(Title from the Simple Plan song – a sign of my teenage music collection! Appropriate lyrics, though:
I’m just a kid and life is a nightmare
I’m just a kid, I know that it’s not fair
Nobody cares, cause I’m alone and the world is
Having more fun than me tonight)
This is an avoiding-the-real-issue post: apologies. I had T1 yesterday and it was horribly painful and I’m not really sure what I’m doing now. She was (of course) amazing but I’m just too sore. Have decisions to make (about therapy, punishments and whether my heart might just break in two) and things to think through… I will maybe post them later.
One of the things I found myself saying a lot in our session was “I’m just not ready to be an adult”. T1 tells me she sees me as adult (ha! I’m scraping the depths of my youth and immaturity in her room) and she can list lots of adult things I do. This is not a new feeling for me – T2 wrote in an email around December, “It’s ok to not to feel grown up – and as an external observer I can tell you that you’ve been doing ‘grown up.’” But despite both these people telling me, plus my age now being the wrong side of 20 and me very nearly being a graduate, I still feel like a kid. In considering this last night, here are my reasons why I am not yet a bona fide adult.
I can’t manage money My father is the king of organisation. Everything is filed away, usually into various subheadings and then cross-referenced. When we take the piss out of him for it, he tells us we’ll be thankful when he’s dead. Problem is, I didn’t exactly learn to do any of this myself. My parents have a really old-fashioned approach to money – my mum gets an allowance at the beginning of the week! – and my dad pretty much took this approach with us too.
So I left home at 18 and when I decided I couldn’t go home and sort of ran away, I really had no idea what to do with savings or money or bank accounts… My idea of money management was to use the card until it stops giving money out! Though I’m marginally better now (marginally…) when my friends and boyfriend talk of mortgages and bonds and ISAs I slightly die inside. It horrifies me that within this next decade, our ‘life plan’ includes savings and a mortgage! What a lot of responsibility for someone who barely remembers to buy the dog food monthly…
I am aware that having some control over money would release me from a LOT of stress from my life. This year is the first time EVER where I’m genuinely not indebted to anyone else – the first time ever that the money in my account is mine and I earned it. The freedom this brings is going to be very refreshing! Therapy actually has a big part to play in this. Up until this point, it’s been free – now it’s an active (and expensive) life choice. In amongst my wobble last night, it occurred to me I probably need to get myself into a position where I’m a number of session’s cost ahead of myself – so that if we have to start making other life choices, I’m always in a position where I can manage some form of an ending. I suddenly feel a whole load more responsible for my therapy. There is something very… Ironic? Bittersweet?… about therapy being the reason for the first ever savings account I’ve opened that is in my name, not joint with my father.
I’m crap at social events I went to the sort of school where we had lessons in etiquette and walking with books on our heads. I know it’s when its ma’am like spam (not farm) and when its not; I’m pretty good at which cutlery when; I can get out a car without flashing my knickers. Problem is, all of those things are sodding useless if you don’t want to mix in those circles! My mother once told me she was proud I would be ‘marrying up’ – a truly horrific term that implies I’m punching above my weight in my relationship.
My issue is this: I like interesting people. I love people who tell stories, who are engaging to listen to. I am fascinated by people who have a history. I am not interested in politics, the economy, government or stately homes. I hate people who, intentionally or unintentionally, spend their lives blowing smoke up their arses. This makes me a real liability at social events – I cannot hide my inadequacies when somebody asks me what I feel about the latest government policy, or talks about one of their numerous opinions on current affairs (like that scene in Bridget Jones!). I find it all desperately dull and I still feel like I did when I was a child and got to come downstairs to say goodnight at my parent’s dinner parties. Horribly out of place and insufficient.
I think I’ll feel like an adult when I can go to a dinner on my boyfriend’s arm and have something interesting to contribute. But that feels like a VERY long way off – he has grown up ahead of me. I would love to make him proud not just as a pretty arm adornment, but for my mind.
Worth mentioning that I am not totally pathetic in all social situations – I am fine with interesting people! And people who don’t make me feel stupid. This actually is nothing to do with social status and all to do with their social graces… But I will feel like a grown up when I can hold my own in a situation where they’re testing.
I can’t drink wine This sounds like it shouldn’t be a big issue but it really is! I rarely drink (I really don’t like the taste of alcohol at all… Rubbish student!) but I will drink spirits and sweet cider. Problem is, once you get past the student phase where you drink to fall over, everyone stops drinking spirits and starts drinking wine. I HATE the taste and I hate the way it makes me fall over after one glass. I cannot understand why anyone would want to drink it – nor do I understand the point in wine lists as it all tastes the same: horrid! I can possibly be persuaded into rosé wine but even that has to be cheap sweet stuff.
This inadequacy puts me into a childish position – the only one at dinner drinking lemonade, not wine. I am similarly intolerant to other ‘adult’ things – I don’t drink tea or coffee, I don’t smoke… Which means I’m constantly left out of the social habits adults are involved in. I’m not ready to be an adult whilst I’m still the only one who says ‘none for me, thanks’.
As a side note: when meeting my boyfriend’s father for the first time, he insisted I drank wine with dinner – before I was forceful enough to insist otherwise. That one incident was enough to put me off for life – being forced to drink something that makes my reactions slower was intensely triggering. I’m still waiting for the day when I ‘grow into it’ – but I think even if/when I do, I’ll be too triggered to partake anyway. Just another thing my past ruined.
I can’t/won’t cook When we moved into our first home together, in our first week we cooked every night. We felt very clever! Then the attraction wore off and now the less actual cooking we have to do, the better. My boyfriend is a very good cook, but I have huge food issues and so he rarely cooks ‘proper’ meals. I have zero culinary skills – I’m a pretty mean baker but anything savoury is a no-go. In the last few months lots of our friends have moved in together – all inviting us for the weekend and cooking beautiful meals and showing how adult they are. Whilst I enjoy entertaining, we always eat out when we have guests. There is something about home-making that I am missing (see below…) which, if I could find it, would make me feel more grown up.
When I am settled back into therapy that isn’t imminently ending, I will need to start looking at my issues with food. I hold a huge number of unhealthy rules and regs around food that restricts me in eating like a normal, functioning adult. Watch this space!
I hate cleaning I have no excuse for this one. I just hate it. It is pointless and repetitive and I really just can’t find any pleasure in it. This partially comes from having animals in the house – I could quite literally clean all day and end up locked in a constant cycle as they make mess where I’ve cleaned. I would love to be the sort of person who has a pristine house, but in reality I clean when we have guests or when my boyfriend moans because the dust and dog hair is above his head again (ok maybe I’m not that bad, but…). My mother cleans obsessively and I am definitely a product of rebellion against that… But maybe one day I’ll grow up enough to find bleach interesting for more than it’s relation to self harm.
The only exception I have to this is clean sheets. If I could have clean sheets every day I would! I’m wondering whether I need to start making baby steps into other areas other than fresh sheets… at least finding obsessions gives me motivation!
I could wear PJs all day
I had a horrifying thought the other day – when I’m actually employed and not just a student bum, do I have to stop wearing my PJs in all situations except those where I will encounter the public?! Adults seem very glamorous and well dressed… whereas I could definitely survive between sweatpants, hoodies and tank tops. Being an adult probably means not doing the horses in my wellies and PJs… It probably means not taking the dog out for final wees in my slippers. It almost definitely means actually brushing my hair every day. I’m sorry, but I am just not ready. I’d rather revert back to babygrows.
Interestingly, when on work placements I enjoy being dressed up every day and the structure certainly helps my mental health. Hmmm, maybe adulthood is going to suddenly click into place over the next few days (wait… does that mean T1 is right…again?)