Epiphanies at Twenty Is Over

Starting today I am twenty-one years old; therefore, “Epiphanies at Twenty” is over. I was going to publish a final epiphany before my twentieth year was done, but I never got around to it. I’ve been a bit busy with the death of my mother. With that said, I am going to list all the epiphanies I’ve shared so far just because I love you so much. I’m also going to briefly share one now.

Final Epiphany: You Really Do Have to Grow Up

Yes, yes you do. I’ve been trying to avoid it as much as possible, but lo and behold, I have to do it after all. Recently I’ve been noticing instances where I have to do things for myself that previously an adult or parent would do for me. Sometimes I just leave those things alone because I don’t want to do them (because I’m lazy), but the adults are really busy with work and what not so sometimes I have to get off my butt and get them done. (Isn’t it weird that I still say “the adults” like I’m not  one of them?) My mother dying has made me realise even more that I have to grow up. I have to become more and more independent the longer I live, and I have to start getting things done on my own. I can’t keep waiting around for people – grown ups – to come and help me. I have to make the first move and try to do it myself. Not that I haven’t been told this before, I have, but today I had the epiphany. I should actually say yesterday since it’s past midnight. I should have written this post yesterday. Anyway, this is the last epiphany I will share with you for now.

And now, for all the epiphanies in the order they were published:

People Aren’t Perfect, They’re People

Laughter Is a Cover-Up

I Procrastinate Way Too Much

I Live Mostly in Retrospect

I Hate Underwear

I’m a Hater

I’m Selfish

Epiphanies at Twenty: I’m Selfish

I knew this before I was twenty, but I’ve come to really embrace it recently. A while back, my older sister, who was staying with us for a while, called me selfish. Mind you this was because I didn’t want to do something that she wanted me to. I didn’t like that. I didn’t like her calling me selfish because I didn’t fulfill a request of hers. I’ve never thought of my younger sister as selfish for not doing something I told her to. She’s just mean and likes having her own way. But who doesn’t?

Really? Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t want to have his own way? It’s called will. We are all individuals with our own individual wills. Me not wanting to do something for someone doesn’t make me selfish. Or I guess it does, since that’s the point I’m trying to make. I am selfish. I am. I want to have things go my way, and I get upset when they don’t. So does everyone else I know. It’s just that our reactions to not having things go our way are different. Some people really don’t mind it much, and good for them, but some do. I do.

So what if I don’t want to do something you ask me to? I’m selfish? Yes I am. And you’re not? You don’t also think of yourself first? Not really venting about my sister here, but I have seen it in her, in myself, and in others. We all have things we like or want, and things we dislike. Choosing someone else’s preference over your own, especially if you don’t share that preference, is considered a good thing to do. I think so too. And it’s something we all have to do. It’s called compromise; keeping the peace. Whatever. What I have a problem with is people calling other people out for things when they’re on the same ship on seats that are right next to each other. Calling someone selfish because that person doesn’t want to do something for you is crap. It’s crap because that person might have a damn good reason for choosing not to fulfill your request. And it’s crap because if that person asked you to do the same favour you would probably say no as well.

I’ve been thinking about this for over a year now. I really didn’t like her calling me selfish, because she was being selfish at the same time. She was thinking about herself and trying to hand off work that she could do herself but didn’t want to. It was wrong of her, but it helped me to realise that I am selfish – that a lot of us are, and it’s not a bad thing. That’s just the way we are. We all want what we want. And sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, we have to put what we want – what we need – before what someone else wants or needs. So am I selfish? Yes I am, and it’s time that you admit you are too.

Epiphanies at Twenty: I’m a Hater

Yes I am. I’m a hater.

I’ve been hearing the word “hater” a lot lately. I’ve seen it on T-shirts, caps, in tweets, Facebook statuses, and Instagram pictures. Apparently, haters are unwanted people that get jealous, or even become hurtful, when they see someone else becoming successful. In Jamaica we call that “badmind”. Badmind is your friend who suddenly starts to talk badly about you to others when you start to rise up out of a bad situation that both you and that friend have always been in. Badmind is when someone you’ve known all your life, perhaps a distant cousin, steals from you some new item you’ve bought that you were not able to previously purchase. Basically, badmind is used to describe someone who is in opposition to you becoming happy and successful, or at least happier and more successful than he or she is.

That’s not what I am though. I am happy for people when I see them making a way for themselves. I admire people who have the courage and the will to start their own businesses or who work hard and go after what they want. I wish I could be like them. What I am, is a hater of myself. Pretty strong statement, but one that is true for many of us.

For me it’s beauty mostly. I grew up thinking that I wasn’t pretty although my mother and family friends would tell me that I was. I just didn’t believe them. That’s not what I was seeing. That’s not what I understood from observing people around me. I saw pretty people. And I looked nothing like them. They looked nothing like me. I noticed that they were always with each other. They didn’t spend much time around me. I noticed the people that did stick around me. Not me as a person really, but they were just physically there. The pretty people were together somewhere else.

I wanted to be with them, the pretty people. I wanted to be where they were. Now, they’re even more noticeable. They get a million likes on all their pictures, and their selfies always come out great. They don’t even have to do anything. Even if they’re not smiling, or deliberately trying to look cute, they just look beautiful in their pictures. I wish I looked nice in all my pictures.

People watching is also something I do a lot. I look at people, what they’re wearing, who they’re with, even how they walk. I sense their attitude, and wonder what they’re like, what their lives are like. I notice, again, that pretty people are always with other pretty people. How is it that they just stick to each other like that?

I always look at these people with some kind of longing inside me. Knowing I don’t look like them and thinking it would be nice if I did. I’m not jealous of them. I don’t hate them. I just…think…why do they get to look like that and I don’t?

Epiphanies at Twenty: I Hate Underwear

This one I realized yesterday at work. I was wearing a set of panties that I had bought because the packaging said that it would never ride up. Do I need to tell you that the packaging lied? It did. It lied. All the panties that I bought with that packaging ride up. That prevents me from walking in peace. It prevents me from living in peace actually. I can’t stand, sit, walk, or stoop down, without having to “fix” my panties every time. And this is in public people! I don’t want to have to pull my underwear from my butt when I’m in public. I’m always having to check if anyone is around or behind me so that no one will see me do it. Sometimes I get a chance to do it quickly, but then I don’t do it right and it’s still there, and I have to keep moving around with the discomfort.

Bras are a problem too, now that I think about it. I have scars from those. Stupid wiring. They’re always coming out of the bras and poking and scraping me, and while they’re in there they squeeze me. Is there some reason I need to go through this? I hate it really. My favourite days are pajama days, where I spend the entire day at home in my pajamas with no bra because I didn’t my change my clothes after I woke up because I didn’t need to. If my panties decide to shift around, I’m at home anyway so I can yank them out without anxiety.

While at work yesterday I was thinking that maybe thongs could be a solution for the shifting panties, but I’d have to be very selective about those because I would have to endure a thin piece of material between my buttocks. They aren’t that bad, but not entirely comfortable either. Larger panties that cover the entire butt are good too. I like those. Most of the clothes that I wear don’t go well with them however, and l don’t see them a lot in stores anyway. I guess I’m doomed then. I’ll have to suffer with underwear for the rest of my life.

Epiphanies at Twenty: I Live Mostly in Retrospect

These days I’ve been finding myself, at the end of day, going over every detail – as much as possible – of something I enjoyed in the hours before. Actually it doesn’t have to be something I enjoyed, it just has to be something that impacted me strongly in some way. This therefore includes being hurt or offended by someone.

I don’t know exactly why I do this. For the good times, I’m trying to remember them, and keep that good feeling with me for as long as I can. For the negative times however, I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t like being offended of course, nor do I like being on the receiving end of negative or harsh words, but I find myself going over these things in my mind, even long after they have occurred.

The first time I went roller skating. I relived the night when I got home. I did the same thing the first time I went ice skating. Last week I had my first real kiss, so of course I’ve been reliving that. The last time my father made me cry, I relived that too. I danced with a guy for the first time yesterday and I definitely have been replaying that in my head. I also find myself thinking a lot about myself when I was younger in Jamaica.

It’s my habit to do this sort of thing at night before I go to bed. I don’t review the day, just something good, or that I want to think about. I do it to make myself fall asleep – not that it works. Sometimes too, I go over things that have just happened. I just recently realized that I really do this a lot. If I’m not imagining some future occurrence, I’m thinking about something that happened before. Again, I’m not sure why I do this, it’s just something I noticed.


Epiphanies at Twenty: I Procrastinate Way Too Much

This one just hit me. It’s 7:22 in the morning and I haven’t been to sleep yet. I just couldn’t. I’m tired, but I couldn’t fall asleep. I had the lights off, I had music on. I fall asleep to music every night, but last night, it just wasn’t working. Honestly, I’ve been having trouble sleeping for a while now. I just get really restless at night and I can’t sleep until around 3 am. 

At 3am this morning I was on my second episode of a drama I’ve been wanting to watch. I thought it would help me sleep. I was tired anyway. I think I’m on episode four right now. I stopped half way to see if I could try to sleep again. Didn’t work. I got on the phone and called Discover student loans and asked them how quickly they could get funds to my school if I took a loan from them. They said around eight business days. The deadline to pay for fall tuition is this Friday. 

What the hell is wrong with me? What have I been doing this whole month? Is there some reason I didn’t take care of this earlier? The only thing I have to keep me busy is my one part-time job. About twice a week I make dinner. Why the hell didn’t I do this earlier? Watching Doctor Stranger only took three days. The other things I’m watching don’t have all the episodes out yet so I have to wait for them. It’s not my newly found social life either, or my boyfriend (I have one now). I’m such a…ugh. How did I ever make it through school up to now?

Epiphanies at Twenty: Laughter Is a Cover-Up

I was asked once how come I’m so happy. I was taken back by this question and wondered why it was thought that I was happy. I asked. What makes you think I’m happy? The response I got was that I was always laughing. Hmm. I thought about that. I do laugh a lot. Laughing is something I like to do. But that doesn’t mean I’m a happy person. I’m not a happy person. 

The truth is I use laughter as a sort of disguise for whatever negative feeling I have, whether it’s sadness or anger or loneliness. I laugh because it makes me feel better. If even for just a moment, laughter allows me to forget that I am sad, or that I’m frustrated, or that I miss my mother. I scroll down my Facebook feed, watch funny videos, and laugh my ass off. I watch dramas, and those take to me to an entirely different place, where I lose myself in the lives and minds of fictional characters. 

Laughter has begun to lose its touch though. I’ve come to realize that I’m using it intentionally, because I can’t be bothered to think about all the things I have to do and the people I have to deal with, because I can’t be bothered to think about all the responsibilities I’m acquiring as I grow older. While I’m watching that funny video on Facebook I’m still thinking. There’s a voice in my head reminding me that the real world is still there waiting for me, and that I will have to look at it again when I’m done laughing. The videos don’t even work anymore; they’re not that funny. My smile doesn’t last long after they’re over. 

I guess to someone observing me from a distance I appear to be a happy person. I smile and laugh a lot, I make other people laugh, and I always keep the mood light. I think I do this because I need to, because I need something different from my list of worries. When I’m around people outside of home I’m fine. I can be light and funny. Other than that I just mope really. Sometimes I try to write in my journal, but there are no words I know that can express whatever is going on with me. Today a friend asked me what was wrong. I told him there were too many things. Then I told him I would like to know. It would be good if I knew what was wrong with me. That way I could tell him.

Epiphanies at Twenty: People Aren’t Perfect, They’re People

I’ve always felt pressured to follow the rules, to stay out of trouble and be good. I grew up being known as a good girl, and even the other day was called one of the good ones. I’ve always been polite to everyone, and I treated people the way I wanted them to treat me. When guys swore around me they would always apologize saying they forgot that I was there, or one would tell the one who swore to stop because a Christian girl was present. People thought I was a Christian before I became one.

When I did become a Christian, a real one, I followed the rules more strictly. There were a lot of them too. I tried hard to be the best Christian I could be, and that meant being a perfect Christian. When Jesus said to be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect, I took that very seriously. It was my mission, so to speak. I would do everything right, and become perfect. Needless to say, I failed — miserably.

While I was on my way to being perfect, I used to look with disapprobation at others I thought weren’t doing it right. I used to look at what they were wearing, how they spoke, and the way they behaved. I don’t think I ever considered myself as better, in fact I hated being praised by the elders of the church. I did, however, dislike the feeling that I was the only one trying to be good, to do well, to follow all the rules properly.

The thing is, my father was raised strictly, and he raised my sisters and me the same way. We were to do as we were told, and if we didn’t we would feel it (take a guess at to what it was). Then I ended up going to a church that was also very strict — another follow-the-rules type of upbringing — and I was fine with it. It was what I was used to; you tell me what I need to do, and I do it. And it worked, that is, when I had faith in the one making the rules.

I had always been taught that God was perfect, that He never made mistakes. He knew everything, and He was everywhere. Nothing could be hidden from Him. He was all-everything. So was the Bible. It was the word of God, His love letter to man. We got closer to God by studying His word daily and making it a part of our lives. This was fine too, until three years into my Christian walk I started to realize that something was off.

It turned out the Bible did contradict itself, contrary to what everyone at church said. To any seeing eye, there were things in the Bible that clearly contradicted each other, and I don’t care if they’re only numbers from Numbers and Ezra, or Numbers and Leviticus, or whatever two books I saw the numbers in that didn’t match. Something is either infallible, or it isn’t. While I used to roll my eyes in my head at atheists and other non-Bible believers for not understanding what was so clearly written in the Bible, I started to feel a bit unsettled. There were things wrong that couldn’t be explained away, and apparently everyone knew, but they were all ignoring them. The ones who didn’t believe had good reason for not believing.

I started to fall away a little. Everything started to look different; the Bible, our devotional, the sermons. It was all wrong. The thing I’d been building my life on wasn’t what I thought it was, and I was using it to judge people, and myself.

I took a step back, a tiny step, and I kept walking backwards, looking at things differently, thinking about them differently. I started to not take things so seriously, and to see more and more that people make mistakes. People make a lot of mistakes. I had, my parents had, my friends had. That doesn’t make us wicked or terrible people. We’re still people just the same.

It’s okay to wear nail polish. It’s okay to listen to music that isn’t gospel. Some people are a bit more stylish than others, that doesn’t mean they’re farther away from God. So what if someone wears jewellery? As long as they don’t let that take away from their relationship with God. God doesn’t judge by outward appearance, why are we? People who swear still need love, and they know how to give it too. People with tattoos aren’t bad or anything, maybe they just like tattoos. There isn’t anything wrong with them. And it’s not the worst thing in the world to have sex before you get married. That’s a touchy one, and I think I am going to wait, but I hate feeling like someone has less worth for doing that. The person is still a person. Not that I’m completely okay with all of this, and everything still has its place, but people who do things we aren’t in support of are still people who need other people. So they’re not perfect, so they don’t fit our standard or suit our taste. They’re still people, and we need to think of them as people. I want to think of them as people.

I’m sorry that it took me this long to realize all this, and that I hadn’t been very understanding of others before (although it was just in my head), but here I am at twenty years old, finally coming to terms with the fact that I’m not perfect, that people aren’t perfect, that all of us are just people.