feeling small

Everybody has those days: you wake up and you just don’t want to face the world. There is too much chaos and destruction around you. You’re afraid that if someone so much as even blows on you, you’ll topple over. The alarm going off is begging you to turn it off so you can go back to hiding under your covers.

These are the kinds of days that make me feel small. I am vulnerable, fragile, a thing that needs taking care of. Back when I was a child, that was my mother’s job. As mothers do, they coax their little ones out of bed, make them breakfast, give them a little push out the door and say, “Have a good day!” And it’s comforting to know that someone believes you can face the day.

As an adult, there’s nobody to hold your hand. You’re the one that has to push yourself to brush your teeth, eat, shower, get out the door. You’re the one that needs to tell yourself to have a good day, to do the best you can at whatever you do and just simply make it through the day. It’s your responsibility. To those depending on you at work or college, to the community, to yourself.

I think I’m currently in a state of Peter Pan syndrome. Afraid to grow up. And though I’m no longer a child and I don’t live anywhere near my parents or my family home, it still feels like I’m that small.

Honestly, responsibility scares me. I reminisce about days when my only problems were whether to go down the slide or on the swings. When homework was to write a hamburger paragraph as opposed to a 10,000 word literature review. The age when I felt carefree, happy, unconditionally loved.

That’s not to say I don’t feel those things now. I know my family loves me, I have an amazing group of friends, there are blissful moments of carefree action and I’m generally quite happy nowadays. But, it’s easier to feel those things when you aren’t stressed about your next big assignment, what to cook for dinner, money, relationships. And I yearn for that feeling; and when I do, I feel so small.

I think, ultimately, it’s important to feel small sometimes. Otherwise our level of healthy narcissism turns pathological. That doesn’t make it any easier or more comforting though. Feeling small is incredibly difficult. And it comes in different forms for each person. But I also think it’s important to acknowledge when you’re feeling small. Vulnerability is tiresome and frightening but, it can teach you a lot. Or so I hope.

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