43 | Letting Go and Growing Up
listen to I Forgot That You Existed and let’s laugh with Taylor for growing up.
You know that feeling, the one where you wake up one day and suddenly, the day feels brighter? When you want to just throw away the covers, and run outside, soaking the sun’s warmth, no longer afraid to leave the dark confines of your mind? When the light doesn’t hurt your eyes but brings a smile to your face?
Yeah, that’s how I felt the coming Monday. After saying my goodbyes to Veronica, making things right with Tracy and Maggie and breaking up properly with Sean, I was confident and sure that I was at a better place.
The three of us had talked to our parents and we had permission to go on this trip. Surprisingly, it didn’t take us much to convince them. Grant called and talked to Mom and Dad for me, Maggie’s mom was feeling sympathetic for her younger daughter as Maggie is always babysitting Waverly if not at school or with us so she let her go. Tracy’s mom didn’t mind much when the other two of us had already been permitted and after talking to my parent’s and Maggie’s mom, she agreed too, as long as we didn’t include Kevin in the girl’s trip, not that we were going to.
The previous Saturday, our trio went shopping and it seemed like we bought the whole mall for our two week’s trip. My Sunday was spent preparing myself for the conversation with Sean and having me relieving my tiredness after I came back from seeing him.
Kevin was being his usual dramatic self when the three of us strictly told him not to follow us and we were surprised when we realized he was actually planning on it. He let the matters be when I gave him three of my Stephen Hawking books which caused Tracy to be dramatic, something about Kevin loving those books more than her.
Things were finally looking up and I was no longer thinking about the sad thoughts anymore. They just didn’t cross my mind. Earlier, Sean used to be the center of my thoughts, now, he’s just a passing comet that doesn’t burn my eyes with it’s brightness but makes me smile at the beautiful star it once was. I guess what people say is true, closure really brings a sense of calm to the storm in your brain.
Mom and Dad were happy, specially when I told them in detailed of the drama in my life, excluding the kissing mishaps ( don’t want Axel to die so soon now, do I?) and about my breakups with Sean and Veronica. It was more of a setting myself free-up but yeah, let’s use that common term we use for falling out of relationships.
Mom had cried mumbling how her daughter had grown up and was dealing with things like a mature adult. Dad had kissed my head, telling me that he was proud of me but he still wouldn’t feel bad about killing Sean. I just had to pout and say, “But Dad, who’ll look after me if they take you to jail?” for him to give up on his psychopath ideas.
When I had retired to my room, I had agreed to Mom’s words in my mind. I really had grown up.
I still remember what kind of person I was at the start of the senior year. Naive, cheerful, not caring of the future and living in the present kind of girl. The girl who loved without preamble and was never afraid to show it to those who she loved. Most importantly, I was the girl who was in too deep with a boy who wouldn’t even throw in a rope to pull her up.
Since then, I had felt the pain of falling in love for the first time, before that, I was free falling, suspended in air, still miles away from the ground. And suddenly, I was all over the place, the broken pieces of me scattered all over, some I couldn’t even see and find instantly. I didn’t even see it coming. One moment, I was flying, content and happy and giddy with the knowledge of falling in love with Sean Cooper. And the next, I was hitting the ground, not just scraping my knees but crushing every part of my soul.
It had taken being wrecked for me to understand how dangerous falling in love was. And I hadn’t wanted to get up, to look for the pieces of me, to glue myself back. I was afraid of standing up again and the thought of falling and flying for someone again - it was the biggest horror of my life.
But the people around me hurt to see me hurt. And even if they didn’t understand my pain, they felt it. They didn’t have ropes to pull me up so they held out their hands which I was too afraid to take, further crawling away into the darkness. But they helped me, gave me courage just by being there, standing above me, letting me know that they’ll instantly pull me up if I stretched my hand too, if I held onto them.
And they did. Grant, Mom, Dad, Tracy, Kevin, Maggie - everyone.
And while holding onto them, I got to see their scars too, the scars that were caused because they were pulling me up or the ones they held from when they had fallen back once but were courageous enough to climb up. Mom and Dad’s regular fights when I locked myself away, Tracy’s fear of falling in love after seeing me shattered, Grant’s pain of losing his daughter and almost losing the girl he loves.
Their scars gave me courage and hope to stand up again, to climb up again. The smiles on their faces when they looked at me as if I wasn’t broken but just having had a taste of life gave me hope. Because even when they were hurting themselves, they were happy because of me. And they were healing with me.
They made me question, that why should I cower myself away for the one who wouldn’t even peek in to see I was alright? Why should I keep hurting and bleeding for the one who wouldn’t even flinch seeing me wounded?
And so I took their hand, getting back on my feet and climbing up the pit of heartbreak I had fallen into, back on the ground of normality.
And it still hurt because the wounds were still fresh. But they were healing.
And then I met him, Axel, the guy who made me feel as if I was soaring the greatest heights with my feet still on the ground. The guy who I knew would have jumped in the pit of heartbreak with me too, if not to keep me safe then to feel the same pain I was feeling. And he did, only to end up hurt by me.
But with him, I’m not afraid of falling again. Maybe because I know that I can get back up if I do. Because I know that I can be courageous again to stand up and heal myself again. But mostly because I know that Axel will be there, flying with me, falling with me, maybe hitting the ground with me too.
And it might have been a hard, rocky ground the first time I fell, but with Axel, it would still feel like a bed of roses. And even if it doesn’t, I still wanna fall for him, with him.
I know things need to be made right with him. But that won’t be right until I have made things right with myself. And that is why I need this trip.
It is Monday and tomorrow, the three of us - Tracy, Maggie and I - we’re leaving, driving off to a few towns over, enjoy our mini holiday with each other before we dissolve into adult lives with finals, high school graduation and then college. Finally, my driving licence that has been romancing with dust all these times will come to use.
Growing up has always seemed fun and all when I was young. But now, as I am learning to struggle with simple things that seem complicated, it seems like a faraway childhood fantasy that is the biggest horror in reality.
But it’s breaking me and it’s making me. And with all the tears I’ve shed, I’ve grown to be a better, bigger and more mature person than I used to be. I see things differently, I deal with them differently.
I know, the first hard break is just the first level of many things I’m yet to face in life. It’s not the end, I’m aware. But I also know that I’m strong enough to face things head on. I’ve learned that it’s okay to cry with the moon as night comes, but with then, you have to rise just as fierce too. And even though growing up now feels like a scary movie that prevents you from sleeping at nights, that childhood fantasy of growing up that seemed like waking up with the first sunrise is too ethereal to give up on.