I feel like I am 18 again.
Wide-eyed and faced with too many big decisions. I am too young to decide how I want to live the rest of my life, but the world is telling me that I have to.
I do not get accepted into my first dream school. Or my second. I get accepted into the third one and decide that this dream has to be the one for me.
I feel like I am 18 again, entering into a world not meant for me. Walking through the doors of a building where I will always be inferior. Coming from a place that you have never heard of full of people that you will probably never hear of.
I feel like I am 18 again and wondering how someone so young can experience so much hurt. How can someone who has barely even lived a life have already lived through so much? How can I possibly carry on when everything around me is shattering at my feet?
I feel like I am 18 again, and everyone around me is falling in love. I am sitting on the sidelines, while you are the shining star. I am second best, and she is always number one.
I feel like I am 18 again and searching in the mirror for just a glimpse of someone I recognize. I cannot find myself in my eyes or my cheekbones or my chin. I can see the sleepless nights carved out in little hollows under my eyes and the stress in small red bumps covering the ever-present concern in my forehead.
I feel like I am 18 again and searching for someone who was never even there in the first place.
Ten years later and I am 28. Ten years later and I am exactly where I started. Ten years later and I still can’t find myself anywhere.
It is like the world is at a standstill, and time has frozen, but it is somehow still propelling me backwards. It is Iike my feet are stuck in cement while my heart is stuck in a world that will never make sense to anyone else but me. I do not think that I will ever make sense to anyone else but me.
I am waiting for the hand on the clock to move and release me from this hell we have been told is just another year. I am falling further away from the life I started for myself 10 years ago, and there is absolutely nothing I can do to break my fall. I am immobile, yet I am airborne. Flailing into a new normal that even my worst nightmares could not have predicted.
And even though I am terrified, I know that I have to move on. I know that the world doesn’t actually stop moving when you feel like you cannot. I know that what once was can never be again. I know that the past is the past, and no matter how hard I wish for it to come back to me, it never will. I will never be able to go back.
You can visit. You can reminisce. But you cannot go back to a life no longer meant for you. You just can’t.
I feel like I am 18 again and lost. I feel like I am 18 again and terrified of leaving everything that has been my home for so long. I feel like I am 18 again, hurdling into the unknown. I feel like I am 18 again, and all I want is to take it all back.
But now I know at 28 that I cannot take it all back. I cannot go back. What once was will never be back.
Today, I am 28. And I am starting over.
I feel like I am 18 again, and I hope that means I am still able to believe in my dreams.