March 09, 2011

RTW: Wannabe

Each week, YA Highway hosts Road Trip Wednesday, a blog carnival in which YA Highwayers discuss a topic on their blogs and invite readers to do the same. This week's RTW topic is:
(In celebration of the release of YA Highwayer Kirsten Hubbard's debut novel LIKE MANDARIN)

There was never a particular person I wanted to be like in high school.

My mom drilling that phrase about the grass not always being greener into my head, coupled with my own extreme overanalysis, meant that for every reason I wanted to be someone else, I found three reasons I didn't want to be them.

Plus, I've always been one of the confident ones. Even in high school, I was pretty happy with who I was and what that meant.  But trust me, even the confident ones struggle.

So it isn't a matter of who I wanted to be growing up, but what I wanted to be like:

I wanted to care less. Because, you see, I am neurotic.

It's silly I wanted to be like that, because it's so against my nature it's not even funny. But I cared to the point of ridiculousness about certain things. Specifically, school.

Back in high school, this was a typical week's worth of worry:

will I get an A in Spanish?; will I get an A in AP History?; will I be able to squeak by with a B in Trig?; will I get an A in Global Affairs?; will I get at least an 1100 on the SATS?; oh no I have to work tonight and we have a take home test in APUSH; is my boss going to schedule me to work this weekend even though I'm going to be in another city for Model UN?; will I lose my job over it if he does?; am I still #2 in our class?; is that other girl still pretending to be #2 in our class?; should I start applying for scholarships now?; have I studied enough for Academic Challenge practice tomorrow?; should I take 2 or 3 AP classes next year?; did I aggravate Mr. P in class today by asking that question?; oh no! I got a 92 on my progress report!; OhmygoshI'mnotgoingtobeabletobringituptoanAbeforetheendofthesemesterandthenIwon'tgetintothecollegeIwanttogoto!


And the worst part is, I did it all to myself. My parents are pretty chill people, and while they would've been concerned if I came home with straight C's, the pressure I felt was self-generated.

So yeah, I always wanted to be someone who could let things roll off their back. I wanted to be a little lot less Type A. I didn't want to be that person who worked herself into a tizzy over something and once it was all over with realized... huh, that really wasn't a big deal.

Even now, there's so many things I worry about, and I never really know where to draw the line. When I cleaned out my medicine cabinet, I carted a plastic bag full of expired prescription meds around in my trunk for months until I finally got the chance to drop them off at the pharmacy so they could be properly disposed of. I worry about the environment to the point I would wash and reuse plastic straws if Bear hadn't long ago put his foot down.

I'm not a chill person. I tend toward neurosis and anxiety and nail-biting. But I'm aware of this part of my personality, and it is a continuous work in progress.

And as I get older, I find it easier and easier to distinguish what's worth getting worked up over and what isn't.

What about you? Who (or what) did you want to be like in high school?


Sarah Enni said...

I feel like that has been my #1 maturity adventure --- figuring out when to freak out, and when to let things go. It gets clearer every year, but man. Some things are hard to just let lie.

Catherine Ensley said...

Hey there, I'm stopping by from RTW. Great post. You have the personality and the voice for YA!

Kate Hart said...

Sounds like we are on the same wave length. {hug}

beck nicholas said...

I was a bit like this, and am still a worrier over, well, um, everything... Glad to see you're getting a clearer perspective though.

Alison Miller said...

It took me having my own children to learn not to sweat the small stuff - everything was a BIG DEAL for so long. I had a hefty dose of perfectionism. Not so much now.

Thanks for sharing - it's amazing how many of these posts I can relate to.

Pam Harris said...

I was SO neurotic. In fact, I still a little am--I would love to be more carefree. :)

Jeanmarie Anaya said...

Ohmigoodness, your high school experience was exactly like mine. (Except that I did fantasize about being someone else.) I obsessed about my grades, my college admissions, my GPA, my class rank, etc., etc. ad nauseum. I still have recurring nightamres about being back in high school and it's exam day and I haven't studied. Sick, right?

Love your blog!

Claire Dawn said...

Me too. I was fine except fo the constant worrying. Even to this day, I imagined myself into a relationship that didn't exist, budgeted and re-budgeted when I had way moe than adequate funds, etc.

But I thin if it weren't for the worries, I might be thoroughly complacent and do nothing...

Leila Austin said...

Ohhhh, I can relate. I spent so much of high school and university worrying about my marks and whether I was doing well enough. The high achiever thing can be so hard! The pressure you put on yourself is often the worst of all.

I'm still an anxious being, but so much less than high school. Thank god.

Aleeza said...

oh yeah, neuroticism. i have a bit of it too, but im glad you're getting over it! :)

Kirsten Hubbard said...

I can also relate. I wasn't as bad as my twin, and I was never a massive homework worrier (to my detriment probably!) but I focused on certain things. "And as I get older, I find it easier and easier to distinguish what's worth getting worked up over and what isn't." Totally. Though also a work in progress (especially as this career takes me strange, unforeseen places).

Rebecca B said...

I am a huge worrier, so I can relate to this. :) I really like how you made the distinction between who you wanted to be and what you wanted to be like--that's so insightful.

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