barely adulting.



Like, how does this even work? It’s dawned on me that I’m beginning to have a lot of responsibilities and although I do have my family to rely on, they live halfway across the world. Aside from being a full-time student, I have to make sure that my rent, phone bill, and my medical insurance are paid on the same day of every month. I must also make sure my textbooks are purchased before every semester, that there’s food in my kitchen cupboards and fridge and that I have clean clothes to wear every week. These are privileges I am lucky enough to be able to deal with and though I do deal with them, I can’t help but reminisce about how easy it was to just come home from middle school, make 2 Minute Noodles, hop on the kitchen counter and talk to my mom about my day.

Throughout those conversations, I also couldn’t wait to grow up. My aunt always told me growing up seems exciting but it’s shit. I must agree. There’s loads to do and sometimes not enough time to do it. Sometimes your friends are nowhere to be seen when you need them. I’ve just entered my twenties but everyone older already says that in your twenties, people are incredibly temporary. I guess I got this memo when my ex-boyfriend and I broke up and when my best friends stopped being my best friends. I remember when being a child was easy,  a boy “like-liked” you and you giggled because you thought it was gross but you secretly liked it and being best friends was easy because all it required was a friendship bracelet and a pinky promise.





Needless to say, growing up doesn’t work like that. It is exciting though as it’s a rollercoaster of self-discovery. In the feeble attempts to reinvent myself, I have dyed my hair twice, painted my room pink, gotten my ears pierced, pierced my own ears, had glasses, had contacts, went back to wearing glasses, worn glitter socks, journaled my secrets in books I can no longer find, had a scene phase, had a preppy phase, only ever wore brown and gold eyeshadow, straightened my hair often and went shopping for new clothes to express my mood almost every weekend. Now, I wear my hair the way it is (naturally curly), my room is white with a black chalkboard door covered in polaroids and letters from friends, I have opted for glasses because I like how I look when I wear them, I have limited myself to two journals (a bullet journal and one for my thoughts) my ears are still pierced, I try out different makeup looks as I love being creative and yes, I still own glitter socks.



I don’t know how to adult properly and I think that’s okay because I’m learning. To me it seems that actual grown-ups don’t know how to adult either, if I’m honest. There’s a lot of responsibility to do your best and to figure out who you are at such a young age but there are still so many grown-ups who don’t know who they are because of that. My inner six year old still exists in me, the one who thinks bubbles were mesmerizing and loves watching Peter Pan. The little girl who loves tutus and thought owning pop culture magazines made her cool. My fifteen year old me still exists too and some of the insecurities I have from then I haven’t grown out of, but I am learning how to. My eighteen year old self is the most recent version of myself that isn’t gone. She’s loud and she’s bold and she makes racists and homophobes uncomfortable. She speaks her mind and she’s learned a lesson or two about letting her emotions run wild - especially over social media. My twenty year old self is a whirlwind of my past ages and I cannot be more grateful for each one of those years. Each day is a clean slate, each outfit a mood, each makeup look a way of expressing myself. My curly hair is my statement against those who are trying to force me to conform to the eurocentric standards of beauty. 


Next year I turned twenty-three. Another candle will was added to my cake and a few more lessons will be taught and I - well, I cannot wait to learn more. 

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