Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Can't Go Back Now"

"Yesterday, when you were young, everything you needed done was done for you. Now you do it on your own, but you find you're all alone. What can you do? You and me, walk on, walk on, walk on cause you can't go back now. You know there will be days when you're so tired that you can't take another step. The night will have no stars and you'll think you've gone as far as you will ever get. But you and me, walk on, walk on, walk on cause you can't go back now. And yeah, go where you want to go. Be what you want to be. If you ever turn around, you'll see me. I can't really say why everybody wishes they were somewhere else, but in the end, the only steps that matter are the ones you take all by yourself. And you and me walk on, walk on, walk on cause you can't go back now."
                                                                                                      -The Weepies

Monday, March 4, 2013

"______ Brooke"

Growing up, you are given labels by adults and people around you. As a child, you accept these labels and move on with your life. It’s not until you are older that you realize the weight these labels may have carried. When you’re a particularly small person growing up, your size is always pointed out to you, so much that sometimes your name actually becomes “little Brooke”. That one defining characteristic becomes just as much an identity as your name. And there is a strange (usually self directed) pressure to fit into that label for as long as possible. Now this is not to say I didn’t love my “label” growing up; In fact, I still smile when my friends start an e-mail with “Dear little Brooke...” It made me feel special. I felt/feel like it was a part of who I was. But as you grow up, your body changes and you become less “little”. So now what? Now who are you? You are now “just Brooke”, and that can be terrifying. So you have a few choices. You can try to find another way to identify yourself. You can do some self discovery. But that can also be pretty terrifying, and if you have minimal self-esteem, it’s pretty hard to fill in that blank. I’m not the best at anything. I’m not “smart Brooke” or “athletic Brooke” or “popular Brooke” or any of those things. And that’s okay, because I never have been. But I have been the best at being “little”. So as humans, we tend to stick with the familiar and what we know we're good at. So you strive to go back to being “little Brooke” or “_____ (your name here)”. And if that doesn’t work, you fall into the trap of letting society label you. And you get angry and frustrated and you cry and cry, because no matter how hard you try, you can’t go back. And then it hits you like a bug on a windshield. This is what growing up is all about. It’s about redefining yourself and finding out who you really are, aside from the labels other people have given you. Much like ripping off a bandaid, it can hurt trying to remove old labels. And in that time when you are no longer “little Brooke”, but have also not quite found a new way to define yourself, you feel vulnerable, label-less, and naked. But what I am learning is that it’s actually (and surprisingly) okay to be “just Brooke” or “just (whoeveryouare)”. I’m learning to accept that my friends didn’t love me because I was “little”; they loved me because I was/am Brooke. And that in itself is amazing and beautiful and confusing and scary all at the same time.