Monday, June 16, 2014

Thirty Year Old Teenager

I'm reading a great book right now, A Walk on the Beach: Tales of Wisdom From and Unconventional Woman. The author befriends Joan Erikson, wife of world renown psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, who helps the author get through a midlife crisis of sorts. Ok, the book itself is not life-altering, but the wisdom and inspiration from Joan Erikson is great. The last three years I've really been trying to look inside and figure out who I am and who I want to be, and I am finding a lot of inspiration from Joan.

Something I've really struggled with for a long time is being single. It's not the fact that been single for so long that bothers me so much, but the fact that there just really hasn't been anyone, at all. There was kind of almost someone once, except that he was married and I knew I couldn't go there. I know that lots of people are single for a long time, but most people date at least occasionally.

I've always felt inadequate in all areas of my life, especially when the subject of dating came up. This is something that I am trying really hard to get past. While I cannot quite think of myself as beautiful, I no longer think of myself as hideous.

Now, before you get all mad at me, you have to understand where I am coming from--a place where I was not smart enough, where I was chubby and the words of others took my self-image and ripped it to shreds. You may think it's stupid, but this is where I'm coming from, so I really have made giant strides.

I've always felt that I skipped the teenage years. I often hung around with adults, I mean I basically shadowed my mother, and adults didn't say make fun of me either, so I grew up pretty quickly. I missed out on the teen dating thing, and spent my life into my twenties pretty well cocooned in self-pity. I feel that is all about to change.

 After reading about Joan and Erik Erikson, I've done a little research just out of curiosity and I find his stages of development quite interesting. I think that there may have been some issues clear back in the first stage for me, but I think things really started to go wrong in stage three. This is when children are supposed to start interacting with other children and showing initiative, but if this is hampered, they end of feeling guilty and like a nuisance. My brother and I never had many friends and spent most of our time playing alone or with each other. Then comes the fourth stage.  I think this is really where things went south.

"It is at this stage that the child’s peer group will gain greater significance and will become a major source of the child’s self esteem. "

When your peer group is either non-existent or spends its time hurling insults at you, you are going to have issues.

So, now I feel like I'm getting a chance to go back and do some things over. I've written about my friend Alex, and I am working on getting him here, and of course my mind is racing with possibilities. Will we remain good friends, will we be something more? Will he be the one I marry? That's where my brain goes all split personality and one side says "woohoo! someone likes me and we might have a relationship," while the other side says "I just can't quite picture that, I'll believe it when I see it."

Now I get to experience the emotions of a teenage girl who's got a serious crush (with a 30 y.o. body saying "hey bozo! you're not gettin' any younger here!") and all that goes along with that. I feel giddy on the one hand, but I'm trying to stifle it and be adult about the whole thing. But then I really want to just let out a huge SQUEEEEEEEEEEE!* Yep...30 year old teenager...

Better late than never, eh?

*Imagine Maria from the Sound of Music dancing in the hills.

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