An Essay Collection: 6 Things I Panicked About In My Twenties
The current and past crises in this second aged decade I've survived so far.
When I was fifteen years old, I had these hypothetical predictions of what I wanted in my twenties. I expected to have a boyfriend at twenty years old, I expected I would have lost thirty pounds at twenty years old. I expected to be employed as a cosmetologist at twenty-one years old.
I expected a lot at the age I reached my second double digit decade, but it would be my first of adulthood. It was like my version of the movie Big and 13 Going on 30 as a odd combination between fascination for the future and the ambitions.
It's nice to daydream about what is to come or what might happen, but instead I had learned about the realism for my decisions, whether it was pre-coping for the outcome or dealing with the aftermath and accepting what happened. I had to be a more realistic person, not for what I wanted, but to give me a piece of peace for mind.
I've only navigated five years into my twenties and I've had to change and I didn't gain any of which I expected. I didn't alter my life to accommodate what I wanted to happen at these designated times of my life I originally hypothesized to have. It had to wait a while longer while I had to make changes for myself for unshakeable problems.
This is a recent problem that I had that made me want to make this article by starting out with the one not a lot think about. We depend on our ears, and yet it's the one part of ourselves in the senses that we don't cater to. We actually make it worse with certain decibel altering decisions.
I’m no saint , I’ve been that person to blast up the speakers to max volume for my own little car concert. It was fun , fulfilling , and amazing when I got the independence to drive my own car. I turned the music up loud going down desolate roads to enjoy my own company and make my own scene in my head associated with any song that came on my phone to be blasted on the speakers.
Then, I came home a few weeks ago and found my right ear was different. It did a long ring , then it became altered, I could feel it. I would do the yawning test to see if I could feel my ears pop, my left could but my right could not. I tested it with headphones and I found that when I lifted different sides of the headphones off to see a difference in my hearing , to my surprise, it was the same. So I assumed it was temporary hearing loss and I would be OK.
In the next days from that , there was a ringing my left ear , and that alarmed me. I could only assume my left ear was getting pressure from having to be the one to be the strong one for hearing due to my right ear having difficulties.
I told my grandpa that I wanted to go to the doctor but I wanted to wait a couple months because of the pandemic. There are other important medical problems that other people have that are worse then mine. Mine is a minor thing that I was gonna work through , take some medicine like zinc and folic acid and power through it.
Then Labor Day , there was a pressure I never felt before in my head, I was trying write an article while listening to My Darkest Days and, my ears were straining itself to hear anything. I had to lie back on my bed and go on my phone for a while to distract myself with the fact that I might have some some damage to my hearing.
My grandpa thought it was wax build up, so I heeded his advice about putting warm water in my good ear (the left one) to try and irrigate it out . That only put more pressure and strained my only good hearing in my left ear. The water never came out as he said it was supposed to do, which scared me even more.
It was my second health scare, it was the worst I had ever experienced because it was one that I never thought about at all and I abused my hearing with my irresponsible nature to not take care of my hearing like I do with my teeth or eye sight. I was terrified to lose my hearing because I was reckless with my sound system and abused it for my own amusement to be that one to play music loud in my car. That recklessness to listen to music would be what ruined my ears after years of not heeding the warnings about turning down the music. I joked about being deaf one day and accepting it, but with the state of my hearing, I started to fear that joke would come true and I hindered my hearing at a young age.
Or so I thought.
The day after Labor Day, I went to the doctor and all my self-diagnosing was wrong. It was just a sinus infection, my ears were perfectly fine, I felt the weight of worry disappear knowing that it would be OK after five days of taking my prescribed medicine.
I had worked myself into a paranoid state of fear by assuming that I would have to hear muffled noises and never get to enjoy music again.
The hear scare did make me finally take in the warning to stop making my own car concerts when I'm driving. I'll give the paranoid promise that much.
The Persistent Perfection To Be Pretty
I had to be prim, posh, perfect.
The word messy didn’t exist when it came to looking dolled up.
My hair had to be perfectly curled, any part of my makeup couldn't be out of place. Seems like something I wouldn't panic about in my twenties, but when the idea of looking good was taken to an extreme to constantly worry about maintaining my own image. It gave me an anxiety trip that I had to be sure I looked good leaving my house, not because of what others day but because I'll know if I left without fixing something to my hair or adding something for makeup.
I couldn't be comfortable in my own skin, it had to be painted in layers of makeup to achieve the mask I put up.
It would drive me to articulate insanity to see any piece of hair that didn't curl perfectly. I had micro analyzed myself so much that people pointing out something wasn't what worried me. I couldn't be satisfied with my style and appearance.
But in time, as I got older, naturally there were changes. My eyes worsened and my hair got very damaged with an odd change.
But I endured it, I forced myself to go through the pain in order to be this perceived view of pretty. I had to be sure it was overdone, I would apply more eyeshadow, I over hairsprayed my hair to be sure it would look great. After I was done getting ready, I never smiled, I had to check to see if everything was at least tolerable to myself to go out the door.
I didn't even enjoy being dolled up anymore, I deprived myself to enjoy getting ready and liking the way I looked. It was robotic to over-analyze and scrutinize myself.
In August 2019 to the current month of September 2020, there were changes.
Stress did a number on my hair. In March, it began to be stringy and greasy. I didn't do anything out of the usual regime, and it baffled me. I had to ease up on the heated styling I did to my hair, I learned to finally take care of my hair in the changes it was going through. Just spritzing some dry shampoo to give it some life again was better then having to go almost frying my hair to get a heat wave.
My eyes gradually got worse in irritation. For years, my eyes have been ridiculously sensitive, my sight was great but something in my eyes would be irritated out of nowhere and It was painful to have my eyes open or closed.
In the summer of 2019, after a retinal injury that made me withdraw from cosmetics for weeks til the healing of my eye, I finally got to look at myself. I saw that I had some parts to my appearance I never noticed because I never took the time to notice the natural makeup on my face. I never noticed the natural shadow in my crease of my eye, I never noticed how much freckles I have on my face, I never noticed that I had fairly decent skin that was clean and healthy and yet I kept covering it up with heavy amounts of foundation.
It was hard to leave the house without makeup after being used to feeling uncomfortable without the mask I've made. It took an injury that blurred my right-eye sight temporarily for me to appreciate what I covered up for years.
I got to appreciate the genetic makeup I had, to feel OK without putting up a make-up mask and helmet of over-hairsprayed hair and over-teased curls.
It took ten years, but I was finally comfortable with my own skin to be clean of cosmetics. I could leave the house knowing I look like a semi-decent looking human without cosmetics.
It’s natural to worry about loneliness
I spent a lot of my time jealous of others, I’d see Facebook posts of friends of mine getting to hang out with mutual friends I knew, or how I was envious of their changes to have those gatherings.
I had to get the mindset to tell myself that I know that there are others that love me and cherish me as a friend, and I can’t compare my my friendship to others . People have a different placement in how their role is made , it could be more introverted or extroverted , I can’t mold someone into the friend I want. They came into my life, they have made the initiative, and that’s what matters to me. Not the spontaneous adventures or amount of humor they had. They accepted me for my flaws and wanted to do anything with me . They also have their own values, needs, of what I can accommodate to. It needs to be an equal playing field, the adventures and shenanigans are great. But it only fueled my loneliness that I needed to think realistically about wanting someone that can be more then just adventures, someone that will be compassionate to care. Someone that’ll pick up the phone if I have a problem or don’t hesitate to call when I say I got into a car accident.
Which that segues right into my personal experience I'm going to share. For pronoun anonymity, the not so good friend I'm going to describe will just be called "This friend". The other I will be mentioning will be called "Concerned Friend". That will be able to correctly describe and separate who exactly I'm talking about.
In 2016, I was 21, I had my first lesson in a duality of what I presumed in someone for a friend and what I got in the end that changed me forever.
I was going to a anime convention, I was excited to spend the weekend with a friend that seemed to be promising because of our common issues that we took comfort in each other for. We made plans around what we were going to do and they were excited to have me stay with them.
That weekend had a rough start, literally, I got into a car accident on my way there (I was the passenger). In hindsight, I should have stayed home because of the injuries and mental state I had from the car accident, the welts on my chest, and the soreness on my face from the impact of the accident.
I was adamant on getting to see this friend because that weekend for all the stuff we planned was what kept me going in some dark days I had.
All that I expected, all that I wanted, all that hope . It faded within the first day I got to the friend’s house. This friend wasn’t compassionate or sympathetic. I was in pain and I was hungry, when I got to this friend’s house. I was nitpicked at me for taking all the food (a small bowl of spaghetti out of a whole fridge of food). I was confused why I was picked on and scolded for taking something I was offered . It was weird to see a sudden change in someone I was gave trust to.
I had told another friend of mine about my accident , later on that night , I got a phone call that I missed, she went out of her way to make sure I was OK. She was concerned for me and that did make the pain in my heart ease up to know someone cared. I knew I would see her on Saturday of the convention because I wasn't quite sure what her schedule was like on Friday. I was so entranced by my presumed plans to work out with this friend I was staying with. I thought things would get better and it was only a weird aura for the time being.
During the convention, on Friday, this friend barely talked to me , was absorbed in their phone. I felt shunned and isolated. If I said anything of importance, it wasn't taken into consideration, and it was laughed off.
On Saturday was when things got worse with this friend I stayed with, I was still weak, they barely waited for me at any moment during the morning to get food or attend any of the events and see any mutual friends of the cosplayers we met at the convention. During the morning of Saturday, my mental health was starting to get to me as I never really processed the car accident .
This friend didn’t care too much for what I went through. Didn’t care to ask how I was doing even though they saw the weak state I was in. On Saturday it was apparent this friend needed to do their own thing. I said I would catch up with them at the cosplay photoshoot.
In the afternoon, I was sluggishly perusing the vendor room and I ended up finding my concerned friend that called me the day of the accident. We chit chatted, she asked how I was doing. I told her all the details of what happened, that me and my mother were OK despite minor air bag injuries. She held onto every word and cheered me up. First time in the duration of the convention, since accident, I was happy. The vibe was great , we chatted about anything. I didn’t felt like I had someone in my corner, and someone who was appreciative of me.
We attended the cosplay photoshoot together, we didn't really leave each other's side. We were like Peas and Carrots as Forrest Gump would put it. She bought lunch for us because she said and still says to this day in our friendship "You are my excuse to eat," or "Ma'am you better put your card away". She offered if I wanted to swimming. I told her I don’t having a bathing suit, she said that she would gladly improvise an alternative swimming outfit for me.
So I went swimming wearing a Legend of Zelda T-shirt and matching shorts in the hotel pool. That was the highlight of my weekend. To have fun with someone that wanted me to be there. To just fall into a puzzle where these pieces fit.
On Saturday night, the concerned friend and I talked about the people we were with at the event and how unhappy we were and glad we could spend time together. It was a odd coincidence that we had people that we were with that said they couldn't wait to hang out with us, then decided to do other activities without thinking of accommodating or caring for the other. Just to be left behind without any hesitation.
My concerned friend had mentioned that she was going to go home, I really debated on piping up and asking to go with her since we lived in the same area. I knew that she wouldn't have minded, but I didn't want to abuse the kindness if there was something else she had planned to do.
When I went to this friend’s home later on that night , that’s when clarity finally hit. I asked a question about what costumes to do for Sunday , they didn’t care, then looked up at me with a sneer and said , “What?”
I knew this friendship with this friend was over before it could begin .
On Sunday, the last day of the convention, this friend barely talked to me . As soon as they got out of the car they did their own thing. There was another problem I had to get though, I had to arrange another way to get home because my mother was unable to get me due to a personal problem she was going through. I knew I would figure something out. I messaged my concerned friend, and she said that she had no problem taking me back home. I was so grateful to her that she could help me out.
Later on this friend caught up to me with a shallow smile. Asked me what was wrong. I said I was tired. Then they shrugged it off and went to go hang out with their new friends.
I was upset , the whole weekend finally got to me . The car accident that I never coped with got to me .
I remember sitting in a nearby booth, I was crumbling underneath .
This “friend”, had texted me.
(This segment was hard to remember due to this being five years ago and how harsh this conversation was. It's summed up to the best of what my memory will allow to recall.)
Them: What's going on?
Me: Honey I was in a car accident. I'm tired, it's been a stressful weekend
Them:I know what stress is! You've just been distant. You won't talk to me
Me: I'm sorry, it's been an off weekend. Where are you now?
Them: I went home, Come get your stuff.
Then that's when it hit me. I was all alone, this friend didn't even tell me they left and didn't care. I was so hurt by this friend and I had to go back to their place to collect my things. They did what they wanted all weekend and I never fit in anywhere in their schedule. I never fit in this friendship I had with them.
I wasn't quite sure when my other friend would arrive and I just wanted to go home.
Minutes after that conversation, my concerned friend showed up. I found out that she decided to skip the last day because it just wasn't worth it with her troupe she arrived with. But she came back for me. She made a hour long trip to come back to get me because she cared.
That act of kindness mixed with the heartless conversation I endured with the ex-friend had unleashed the deluxe waterworks package and I started sobbing.
She held me as I fell to pieces over the weekend that just was absolute misery. I cried that I wanted to go home. After I got the sobs out of my system, she went to the concession stand to buy us some fries and I got the drinks for us. She waited until I got some strength back to go over to the now ex-friend's house to collect my bags and costumes.
The shallow friend barely spoke to me as I gathered my things. Gave me the side hug and shut the door.
On the car ride home, my concerned friend and I had our usual chatter, and the tunnel was coming up, the tunnel was where the car accident happened. Where my mom and I got sandwiched in a tunnel between two cars. She started slowing down and asked me if I was OK and if we needed to stop before going into the tunnel. The fact that she remembered that was where the accident happened, it meant a lot to me to make sure I was OK to go through the place where the accident happened two days prior. I held my breath for a moment, and I told her that I would be OK and I thanked her for asking me.
I remember she said, "None of this would have happened to you today if I just dragged you to church with me."
It made my mouth agape with surprise at the genuine comment. We all have those moments we wish for when someone makes a comrade comment to show how much they value you or make the concerned statement of what happened, but in their own words. She had she hated what had happened to me that day, she hated what had happened to me the whole weekend. That I didn't get compassion or care from the person I stayed with, and I running on fumes. I harbored everything inside when I shouldn't have, no one should have to experience a car accident and then receive no sympathy for it. If I knew that would have happened on Sunday, I would have defiantly asked if I could go back home with her and I knew should have beamed to have someone who wanted to do leave and do something else then the current crapfest that was going on. If I had known what would have happened to me, I would have told my ex-friend that I had to leave in that instant, packed up my stuff that night and stayed the night in peace and comfort at her house that Saturday night.
Things might not what they appear to be in the friendship I idolized or blinded myself to push to believe. I had to believe in the good of people, not the decorations I gave them that shrouded my judgement.
Shrouding my judgement, it ultimately suffered me f0r the first couple of years in my twenties.
I changed it that I have the time share with people that want to share their time with me to know that these moments don't have to be crafted. It'll be a genuine moment that I look forward to.
The woman I mentioned in the story, we are still best friends to this day. That worst weekend led to me finding a best friend.
Love(Less and Mess)
It's like what The Blues Brothers sang, Everybody needs somebody to love. But that's harder for someone that constantly observes the extant of the date or a relationship so much that they forget to enjoy it. I've done that, and it was hard to be in a relationship or even go on a date because of my past of putting my predictions to be crafted to reality. It was a friction of fiction that really put a strain on my brain to figure out what I want. I let my over analyzing get the best of me and it was hard to figure out any sort of relationship or what I wanted out of casual dating.
In time, most of my over-analyzing was for the benefit that I was discovering, I had to know why exactly I was uncomfortable to be so doubtful. That I was uncomfortable with some of these for a reason. We find out why exactly we react in certain ways that isn't the usual way of relationship conduct that we have to be accustomed to.
Most of it was finding out that it was grey asexuality, that was one way to clear up the doubts I had about why I felt things one day and then I didn't. With grey asexuality, it's the feeling of the love for the romance and limiting the sex because of the occasional drive for it.
Sometimes a date would push it for a long kiss or a boyfriend would continually do something that I consented to. I would just lie there with a confused expression on if I enjoyed this or not. I did that for so long that it was hard to figure out for future relationships or dates if there was enjoyment or if it's feigning interest after years of trying so hard to make something work that it distorted all parts of love: yearning, attraction, desire, anything in the spectrum of love.
I've been so used to a warped sense of love over the years that I still find it hard to enjoy a date after years of people liking me only for my body. I couldn't tell what the feeling was in my stomach if it was a inkling feeling or a affectionate feeling.
I thought , What is wrong with me? Have I gotten that articulate about love that I have warped my mind to the point I've absolved love from being considered in my mind? Am I ever going to have a relationship where I can't nitpick something or feel something? Have I conditioned myself to be cut off from love?
I never let it soak in, I judged myself for so long and put a picky pedestal up for years to let it happen. I still analyze it, as many do, but it was hard to ruminate in another way. I disillusioned myself for so long I couldn't enjoy falling in love.
It'll take time to get the warped perspective purged completely. It's baby steps to figure out how love works, because realistically, it has to work out for them in their own way, one that isn't unrealistically perceived to be in a self-sabotaging way. I had my own type of love out there that I had to stop comparing to what others have. I had to learn that some types or stages of love may have not been my type of love.
If it was made to that articulate point of perception in that way-
then nobody gets somebody to love.
Money Made My World Go Round
I struggled with money, I will forever have a financial anxiety from the problems that I have endured at a young age. I witnessed how important money is as well as how hard it was to get in the positions that my mother and I were in with an income that made it hard to put food on the table. Anytime I spent money, I felt a guilt in my heart, even if it was for the smallest thing like a $3 button or a $4 DVD. Even if I wanted a single song off of iTunes. It added up in my head and I was doing the math of how much it would be subtracted from my checking account and I would have a overwhelming amount of anxiety that I was irresponsible. I had been in this intense mindset to constantly worry about money even when I have moments where I don't have to worry about money.
It was instilled in me at the age of thirteen to be careful with money. My mother told me that when I showed her a item I was about to buy without debating on if I needed it. That moment became embedded in my brain. It was a piece of advice that I was glad to have as a young child to be responsible with money, especially in the years to come where finances were increasingly difficult to come by and we had to scrimp and save any piece of money to pay the bills in the blue collar crumble of 2008.
In the years to come, money became very stressful, I couldn't enjoy buying something for myself because of the years of sacrificing what I wanted to pay the bills.
Even now when I make money on odd jobs and I am financially secure, when I am about to make a purchase, it stirs in me as I go to the check out counter with anxiety to spend money. Even if it is for something I desperately needed or something I can splurge on for a moment to enjoy to give back to myself after hard work or a particular hardship. I couldn't feel good about getting something for myself, I still saw it as selfish.
I would be strained with anxiety that I couldn't enjoy buying things for myself.
Until I found an outlet to give away and get back.
When I discovered store credit for certain stores that buy clothes or various media, it made a world of difference to getting to live a little with buying an item without guilt. Giving my stuff to be sold to clean out my cluttered room and replace it with a new item.
I started seeing it as letting it go of a past era of myself with this item and replacing it with something with the current part of my life I'm enjoying. It didn't guilt me to know I obtained this item from cleaning out my room to use it as a financial replacement. I could finally enjoy being able to give back to myself without the money misery. Even if I wasn't going to a certain store to give my items without it being used for store credit purposes, it felt good to know my items were worth something and I got some sort of money for it no matter the amount. Even in moments my sole purpose there was only to sell and not to have my items as store credit; whatever amount I got that was able to be taken and sold to the store gave me relief. Even if it was only $2.00, I saw it with positivity, that it's two dollars more then I originally had.
I had some alternative outcome for a small amount of change in a relaxed way of recycling and de-cluttering.
As I was gearing up for a road trip to see a best friend, I had as small apprehension about the financials to have for this trip. I remembered that I could go through my closet, get a bag of clothes I wasn't wearing anymore, take it to a second-hand store and see what they'll take and know that any little bit helps. It could be the start of a nest egg and things work out as they do.
Money isn't everything despite how it's what makes our world go round and round on a fast financial cycle.
But there is always a loophole that money truly doesn't buy happiness.
The Secret Of My Future Success
When I was nineteen, I had my idea for a story that I firmly believed to be the story missing from the bookshelves of story seekers. I had daydreams of the success that it would be beloved and turned into a television show, I even took it so far that I wanted to venture into being an actress to present my stories myself by portraying the characters I created. There were a lot of personal ties I was giving this dream of mine. I'm not gonna lie, I still want that. I still want to have my books be a success, have it transition to a television show and be an actress and play a character from the my own created series.
I wanted this success not for the fame, that was never the game plan. I never amounted to anything that really impressed some members of my family, it's been that way for years. Even some friends I told weren't that impressed or interested in my desire to be a story teller.
I knew that if they wouldn't listen, then I just knew there would be an audience that would.
When I had the thought that I had this eventual goal to take on the world, I kept going and writing to have this chapter begin.
But as time went on, I struggled to get my voice out there, and my inner demons with depression was getting rough for the road.
It was embedded into me to be successful, and it became a obsession that I scolded myself for constantly that I needed to work harder and get this dream faster before I get older. As another year tacked on, there was a hollow feeling in my stomach for the lack of achievement.
I would be driving around my hometown and that reoccurring thought would happen. Would the things I strive for ever happen as hard as I'm working? Will I ever get to achieve the success I want with having my series turned into a successful book series and wondering if I would ever get to be this successful person? I wanted things to change one day, and I hoped that it would.
I've read the success of others that sometimes they just get lucky like Robert Zemeckis that was under the wing of Steven Spielberg and it helped him get his stories out there. Then there are some like Charles Bronson, where he had to work tirelessly til 53 before he could finally get a serious leading man role. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote and starred in Good Will Hunting, showing their abilities to be a story teller and performer.
For years, I'd have tireless nights where I'd berate myself and degrade myself that I'd never get to where I want in life. I'd cry out my frustrations that I would be worried I would grow too old and I'd never get my stories out there.
But, it hasn't happened yet. I was scolding myself for something unaccomplished that has yet to come to light of accomplishment. I was trying to rush my own accomplishments that will happen.
I don't know how these stories will get there to someone. I don't know if I would get lucky and someone who would reach out to me and make these stories go to the screens to be presented. I don't know if I'll be the one to take on the reins and march down to a studio myself and pitch these stories as a television show. The thoughts go back and forth that I could get lucky, but I can't wait for luck to long, and it always seemed to me like that would be a lack of initiative. On the other point, not everyone's voice is heard to those who want the same things I do. Some things happen to the exact reason or there is a fate loophole and things happen differently, I don't like to say that things happen for a reason, the one reason that context with "a" meaning one. There are tons of reasons for things to work and I just haven't found how and what my route will be for success.
Despite the express of my stress, I know there are opportunities out there and I have to accept the slow process of how my published books are working their way through to be taken a chance to make this happen. It won't get there if people don't take a chance on it. How will people want this as a TV Show if there was never a keen interest in the first place to know it as a book?
So what I'm trying to say is success will get there, not by going to levels of extreme hard work that could affect mental health, nor too lax to just idle by until someone wants to see this happen without making any of the initiative.
It's a mix of both on the road to a successful achievements. That's my not-kept secret about that.
Those are my essays so far of how I endured strained situations.
Life is tough in the twenties, but there is a learning process to surpassing their own situation. I found my way the first five years and now I'll figure out how to navigate through the next five.