To Give Maturity Words

By Maya Petzoldt, TIWP Student

It has not been long since I have grown up, at the very least it hasn’t felt like it. I’ve grown only centimeters in height, but have bounded miles in maturity. And it’s not the maturity of hormones, or responsibility, or emotionally. It’s a maturity in self awareness. It’s knowing that I have hormones, and analyzing them and dealing with the consequences. It’s learning about my responsibilities, and addressing my failures to meet them and feeling proud when I fulfill them. It’s the maturity of picking apart my emotions and feelings, little by little, one by one, moment by moment and hour by hour, and giving them words. It’s giving them a voice in my mind to speak to their contentment, to feel. More often than not this maturity I’ve recently grown into, as the last few years of having it has felt like a quick breeze that blew me over but I barely felt in the moment, has come with two feelings. The feeling of melancholy, and the feeling of utter belonging. The melancholy feels like the world is at a stand still, like wind has stopped moving, and the clouds have cleared, and animals move because they feel about as unsettled as the scene truly is. The lack of wind becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the sky all too bright as it reflects off pavements, and squirrels running across roofs and bugs moving in bushes become sounds of pure torture. They grate on my ears and send shivers down my arms until I shake. The only thing left to do is to bury myself in some sort of silence, so that my constant stream of unsettling thoughts drown out the agony that is the feeling of being miserable. The thoughts of morals, ethics, and the future of humanity, my place behind a driving wheel, my place on a campus, my place in my home, and I scream them in my head so I cannot hear the nothingness outside of it. Because waking up from those thoughts to an empty room, filled only with me and my cherished reminders of loving memories, is not a comfort. My weighted blanket doesn’t become a comfort to the torrent of feelings, simply an object. My pile of laundry isn’t a distraction, it’s a permanent feature. My silence is not a voluntary moment to breathe, it’s a cage I don’t know how to voice. Melancholy like this is solved only with a touch, a mothers hug, a friend’s cuddle, a fathers secret handshake. Melancholy feels like a rock is on a string tied around your heart, pulling it down and weighing it into my stomach. The sense of utter belonging feels like rain. It feels like watching the water run down the window of a car from the passenger seat, it feels like the sound of constant drops beating the asphalt roof, it feels like the smell of wet concrete, gravel, and grass. It feels like the taste of contentment after a cool glass of water, it’s a sense of belonging and reassurance and affirmation that I long for, constantly. To give words to such a feeling is euphoria, it’s the realization of safe space, a safe feeling I have in my life. It’s the feeling of falling asleep with nothing burdening on the horizon, with nothing to do the next day. It’s falling asleep having hugged your parents good night. It’s falling asleep with a friend next to you. It’s falling asleep after a long and hot shower. It’s waking up, and it takes hours before you leave your bed. It’s waking up to the room being bathed in a soft orange glow, and watching as it fades to blue. It’s waking up with a plan you know you can accomplish, with exciting and fun things to do, with people you’re excited to see to greet, and activities to do. Belonging feels like weightlessness has taken over my bones, and it sinks me into wherever I may be at the moment. To give these feelings words is like breathing in on a mountain top, overlooking the ocean. The faint scent of salt is barely there, barely a thing you take note of, but the wind beats your face and reminds you why you enjoy simply being. The wind whips your hair in every direction, and when you move your sunglasses away from your eyes the bright tones of water, sun, and green don’t assault your eyes, only welcome them. You feel a humble smile split your face, and it feels right, as you take a breath through your nose and mouth so you can feel the cold wind on your tongue, and in your lungs. That is the feeling of maturity. It’s not always going to be dark, sad, and depressing nights filled to the brim with insomnia, but it’s not always going to be driving your own car to your own destination, buying your own groceries, or loving your own way. It’s a mix of so many things I couldn’t list them all at once. But it will bring bliss, and tears, and it will fill you until you overflow and let it all out, over and over again. I think I have grown, and become mature over the years, but I do love and hate it so much. It is a constant reminder of the inevitable and ominous future. It is a constant relief and clarity of thoughts that will follow you until your dying days. It has been my honor and my burden to be mature, but it is my favorite thing to do to give it words. Language is the most mature and complex concept I know, and it’s my pleasure to use it.

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