It's weird, being that person who doesn't change much, watching other people change or talk about big changes. How they aren't the same person they used to be. It baffles me. It makes me feel different. Other. Just like I always have. Being alienated as a child actually helped me to get to know myself much more quickly than most people.
I know not all changes are bad. Sometimes people have to shift over time to be the person they were meant to be. And that's okay, for some people. But the thing is, I've basically always known who I was. There were things about myself and what I believed in that I tried to deny to fit in better, whether with classmates or the church or whatever. But deep down, I knew how I really felt. Dropping out of school gave me the chance to accept myself as I am.
I always knew what I wanted to be, too. I've been a vegetarian since thirteen. A writer since ten. A make-believer/story-creator much longer than that. And searching for my soulmate as far back as I can remember. (Maybe what I've been looking for has changed a bit over the years, but it's only that I realized I deserved better. Someone who really loved and understood me.)
It's good, knowing yourself so well; it's constant and reliable. Though knowing who you are doesn't mean you never have doubts. It doesn't make everything else just fall into place, either. It doesn't mean you don't have limitations. The same ostracism that helped me know myself also left wounds that have handicapped me all these years later.
I am still young Jane Roberts. I'm still that nine-year-old girl with all of that passion and anxiety. I still rely so much on my Mother and can't be on my own. I'm still terrified of so many things (mainly people), and I'm just as lonely as I ever was. Maybe more-so after closing myself off so far away from people.
When I was young, I always felt older. Like I understood more than everyone else. Maybe every kid feels that way. I probably actually knew far less about life than the kids around me. But I did, at least, know more about myself than most of them could understand.
Now that I'm an "adult", I feel more like a teenager than I ever did at that age. I feel like I never developed past the age I left school. I am twenty-seven, and I barely feel seventeen. And I know I'm not alone in not feeling my age either, but few people are actually in the exact same situation they were in ten years ago. They are not as stuck as I am. They are not as crippled and ruled by anxiety as I am.
But through all this, I know who I am. And I love that person. I don't want to be anyone else.
"Your time as a caterpillar has expired; your wings are ready."
It doesn't mean I don't want my life to change. I'm dying to break free of the bud, to spread my wings and fly. But wanting it doesn't make it happen. Everyone wants to say that your only limitations are the ones you give to yourself. That you can choose to be happy.
Do you really think I wouldn't choose to be happy if I could choose that?
The truth is that mental and emotional illnesses are just as real as any physical limitation. If I could live on my own, I would. Believe me. At this point, I am absolutely sick over having to live in the situation I'm in. I feel so trapped I can hardly breathe.
I don't want to be normal anymore (though sometimes I still think I do). I have always had my own path to follow. And that's good. I wouldn't change that now. I love who I am, flaws and limitations and all. But I want a better, happier life. I want to break free from the circumstances that have held me in like a closed bud, and fly.
But I cannot fly on my own.