If you're anything like me, you've heard "you've got such an old soul" since you were old enough to hold a conversation.
I used to carry that badge with honor—Look at me, I've got this old soul, older people like me, they talk to me, and I'm not just some kid to them.
I used to love hearing about my old soul. I loved the way adults would look down at me with big eyes. I was too young to know what pity looked like.
The reality of all this "old soul" bullshit is that it's really not a badge of honor at all.
Having an old soul is just a romanticized way of saying we were exposed to traumas early on in life and had to adapt—therefore we grew up way too quickly.
We didn't ask for these tired and worn out souls—we were robbed of our youth long before our peers and found ourselves thrust into adult problems; our tiny brains had to expand and wrap around the idea of monsters that were far too large to stay under our beds.
Instead of our minds filling with imagination and curiosity, we got stuck sorting out where we were safest, how we could protect our siblings, or how we could keep dangerous secrets from our friends.
We ran on less sleep, we leaned into books, because they didn't think we were strange, and we kept our friend circles so incredibly tight—though no one was ever allowed to come over for a sleepover.
We spent a lot of time with our teachers, or our friend's parents. They were so good to us. They guided us, molded us, and admired our intelligence—but more than anything, they felt bad for us.
We were so young and so desperate. We would talk to anyone who would listen, until they got tired of our horror stories. They couldn't truly help us, so they pushed us out.
We got a little older. We were too smart to get into drugs, but we were always too afraid to say no to everything else, too afraid of rejection. We sold pieces of our aging souls to various demons, and we let them hold those pieces for the rest of time, never thinking we'd want them back.
We grew even older. We turned mean, cold, and judgmental. We had resting bitch faces. We built stone walls. If we behaved as though we were too good for everyone—then no one else could shave years off our lives.
We were old souls—just borrowing time until we had to retreat back into our hollow homes.
Now we're leaving our twenties and we can't remember what was once supposed to be the time of our lives.
Now we're trying so hard to find whimsical moments, child-like wonders, and a love so real it shatters us to pieces.
Now we're stuck trying to turn back time.
We're waiting for things to finally get good.
We're waiting for things to get just a little easier.
We're proving to everyone around us that we are just like them—we're chameleons, adapting to the changes around us, just like we learned a long time ago.
We're starving for an identity that fits the lives we've built.
We look pretty normal. We have jobs, friends, homes, and bills. We have pets, the internet, and binge-watching to look forward to.
Yet our souls are still aging—they're growing more tired, and more worn out. They're starting to detach.
We're lucky to have survived our childhood traumas, but at what cost?
We've paid the ultimate blood sacrifice for survival, and in return we are depressed, or anxious. We have personality disorders, and physical illness. We have troubled relationships, and warped senses of what makes us truly worthy in this world.
We were old souls—and we used to be so proud.