Thursday, March 17, 2011

Responsible Responsibility

I guess I'm going to preface this post with the fact that this is a pin-point estimation of what I'm feeling. Dont take it for solid fact that I always feel like this. Cause I dont. And I will tell you its stupid to assume I would. And this is on the cusp of being too personal. I dont mean to sound ungrateful for my life or what I have been given. Because I am extremely grateful for everything. But for tonight, I feel like sharing. So share I am. 

Sometimes I get in moods. I've only once had it described so point blank, in such a poetic and devastatingly heartwrenching way.  

"If you yet remain as the you I once knew, I imagine you still harbor heavy thoughts from time to time; thoughts that weigh you down and make a slightly-off day near unbearable."

Its odd to have yourself described in a poignantly true manner. 
Most of the time people ignore my mood; knowing full well that it will pass. Just like the rest of the world, I cant help but move on. And my murky thoughts never stay murky for long. It is one of my best features I think, that I move past disappointment in such an efficient manner. Tucking my chin, and bearing forward, despite any residual feet dragging. There is always work to do, and I have it ingrained in my head that responsibility comes before all else. By no means, does that mean I get over it; thats one of my worst features, I store it all away in a quiet place, to be looked at and tormented with later. But routine and responsibility have a way of dampening all other feelings.
Why am I thinking about this?
Because I'm in a mood.
I have often felt, that I was a hairsbreadth away from being over the designated line. The line set by expectations, responsibility, morality.
But I toe the line, like a champion tight rope walker. 
As a teenager, just about every adult I knew thought I was a bad kid. An outspoken nature, and a stubborn streak will do that for you. And I felt no need to let them read me the right way. They'd made up their minds about me based on my unwillingness to be strong-armed into a typical model of acceptability. And being arrogant, I let them think it. Because I wasnt doing anything for their public approval. And I didnt need their acceptance. I did my entire young womans achievement book secretly (with the help of my mother of course). And when I finished it, my mother thought I should turn it in. To which I scoffed. Because I didnt do it for the recognition. I did it for my own personal satisfaction.
But it irritated me. I wont pretend it didnt. Even still, it irritates me that I was so wrongly judged. 
Here, quite a few of my junior high friends were going off getting drunk, lying to their parents and doing drugs.
And it would have been so easy, with so much acceptance, to follow suit.
Much more acceptance than I was ever offered anywhere else at that time.
 I chose to be separate though. 
I've always been filled with a sense of... I suppose it is responsibility, perhaps morality... And I knew that whatever teenage acceptance those friends offered, it wasnt worth it. Not to me anyways. (Add to that the completely fickle and backbiting nature of most teenage girls...)
I often felt left out. And out of place. And alone.  
I chose to be a secretly good kid, whose friends could care less and who adults were wary of.
And it was the right choice - and I'd do it the same way if I had to. 
But it wasnt easy.
For years I have toed the line of what is expected of me. What is the responsible way to behave. And truthfully, sometimes being so responsible wears on a person. It makes me feel like I'm much too serious and missing out. Like I am wasting my youth. Sometimes I think the expectations of others and myself will crush me. And maybe those expectations are just my own perception. But real or not, they still affect me. Because the thing about expectations is you never really live up to them. I will never fully be the person people think I ought to be. I will never behave in exactly the way people think I ought to. There will always be that tiny layer of disappointment. And occasionally that layer of disappointment rises up and suffocates me. 
I know that people envy my situation in life. I am nigh unto being done with my formal education. And I will finish with a career. I have cousins who are adventurous and irresponsible. Just starting to buckle down and become responsible. And they would trade places with me if given the chance. But I envy them, even as in the same breath, I know I could never shirk my life plan as completely as they used to. But I would dabble in adventure. Because when I finish school I will have nothing but a piece of paper and a working knowledge of how to get through school. And their adventures have been calling to me for years. And I suppose they have been calling to me too - even with my sad smiles and sober realities - they have always made me feel like I could be so fun and carefree.
Somewhere along the line I've lost the point.
I guess the point is, that there is a price for every action. And even though being responsible, smart and doing whats expected of you is good, it has its cost. My parents think I'm selfish - and I probably am - but I also think that I have paid my dues at being responsible. And its frustrating to have been working for so long and so hard, only to be told, that alas, in another five to ten years you'll find your reprieve, when you've good and earned it. Because I honestly feel like I've earned it right now. And I cant think of anything worse than getting stuck in the complacent, completely responsible path. Because it would be so easy to put off adventure. At first it would only be for a couple years. But that couple would turn into five, which would multiply into ten. And before I know it, I'm old, and havent done any of the things I wanted to do. All because work came first. Sure, being responsible is important and I'm not discrediting that. But it isnt the only way to experience life. And I already know that I want more than it offers alone.

4 comments:

Erika said...

Oh how I admire you.

I admire your honesty, your ability to articulate feelings, and your courage to let the world to see what is real.

I do not know you all that well, and I am not saying we are the same, but I feel like I relate to this to a certain degree. I have always let the "fun" things pass me by because I had something "important" or "responsible" to do. Continually setting expectations of myself too high, this hasn't brought the fulfillment I thought it would, or wanted it to. It truly is exhausting.

I am really starting to realize (due to the fact that I am done here so soon) that I have not taken advantage of living in Hawaii and have missed out on a lot of aspects of university life. When wrestling with these thoughts, I can't imagine myself doing things differently if given a second chance.

Love you.
Don't ever change.
You're great.

Alisun said...

this is my life....
I could honestly post this on my page and it could easily be about me....aside from the book thing ;)

Dani said...

Melissa,
I'm so impressed with all the things you've done! And now that you've got your career under your belt, GO AND DO!! Whatever adventures you've be waiting for are still there. Work doesn't have to start asap, regardless of what ANYONE will tell you, work can now wait. Go have LOTS of fun!! You've earned it!

Sheila said...

Eff my life, I totally posted and then it didn't go through so now I have to try to recreate my own ramblings.

On the cusp of ME being too personal, all you have to do is check out my facebook and see the trainwreck I've turned into. I'm not proud of it. And it came from a tipping point of being furious about labels pushed on me from all directions. Good, bad, Mormon, bad Mormon, etc. etc. I'm not saying you're as weak as I am- because you're not- and your preface clearly indicates this- so this will NOT be an ominous moral sermon on "not turning into me".

What I'm saying is that I understand these feelings, so so well, and as someone who became wrapped up in them, I need to tell you that for me, you are my un-label-able friend. I've always felt like I can tell you anything because of how well-rounded you are, how you defy all stereotypes, and how strong you are (even though you'll totally never believe it.) I know you don't feel like you fit in, and the reason is because, honestly, you don't. And that is a GOOD THING. You ARE able to walk the line and attempt to see other points of view, instead of having tunnel vision. It's scary, it's lonely, it can make you feel sad and question yourself, and yeah, it's dangerous. But that's part of what makes you awesome and the strong person that I admire so much. It will make you better at everything you do.

Keep your head up, as my track coach used to exasperatedly screech at me when I was racing a mile and my body started mutinying about 3/4ths of the way through. You've got nothing to prove to anyone but yourself, which is cliche, but true. You've already proven yourself to me as a strong, stereotype defying woman. Some people may try to pigeonhole you. But for those of us who have a little bit of a brain and talk to you for two seconds... well, we just don't see you as any sort of category. I love you mucho and once I return from the dark side and stop wallowing in self-loathing, I'll be more in touch. I promise. I miss you.