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Celebrating Christmas with my former self

Once the seasons change and Winter comes in, usually around Christmas time, my mental health seems to split apart from all hours of therapy, motivational statements and self-finding and dives into the horrid abyss of long nights, where I stay up and contemplate my life choices.

Only last Friday I was driving home after a night out at my boyfriends („night out“ meaning ordering Indian takeout and watching sitcoms from the early 2000s) and was loudly blasting Taylor Swifts re-recording of her album „Fearless“ over my car's speakers, when suddenly a wave of disassociation and weirdly enough vulnerability caught me like a deer in headlights. I was simply listening to the joy, the woes and the confusion of a 15-year old, who was trying to find her place in the world – just like all of us did. And felt like a school kid again.

The first time I've ever heard of Taylor Swift was around 2010, shortly after the release of „Speak Now“ - being a teenage popstar, her stories and face covered every teen magazine and I devoured them like my life depended on it. I always wanted to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, but not because I had genuine interest in these things. I only wanted to be liked by my peers, which seems like the most crucial and hardest task to live through when you're young and searching for a spot in this life, where you could sit down and think „this is where I belong and this is where I will stay“. I always ended up in places where I did not belong, nor did I want to stay and I knew it. Once people show interest in your company and actively want to spend time with the person you are pretending to be – do you really care as a pre-teen?

It only took me about a decade to realize how wrong this was and that happened that one night. The clock barely struck 11 o'clock when my car was the only one on the dark roads of the German suburbs. More and more thoughts kept trembling in, the more I thought about the scared teenager I was and how she is no different from my current self. Growing up, I was a scared child. I was shy, I would rarely speak up, I would try my hardest to not be the center of attention and painfully exclude myself from every activity, even though it sounded like so much fun. I skipped sleepovers, birthday partys, trips to the movie theatre – anything, which involved me being required to be vocal, speak up and engage with my peers like a normal child. I was avoiding interaction and especially confrontation on every level. I never wanted to be seen. But I was so lonely. From day to day I grew older and realized how I should be in order for people to like me. I needed to shed the skin of the old me – the shy introvert, who's not speaking and who's 11 and still a child. My classmates were far away from that. These girls were one year older than me, already having experienced their first kiss and being allowed to drink Coca-Cola without their parents approval. In my eyes, these girls were the next saints and I would try anything to become like them.

I would read these stupid teen magazines, which were explicitly talking about losing your virginity, how to get with a guy and how to style yourself to become the „hottie“ at your school. Every single word about beauty, love, friendship and fashion was engraved in my brain like a trophy you hand to a kid at a football game, just because they participated and yet didn't win. During the breaks, I would exchange my new won information with my „friends“ - and no matter what the topic was, I was ready to speak. The skin of the shy girl has been finally shed, but there were some bits and pieces still stuck to me that I couldn't get off, no matter how hard I tried. My company was enjoyed, my talks were listened to and although I was surrounded by a lot of people - I have never once in my life felt so lonely.

Taylor Swift wasn't liked among my venomous friends. When I brought her up in a conversation about our favorite music, I was laughed at. Silly me, out here listening to a Country-Pop sensation., when EDM and Dubstep was the next big thing. Yet the second they threw their head in their necks, opened their jaws and let out a loud and rough laugh, I felt comforted. A puzzle piece was falling into place, and the puzzle happened to be me. I was getting to know myself, I held my own hand and started leading me through a dark and gloomy tunnel, but the light at the end of it got brighter and brighter with each minute I gave myself to go out and learn about the true joys of the world – all the things I loved and things that were mine. At some point, the puzzle was finished. The 11 year old kid, who had skinned knees and a pure heart, a group of bad people surrounding her, a head full of clouds and a fear of all the inevitable things in the future, was buried, six feet under the ground where I take each step on. Yet, all traces of my former self will forever scar my body and soul and will forever stay incurable. I can rip out the pages, I can erase the memories from my mind, but there will always be a shadow of my former self, haunting me and following me, wherever I go. I'm still the same kid, just grown up now.

Throughout my youth, my heart has been aching for both acceptance and individuality and when you grow up and try to find your spot, you realize that this world is a damn confusing place. In your childhood, all planets and the solar system are at your little feet. You're treading on the path of life, with excitement and joy in each step. There is so much for you to learn and your whole view is unharmed, it's brand new and unused. But with each candle on your birthday cake, you get this uneasy feeling of change. You're looking at the gray sky, it's covered by thick clouds and you know downpour will hit soon. The downpour hit me first when I was 11 and tried to fit in. I'm now 23 and while I built shelter and manage to keep myself dry, I still feel threatened by the everlasting rain. So, when I was driving home and an old Taylor Swift song came on, I realized that I can grow up, I can change my interests, I can try on new clothes, I can dye my hair, I can sell my car and hitchhike through Europe, but the little 11 year old, who was afraid of the world and what it will give to her, will forever be part of me. Occasionally, she sees the world through my eyes, she speaks with my tongue and trots on steep hills with my feet – she is no longer here, but she will never leave me. And I think I don't want her to leave.

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Comments (5)

Felicidades!! Muy lindo todo , gracias!!!🥰🤗❤️👏


May 15

Muchas gracias!! Que bonito !!!😇🥰


May 15



Jul 27, 2023

I was in tears even before playing the video! Recently started watching Bluey and to be honest I am saviouring every episode, making sure not to rush through them. Luce as a kid would have love it too! Without all the sometimes extreme drama cartoons such as "Candy", "Peline" and the anime series called in Spanish "La Ranita Demetan" displayed. I also remember feeling sad and stressed after watching some of them...But Bluey is so not like that. I am sure this is appreciated by kids and parents equally. Cheers to all healthy, innocent and non invasive copying mechanisms! And thanks for sharing this one! 😍

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