The world seems so big sometimes.
But no one else seems scared or lost.
No one seems to be stumbling, fidgeting. No one else has eyes lit with fear, with a look that says “Please help me”. I feel like a child lost in a mall whenever I enter the adult world. These places with grey buildings that tower over you, like reprimanding adults. With their menacing, gleaming facades behind which men and women are watching, judging. The kind of place where people always have somewhere to be and you’re in the way.
I feel like an ambitious, overeager child lost in a world of grown-ups. I wanted to go wander by myself. To explore the great, big world the way a 7-year-old wants to know what happens behind the large, closed doors inside the supermarket where only staff members are allowed. But now that I’m alone, even the shelves have turned into threats. Everything is towering, looming. Even the shadows seem darker.
And have you noticed? There never seems to be 2 lost kids in one store at the same time. I’m alone, just drifting. Worry inflating with each step, hoping people won’t notice that I don’t know where I’m going. That I’m only in their way because I can’t find mine.
It is then that I feel like I am just masquerading. Just playing dress-up. Like I put on my father’s shoes to impersonate efficiency and, in too predictable ways, quickly stumbled and crashed. Because I can’t fill shoes this big with feet this small.
Small, small. I feel so small.
But I am learning that the only reason why there are never 2 kids lost in one store is that both are continually hiding from the other. Always pretending that they know where they’re going. For fear that they are the only ones who don’t.
But I know better now. I have seen my friends hide their small, shaking selves behind bold makeup and clacking shoes. Or somewhere off-camera, in Instagram photos of their coffee and car keys.
And I have understood that age shouldn’t be used as a measure for growth. That, at 27 (which seems like a lot, even when you’re 21), you can still feel no older than 17. The thing with age is that it goes on without you. Like a train you’re running to catch but that flies by too fast. And yet, you’re still expected to make it on time.
(I wondered today, how many 17 year olds were living in 27 year old bodies.)
The point is, you can be 30, 40, and still feel like a child.
We’re all playing dress-up. We’re all trying and fidgeting. It’s alright. It’s alright to fumble with your things at 23, to not have a stable relationship by 25, to still stutter out your food order at 30, and to feel intimidated by other people at 35.
No one’s ever fully grown up, anyway.