Growing Up

Growing Up

I lack skill in the memory department, so trying to reminisce about growing up is proving to be quite a challenge.

Family is the word I am struggling to avoid, most likely because they are the people who have managed to shape the person that I have become. Family are the people that guided me through my first steps, praised me as I mumbled over my first word and wiped my mouth as I, persistently, kept attempting to demolish my first birthday cake. I loved nothing more than wasting each minute with my family, laughing about things that not many others would find worthy of a crooked smile.

I remember the memories we created with my grandparents in their caravan, just past Newcastle. We would spend weekends, Easter breaks and every moment of summer together in this compact container. I feel myself almost holding my breath as I think about the sleeping arrangements, with beds so compressed that I’m lucky to stay put throughout the night. I spent nights attempting to sleep with the constant bleats of noise in the field beyond my bed. The local clan of teenagers, clearly seeking something to rid them of their boredom, often enjoyed setting the whin buses alight. There would be sirens and havoc amongst the insignificant village within minutes. I recall every incident as if it were yesterday.

As everyone knows, schooling affects the development of a person whether it’s for the better, or for worse. I adored school, I loved to learn new things. I was always baffled by how much there was to learn about. Whereas, socially, I struggled. Oblivious, and wanting a mutual friendship, I always found myself grasping hold of those that I could never truly trust. On the idea that I was destined to have no friends, I restricted the time I spent with other people. To my surprise, I would later meet some people that would make me feel accepted in who I am, and the encouragement to grow as a person.

Growing up is perpetual. Despite that we grow physically as a child, we still continue to grow and learn new things every day of our lives that affect who we are.

Home

Home

Home used to be a place. It was a house situated within many, many others. Assembled in a city that is inevitably growing. Due to the increase of children within our minuscule household, we receded to a more remote environment. Now, our house is fixed in a rustic, peaceful community. I adore how each morning, the picturesque scenery lives softly outside my window, as the sun pierces through the darkness to wake up the earth another day. While miles, and miles, of endless space permits children to explore from early hours of the morning until last thing at night. The smell of country roads and fresh grass perfuming the air encourages me to walk for hours and take in every little detail that the world has to offer.

Despite that my house is somewhere I can go to create memories and be with my family. The word home, for me, is seen as more of a feeling than a place. Home is the feeling I get when I am at ease. It is the lift in my shoulders when my thoughts endeavour to weigh me down. It can be the familiar, like the outbreak of laughter that leaves cheeks gleaming with tears. Home is security, when I am held hostage in my own mind, I think of home and I am free.

It is more than just a building, or a group of loved ones. Home is the structure, the strength and the ability to pull together as one.

All, then nothing.

All, then nothing.

It’s funny, how one minute everyone is by your side, joint at the hip, then at an unnoticeable fast pace, everyone seems to just vanish into thin air. The only people I’ve yet to see disappear is my immediate family. Though I know that won’t happen because I know they care, and know that it’d take a lot to lose them (so cliché, I know, but I’m serious).

Anyway, I remember in primary school I’d be friends with everyone in my class. We would all play around together with the occasional “fall out”, simply because someone peeked at their work or borrowed their gel pens. Things gradually changed, children grew to teenagers. Some were lovely, don’t get me wrong. But plenty were not, and those were the people I tended to fall next to. Many times my “best friend” had become nothing but a distant memory. Each grasping and holding onto a place in my mind, preventing itself from escaping. It’s a constant cycle that I keep getting stuck in. When I do manage to build a friendship, it always comes crumbling down one way or another. There has been quite a few times when it’s broken down because I was being taken advantage of. However, this pattern just seems to be repetitive and almost too often, I’m starting to wonder if it’s my own fault that I can’t keep relationships with other people. Perhaps they don’t really understand me, or perhaps I’m just not who they thought I was to begin with. See, with me, I tend to “mask” the real me, my true personality, until I thoroughly know a person then I’ll start to “let my hair down”. And I’m assuming this would be quite difficult for people to get to terms with… I mean, it must be difficult to meet someone and think you’re alike and that you have a lot in common, to then realise that they aren’t who you thought – probably a bit weird.

Making friends isn’t something I do easily, at all. I barely speak to people I don’t know, let alone building a new relationship with someone. I’m not sure why I find it so difficult, I just do. I’m extremely jealous of those who can talk away to people they have never met before, I hate that I have so much social anxiety. However, on the rare occasion that I do manage to talk to someone, besides feeling very overwhelmed, it’s sort of nice and quite relieving to be reminded that there are other people in this world. Nice people.

It can be very lonely having no one there to talk to, whether it’s just being in their company or needing a shoulder to cry on. Building and sustaining friendships is an essential part to growing up, in my opinion. I believe that because I had bad experiences with it, my self confidence with making friends and talking to new people has suffered thoroughly. This bothers me, because my own ability to socialise was torn from me because of the actions of other people (sad, really). I often feel lonely, despite being in a crowd of people. And while I’m aware I have my family here, there are just some things that I’d prefer to discuss with a friend. I found myself in these situations quite often, having friends then none at all, over and over. That happened for years, still is happening if I’m honest – I am working on it, though.

I have also found that I need to be asked questions by another person in order for there to be an active conversation, I’m not good at that whatsoever. But, if someone asks me questions then I’m willing to answer them as best I can, as well as feeling like they want to talk to me.
So, I’m going to end this post by asking you to do me one favour. If you see someone struggling to talk to you, or even if they are sitting alone, talk to them. Ask them how they are, or what they did at the weekend. Although it may not be the case, they could have social anxiety too, and are not sure how to talk to other people, or make friends. Please, try to talk to them and make them feel like they are wanted, and listened to.

be the reason