My life isn’t being changed in a bad way by any means. It’s not like my future has been struck with great tragedy or any other kind of unfortunate twist that will negatively affect the days to come. I’m simply going through the same kind of process as everyone else has to and while I love the idea of it, it terrifies me equally. As soon as I turned 18, I came to realise that no matter how independent I liked to think I am, I still have a heck of a lot of co-dependence to shake off and the idea of being swallowed up by adulthood grabbed my by the shoulders and shook me silly.
I was talking to my aunt the other day about how adulthood works. In my head, being an adult is a role filled with knowing exactly where to take each step as you walk on the sea of eggshells that are our lives. But much to my dismay – or perhaps, in a weird way, my comfort – that isn’t the case at all. Turns out we’re all as clueless as Alicia Silverstone about life and to say that doesn’t scare me shitless would be complete bullshit.
For the first sixteen years of my life, I knew every step I was going to take on the road to great success and happiness: I was going to finish school, go to the Uni of my dreams in New York and my career would build and build from there. With that, happiness would be handed to me on a silver platter and I’d never have problems again. Surprisingly, nothing is as easy as a dream like that one and of course I didn’t want it to happen when I got the chance for it to. I went to see the University of my dreams after wishing for it to be mine for what felt like a decade and of course, it wasn’t what I wanted. I didn’t want to follow the same University path as everyone else, it didn’t suit me and I felt like I’d be wasting my time. So now what; now what do I do? I was fast approaching a time where I needed to decide what I wanted to do and the most self-assured person I know – myself – had absolutely no idea as to what to do next.
In the couple of years that have followed, I luckily manage to work out what I wanted to do. I came to realise that University would be the worst decision I’ve ever made since making myself sit through Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – even when my Dad offered to drive us home in the interval – and that I had many more career interests than just acting on its own. It might be funny to think for some, but I really didn’t allow myself to explore the world of writing or other creative facets for a long time. Despite the fact that I never publicise it, the world of performance was something I’d focused on since I first learned how to talk and it took me a lot of thought to work out how much I was restricting myself by going to University and simply studying acting or singing.
I can’t tell you how happy I am now that I’ve made the realisation of the path I want to take, but that in itself has caused more change to go on in my brain… I am endlessly excited about the future that I am sprinting towards, but it is petrifying to realise that now is the time that I have to make those dreams a reality. Now is the time to work for the big things and let’s just say that it hit me like a tonne of bricks. A nice load of bricks that are colourful and pretty, sure, but a lot of weight to them nonetheless.
Not only have I had a career wakeup most recently, but I’ve had a personal one as well. As the word “personal” suggests, there’s no need to go into details, but re-assessing the fact that my vision for my immediate future was incorrect also led to me fact-checking the rest of me. If I used to think that there was only this one pathway for me in the future, then how have I changed as a person as well? If that idea fit me so well then, then who am I now? How have I changed?
I see emotional and mental change as the same kind of change as visual ones that we have. I never see it because I’m me every moment of every day and my family never see it because they do too. But it’s a little bit like when young people visit their grandparents in films and they say “my, haven’t you grown!” I had my very own old lady moment where I thought: “fuck me, haven’t you changed!”
I don’t think I’ve changed for the worst I hasten to add. In fact, if anything, I’ve become more of the person that I actually anticipated I would become, but I know I have work to do on myself. There are parts of me as a person that make me feel like a gorgon, or they’ve been restrained by the bubble I live in that I’ve been trying to burst out of for ages. I have to pop this bubble and find room to grow for myself and no matter how long it takes, I’m willing to accept the challenge.
I am changing and it’s becoming apparent that I’m getting more and more confused by it by the minute. There is so much going on – so much change around me – and it’s overwhelming to say the least. As hard as I try to stay true to myself, it’s no wonder that I get so disorientated as the world around me is constantly shifting. Change is occurring and I’m not the person that’s making it happen. It’s not making me upset and it’s not even making me that nervous, but my oh my, we are not in Kansas anymore.
Photograph of me taken by Rukaya Cesar.