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The Breakdown | Turning Twenty

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My childhood was rain. Mobile isn’t the kind of place where you get to ignore nature, and I spent a lot of time exploring the indoors. It’s why I get emotional when I watch the Super Smash Bros intro and why, when I can’t handle the weight of this place, all I want to do is go play hide-and-seek. It’s a sublime thing, to go to that place where no one can find you. I don’t have one anymore.

It’s been a while since I’ve gone down to the Commons. I’d like to go to that bookstore again. I went there a couple months ago, I think. When I was younger the library was so close to our house that I could walk there whenever I wanted. I mean, I went there every now and then. The point is that the option was always there. Yeah.

Anxiety is what keeps me indoors, now. I heard your trip to Montreal over Fall Break was fun. Me? I just stayed here. Caught up on work, you know. I’m still skipping my first class tomorrow to work on a take-home prelim, but I’m getting there. Maybe we can hang out in a couple weeks when this all dies down.

This isn’t what turning twenty was supposed to be like, and it scares me. When I look at myself, I don’t see an adult. How could I even hope to be president of my house if I still don’t know how to mail a letter and feel too embarrassed to ask? How could the same person who rolled around (conked out on alcohol and all its friends) on the chapter room floor trying to catch pieces of popcorn in his mouth and eating them anyway when they fell to the ground hope to be respected? How much distance is required to say “that was then, this is now?”

After Friday, there aren’t going to be any more respawns. No more “I didn’t know” or “I’m just a kid.” Now what am I supposed to say when I hurt a friend, or disappoint the people that trust me? Sorry, I’m just an idiot. Sorry, despite having twenty years of experience with relationships and a pretty high functioning brain, I still shit the proverbial bed. I’m just an awful, selfish person.

I don’t feel mature enough for this. I’ve only become more of an asshole since coming to Cornell, and the more stressed I become, the more I try to use humor to cope. Humor and meanness. Sometimes I really wish I would just shut up, because this isn’t the time to push people away. My brother isn’t here to make sure no one picks on me (no one, of course, but him). My mom can’t just slit someone’s tires like she always has. All I have are my friends. If I start making their days worse than I do better, then all I’ll have is myself. I tell myself I’m not a people person, but I dont think we realize how much we depend on other people depending on us.

I don’t have a solution to this aging stuff. I even tried graphing it, and I still can’t figure it out.

See?

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Part of me wants to go back home and pretend that nothing has changed. But I know that if I do, everyone I know will move on without me. So I’ll just start pretending that I’m an adult now, that does adult things, and says adult words. I’ll see where that takes me. There’s a good chance that that’s what everyone else is doing, too.

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1 comment

  • This was so great Noah. I enjoy everything you write . I cannot wait to see Cornell. You are brave , honest and extremely talented. Your favorite fan.
    Sandra known to you as Mamaw.

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