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Mermaid at Heart

by Heather Miller about a year ago in humanity ยท updated about a year ago
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And other "childish" ways to describe who I am

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Who am I?

Such a simple question, deceptively so maybe, but still. It's not a hard question. It's not the mathematical equations and formulas that gave me such grief in school.

Or is it?

If the question is truly so simple, why has it been so hard for me to write this?

At this age, you'd think that I would know who I am. I'm not the young ingenue any longer. I'm not a 20-something going out every weekend (and sometimes on Thirsty Thursday) anymore. I haven't been that person in many years, honestly. So why do I still struggle to introduce myself? To talk about myself?

Because maybe one small part of me really doesn't know. Maybe I'm still learning, still growing.

Maybe I'll never be finished at all.

I suppose the best place to start is with the basics. My name is Heather Lynn Miller, which is basically the most white-girl name you can ever hope to see (aside from maybe Karen *snort*) I'm 36 (yikessssss, it still hurts to think that) I was born in Washington D.C. I didn't grow up in the city but rather a small town about 25-30 minutes from it depending on traffic called Sterling, Virginia. (Northern Virginia is a vortex in and of itself and our traffic reflects this anomaly)

I am an only child but only partially fulfilling that stereotype. Ok, maybe more than partially but my mom did try her best to make me a functional human instead of a spoiled brat. And she succeeded. As did my dad, despite his reputation as the "easy" parent. I was definitely a daddy's girl growing up but now I consider both my parents absolutely my best friends. Without them, oh Lord. I would probably be living under a bridge like a troll.

I did not go to college, much to my mother's dismay, but I'm only 50% ashamed of this now. I used to make up stories about how I went to George Mason since I spent a lot of time there partying just so I didn't feel judged or less-than. Now, I know that while college is important for a variety of reasons, it is not the end-all measurement of a person's intelligence. Despite my regrets, I worked a lot of retail jobs once I graduated high school that taught me A LOT about the world and the people that populate it (not all of it good, sadly)

With that out of the way, we can try to dive into the more complex aspects of me.

I am obsessed with mermaids. Yes, I am aware it is "childish". No, I will not stop being obsessed. I used to swim year round from probably age 8 until about 20 or so. I have always loved the water and when I was young I made my poor parents watch The Little Mermaid over and over again. I finally got my first tattoo this year and it has mermaid scales and a quote from a song that's very important to me. Which honestly, says a whole lot about me. Probably more than this entire article will say but here we are.

I like Disney movies. I like video games. I like anything colorful. I wish I could afford an actual mermaid tail (and if I could, you can bet I'd wear it to the pool without any reservation whatsoever) A lot of my pastimes are considered "for kids". Most days, I do not feel at all like I am over 30 years old. Nor do I look it, thanks to good genes from both parents.

I named my cat after my favorite Game of Thrones character and I can tell you an embarrassing amount of trivia about all the X-Men. I can also tell you, and remember, every single lyric of every single song I've ever heard. If I love it, I probably memorized the lyrics on listen number two.

What I can't tell you is why. Why do I cling to these things that adults are supposedly not supposed to like?

Part of me wants to say it's because I don't care what people think, which is true. Part of me feels like it's my way of coping with my anxiety and other mental health struggles. It's a way for me to escape all the things I've been through, the thoughts in my head, and the general messed up reality of the world we live in.

I like what I like. Period. The end.

My life hasn't been terrible. My parents are amazing and supportive and I would probably have straight up died without them. I have the best friends I could ever have hoped for. Even as a writer, I could not have created more perfect people in my life. I know I have had the privilege of a good life and that makes it hard for me to talk about the darker things I've been through. Why should I complain when other people have it much worse?

Still, things are not perfect. I have survived addiction, trauma, grief, heartbreak, you name it. I have nearly died, had my world ripped apart by a narcissist, and am struggling to rebuild both myself and my career path after a series of bad decisions that will stick with me forever thanks to how our country is structured.

Those things do not define me.

I love to write. It's my passion, my soul. I started on Vocal because I do want to publish a book and felt like it was time to put myself out there. Prior to that, as I mention here, I would only write in my roleplay games.

I also love to read. I still enjoy watching sports even though my chronic pain from a knee injury prevents me from playing them now. I enjoy going to the pool as many times as physically possible-both in the summer and whenever I can if there's an indoor pool around in the off season.

But my biggest hobby, besides writing, is music. Concerts, new artists, playlists, everything. I've always connected to it, something I got from my mom who used to sing and play guitar with her best friend. I was in choir in school but never learned any other instruments besides my voice.

I'm messy. I'm childlike. I'm constantly fighting with my mental health. I'm stable now but know it's like walking on a tight rope. I'm ridiculous. I'm loud. I'm extroverted but quickly lose steam or patience if the people I'm around aren't a right fit for me. I'm complicated.

I'm a good person.

Sure, I may lash out still thanks to my anxiety. I may not always know what to do with the plethora of emotions I (or the people I love) have but I will try. Always try. And if someone wants to try and bully or hurt those close to me? You can bet I'll be their fiercest defender...whether they want me to or not.

I try to be at least.

I am a hard worker. I like having colors that aren't natural in my hair. I like tattoos. Neither of which takes away from how dedicated I am as an employee or how detail-oriented I am. They don't define my intelligence or my ability to figure out most IT-related things on my own. They don't mean I'm unprofessional or irresponsible.

I am a valuable asset.

I love my parents, probably more than most think I should at this age but here we are. I would be nothing, nowhere, without them. I visit them every week, most weeks multiple times a week. They have shaped me, supported me, and guided me through every difficult decision in my life. They are the example I strive towards, the heart that beats in my chest.

I love my two best friends just as much. I might be dependent on them. I constantly feel like they will abandon me as so many others have but another part of me knows we're soulmates. I try to listen to that part instead of the darkness. I try, I try, I try.

If all of this isn't enough, I also suffer from chronic pain. Invisible though it may be, it still consumes most of my waking thoughts. Part of me is bionic, meaning I have an artificial joint, though that by no definition means that it's fixed. I've had so many surgeries on that knee, I've lost count. I think it's 9 but I am not positive anymore. While this in itself probably isn't remarkable or unusual, I still feel shame and embarrassment. I am not old yet I can't do all the things I want because of this.

This does not define me but it is a big part of who I am.

So yeah. I am obsessed with mermaids. I watch Disney movies. I play video games. I get excited whenever I see a penguin. I geek out over Marvel. I sing random songs to my cat with my roommates. I do all of these and more because they are who I am and I like that.

I like who I am. (Most days, at least)

Hopefully, you like it too.


About the author

Heather Miller

Just a girl with too many voices in her head trying to tell her what to write. Hopefully you like some of it as much as I like writing it!

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