Growing Up is Weird

So this post is inspired by Carrie Fletcher’s video “My Past Selves.” It’s embedded above and I recommend you watch it before reading this, but this should still make sense without it if you don’t wanna.

In Carrie’s video she talks about how she tries to live for her past selves and she talks about suddenly realizing that you have grown up. (Technically Dodie talked about that in her video which inspired Carrie’s, but Carrie mentions it. This is a bit of a crazy chain of content.) Suddenly, you realize one day that you aren’t the person you used to be. I don’t think about my past selves in the way that either Dodie or Carrie do. I, honestly, don’t think about my past selves much. My memories make me as a person, but I don’t think about past me as a different person.

Because I skipped high school, I’ve been thrown four years into the future and now I’m at a similar life stage to Carrie and Dodie, but I am not their age at all. I’m still a self-centered teenager. I’m only 17 and I still am wracked by crazy teenage hormones that are increasingly frustrating. I will be 22 at some point (I’m pretty sure Carrie and Dodie are either 21 or 22 , but I’m not sure. Sorry, girls, if I’m wrong), but I’m still 17 right now and I don’t have the same perspective as them, but I do have my own unique one. 😛

As you know, if you’ve been keeping up with me lately, I spent this past weekend at the beach with my family. I’m home now, but I got to spend a nice weekend with my family. My grandmother, bless her, said, before we left, that I’d “grown up while she wasn’t looking.” I didn’t want her to cry, or I’d cry, so I was a bit rude, well cheeky is probably a better word. If it makes her feel any better, I, myself, grew up without noticing either. I’m not totally grown up and I never will be, but I’m still pretty big. I can’t hide under the kitchen sink anymore. I can always reach the top shelf. I’m no longer completely and utterly terrified by the idea of sex. That was a big deal in middle school. I have boobs that don’t hurt a shitton when I run into something. I’m probably done growing, sadly. I’m stuck in the darkness of teenagerness, but I have to worry about adult things like going to work and applying to grad school. I have to pay for gas and I have an income. I’ve paid taxes three years in a row now. It’s scary. I suddenly stopped being a little kid that didn’t know not to do the monkey bars in gloves and now I’m graduating from college in the spring, at eighteen.

After that, I can do whatever I want. I’ll be an adult, with a bachelor’s degree and ready to conquer the world. I’ve been feeling a bit lost lately because of the massive number of opportunities I can choose from. It’s hard to prioritize the entire world. I know that I can do literally anything I want and honestly that’s making it hard to choose. However, I’ve realized that I don’t have to choose right now.

Instead of looking up at the huge number of stars in the sky, I need to focus on the rungs of my ladder. I can easily choose which ladder to climb: the one that makes me the happiest. I’m not just going to hope this takes me to the star I want, but I can’t focus on the stars right now. I need to focus on making it through each day. I can look forward later. Hopefully, this doesn’t backfire. I’m only 17. I’ve got time.

Maybe that’s what growing up is. Climbing the ladder one rung at a time. Hoping the entire time that when you look up, you’ll be somewhere good. Looking up or looking down for too long is dangerous, but if you keep on climbing, maybe you’ll make it. Somewhere. That sounds entirely too nerve wracking. Carrie, Dodie, how did you do it?

I guess climbing the ladder is what I’ve been doing these past seventeen years and I only just noticed it was there. The title of this blog is something Carrie says in her video and I agree. Growing up is weird. It something that happens incrementally until you realize it happened. Or you watch successful YouTubers realize it happened to them (I’m looking at you Carrie and Dodie) and then wonder when it will happen to you. I know roughly when that day will come. Probably a little over four years from now in 2019. That’s when I’ll be about their age. But then again. I don’t know. I could grow up faster then them.

Growing up is weird and scary, but it’s nice to see people who seem to have made it. Not just my parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, but strangers who I’m half friends with because I watch their videos and read their great books about the “Teen Age.” Thanks for that one Carrie. If you’re reading this, thank you for everything you’ve produced so far and will continue to produce. I can say without a doubt, that you are helping me through my “Teen Age.”

I only have two and a half years before I turn twenty and I’m out of this crazy time, hopefully. That seems like forever and the blink of an eye at the same time. I don’t know how to exist as not a teenager. I don’t know how to do this thing you call being an adult. I’d like to stay a teenager forever. (Here’s a good video explaining why this is a bad idea.) I know I can’t, shouldn’t and won’t, but all those stars are scary. I guess I just have to remember to keep my eyes on the rungs.

I’ll watch the rungs and hope that if I just hold tight enough, I’ll make it out of here alive.

– Alora

RE: I MESSED UP. (ABC’s of LGBT ‘Oops’ edition)

Hello guys. This blog post is in response to Ashley Mardell’s most recent video entitled I MESSED UP. (ABC’s of LGBT ‘Oops’ edition). This blog might make a bit more sense if you watch the video first because I want to address Ashley and Milo directly, but you obviously don’t have to watch the video or even read this blog if you don’t want to.

Now, let’s get down to business. First of all, Ashley and Milo, thank you for making this. I had some qualms about the gender episodes of this series as well, but I wasn’t sure how to voice them since I am a cis-girl and I wasn’t entirely sure my qualms were right. Ashley, I am glad that you are continuing your channel’s conversation on gender. I think it is very important for people to learn about the different possibilities for gender and sexuality. (This is not saying gender and sexuality have anything to do with each other.)

I am so happy that the internet has given people more opportunities to learn about the experiences of others. Blogs like this one and videos like yours enable us to share and connect with others. I think that is an important step in the growing understanding that the world is gaining about the LGBT community. People like Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner are helping bring the conversation about gender to the mainstream and I think both ladies are doing a wonderful job.

Ashley, your endscreen thoughts mentioned people calling the conversation around gender “so tumblr” and “social justice-y” and I completely understand and feel the same way you do about it. The purpose of this gender conversation is to help people who don’t fit into the gender binary gain recognition and, as you said, validation. It is rude to not use the correct pronouns for a person. I don’t care if you don’t believe that they are trans. I do not care if you don’t believe them. They have asked that you use she/her pronouns or he/him pronouns or they/them pronouns when referring to them and it is your job to be respectful and use their correct pronouns. Hint: their correct pronouns are the ones they told you to use.

Let’s bring out a hypothetical story. Say you have a friend, Nina. She is your best friend, and she just told you a huge secret: she was physically abused by her mother as a child. Now, this is a huge secret and she’s asked you not to tell anyone ever. I’m assuming that you would respect her wishes, and not tell anyone. Not even your other friends or parents. Now, how does this relate to pronouns, you ask?

Someone’s pronouns aren’t usually a secret, but they are still a request that someone is asking of you. You wouldn’t disrespect your friend Nina and tell all your friends she’s got “mommy issues,” and that’s why she’s “so crazy.” So why are some people so quick to disrespect others who asked them to use different pronouns than the ones that you think should apply to them.

Imagine you are a girl. You know in your heart that you are a girl, but you like to wear your hair short, and lots of pants, and baggy shirts. Because of this, people often call you “Young man” or refer to you using he/him pronouns. How would you feel if you told them, “Actually, I’m a girl,” and they didn’t believe you. They continued to call you “young man” and “son.” How would that make you feel? That’s how most trans people feel when you don’t use their correct pronouns.

Just from looking at someone. You do not know who they are or what they are. Your mind automatically assigns them to one of two gender boxes our society has created based on their outward appearance, but that box does not always apply to where they fall on the gender spectrum. They may fit into a different box, or they may fit into two or three boxes. Or maybe they don’t fit into any box. If they tell you what box they fit into or don’t fit into, then it is your job to respect them, if only as a person, and categorize them that way in your head. It can be difficult sometimes, but it is only human decency.

That is why it is completely ridiculous for people to call the conversation about gender “so tumblr” and “social justice-y.” These labels don’t really apply. Recognizing someone’s gender is human decency, not a stunt to be “as social justice-y as possible.” As you said in your video Ashley, the conversation about gender is to help people feel validated, and there is no downside to that. The validation of one person does not affect your validation. Not one bit.

Please, readers, remember that people are people, no matter their gender or sexuality and people deserve the basic respect that you would give another human. Now go forth and learn more about gender. There are hundreds of wonderful resources that can teach you about the intricacies of gender and gender expression.

What questions do you have on gender? What are your thoughts on gender expression and pronouns? Did I make a mistake in my explanation? Please comment below, and we can continue the discussion.

I’ll see you down in the comments.