Being 20 can be weird and awkward. Lots of things are weird and awkward to begin with, and adding in the whole figuring-yourself-out aspect just throws a whole other wrench into the bunch. There are a lot of variables in life, and it can be really difficult to sort through them all when it seems like the most important thing is being accepted by those around you. It’s scary to feel unsure of yourself, and it’s often easier to seek comfort in the person we think others want us to be.

I have had a very “impactful” summer, as my summer supervisor put it. I got on a plane and traveled across the ocean for a month and a half, saw the end of a long-term relationship, worked full time while taking two classes, and said goodbye to my first half of college (to name a few). I haven’t had time to properly process everything that has impacted me in the short amount of time between May and August, which has left me confused and irritable and cranky at times.

Being in such a state of flux has made me feel distanced from those around me and like I can’t relate to them properly. I’ve felt misfit with the environment around me, which has only added to that whole stressed-out-and-confused feeling. No one likes to feel as if they are not accepted by their peers or as if they don’t “fit” into their environment properly, but no one “fits” all the time either. This summer has shown me a lot of who I am, who I am becoming, and who I want to be, and those “growing pains” just mean I’m still growing into the space that’s meant for me.

Growth spurts are awkward no matter what, and with awkwardness often comes insecurity. I am profoundly uncomfortable with feeling insecure, because most of the time security in myself and the world around me is what gets me through the “what ifs” of my life. I like to have things under control, no matter how many things there are to control, but unfortunately life is an un-tamable beast. Keeping things under control hasn’t allowed me to feel them in their entirety, which typically leads to some kind of crazy explosion once I’ve reached carrying capacity. Controlling what you can is an important, autonomous act keeping you in the driver’s seat of your life, but it’s also important to relinquish control of the things that are out of reach to allow yourself to be human. Bad things happen, uncomfortable things happen, and trying to control them is a one-way street to frustration.

I often equate my emotional side with weakness– you know, the side that gets angry, gets sad, gets stresesd, cries, screams, breaks down. The side that’s human. I forget that same side is the one that gets happy, falls in love, creates, smiles, laughs, plays… does so many of the things I love about myself. I take it upon myself to be the one who always has it together and fixes everything, but I forget to let myself fall apart and be fixed every once in a while. Admitting weakness is never easy, but we all have it, even the most “together” of us. I have weaknesses, but those are also some of my greatest strengths– the things that make me kind, empathetic, fun, and me.

The past few months have had a profoundly intense impact on me, and I’m still sorting through it all. I am not as in control as I maybe wish I could be, but I’m doing the best I can. I am human, I am me, and I am growing. Something I have realized through this growth spurt is that who I am is whoever I want to be. No one can tell me who to be, and acceptance will come as long as I accept myself. If I’m not happy with where I am, no one but me is stopping me from changing the scene. Sometimes, I feel stagnant and surrounded by the expectations and judgments of others, but that has nothing to do with me. People will expect what they want and judge how they see fit, but how I react (or don’t react) to them is entirely up to me. Becoming me is a lifelong process, and no one’s stopping me on the road to getting there.

I may sometimes feel insecure and confused, but I am always secure in myself. I know who I am, and who I am is a beautiful person: a daughter, friend, writer, artist, student, Spartan, Katlyn. Insecurity can make me feel like I need to apologize for not having it all put together, but life is figuring out what to do with the pieces you have. Not having it all together is me becoming me, and that is not something anyone should have to apologize for. Finding who you are is weird and awkward, and sometimes you have to stop and catch your breath… but catching your breath is how you know you’re getting somewhere.

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