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This was initially posted by me on 22nd October 2022 on another platform, but I wanted to include it here now.
Over the years, I thought I'd be finally free from this teenage mindset to appear as mature as possible - like an adult, like a hyper organized successful person, who cares about the right things and discards the others, who never indulges in childish things and always knows what to say etc. - but I realize recently that it only changed its face, its expression, the overall goals, but at its core it remained and stayed the same! No matter the specifics, at its core was always the idea of becoming a type (or even trope) of desirable adult woman that was currently hyped in the view of society, someone who ticks all the boxes regarding her interest and hobbies and style, who is working, who is 'girlbossing', glamorous, eating a certain way etc etc.
I never actually focused on what I gravitated towards deep down, but saw what was promised by society if I made myself into these images of the adult, mature woman as quickly as possible, and strove for that, because I longed for the rewards. Success, a sense of self, belonging, being surrounded by people, being attractive, being regarded as competent and important, getting attention, getting to impress, having a purpose, having my opinions taken more seriously; simply, happiness. And with that, I have treated all versions of me as placeholders, because they fell short somehow. Or if I had reached one, I moved the goals. I could never commit long-term, or the trends moved once again, or: the realization that turning myself into one thing will not make everyone happy and thus does not grant the rewards equally. Through that, I was living more in a fantasy than in real life. I thought more about my potential and my future than my current reality, more about what I should want vs. what I really want. I was busy with conveying a certain image to others more than conveying myself.
I am only partially blaming myself and the abuse I lived through for this, because this is also clearly favored by capitalism and currently in overdrive via TikTok and the idea of being a __ type of girl, all the -cores and aesthetics, which people have already written at length about. It is entirely intentional to be lowkey indoctrinated into thinking you should conform to a certain image of the mature self and then shop for it - to wear just the right jacket, rings, shoes, and have the correct bag and the fitting notebook and the matching manicure to convey that image. Fostering the hope that once you got it all together, you will believe it too, and feel internally what you have promised to feel. Fake it til you make it. But it's just a provisional, imaginary life. So usually, it doesn't work or we grow tired of it again or the trends change, and we adopt another persona again that needs all this "equipment" to at least somewhat exist, because we aren't being that authentically; these feelings, this identity is just invoked by surrounding oneself with the right purchases in the correct aesthetic and shun everything else, to become pure identity- and style-wise.
I am now learning to grow into myself and express freely what I gravitate towards, and combine everything how I want. I didn't even notice for the longest time because it was so normalized to me, but I acted in a sort of mental prison where everything I do had to be streamlined and fit to each other. It wasn't about what I wanted, but "would this type of person do this/have this?" like, "would this type of person live like this, dress like this?" I stopped myself from doing things, pursuing hobbies and interests, buying things or doing body modifications because I assumed this wouldn't fit to the rest of the aesthetic or behavior of what I wanted to convey, instead of making it about my enjoyment. I couldn't own one pink plush cute thing because this was just reserved to the cutesy pink people who dress pink and have all their stuff in pink and all these Sanrio plushies, you know? In my mind, we all committed to the extremes, I think also because this way of living is so hypervisible online, and glamorized.
That is so uninteresting, so boring, so sad. I understand now that what makes people special and interesting is when they combine things freely, to be combining opposites inside of them, to have so many different sides to them that you can find out about and explore, instead of fitting perfectly into the type. They don't go around thinking "I am mainly an artist, which is why I need to dress like an artist and have the room of an artist and act like one" and take from ads, TV, books, etc. all the tropes that could convey being The Artist. Instead they recognize there isn't just one way to be that and it's so sad to reduce yourself to one character trait or hobby or lifestyle or profession or style - or the general idea of the successful adult woman - and commit to it like a cartoon character who always acts and dresses consistently. You should never roleplay your life. But I kinda did.
𓇽 ° . ༻ 𓈒 ꒪ ๋ ° .𓏲⠀ ๋࣭ ♡ ͘ ࣭⠀⸰ ⋆ ֗ ִ ᨒ .⋆ﾟ. ͘ ࣭⠀⸰ ♡ 𓂂 ◌ 𓇽 ° . ๋ 𓂂 ⠀✼ 𓇽