When you're a kid, people are always talking about growth spurts - those sudden changes in height or the size of your feet or earlobes. The thing about growth spurts, though, is that you can never feel yourself growing. One day you're short, and the next, you're tall. You go to bed with baby feet and wake up needing to shop in a whole new section of Payless.
Lately, I have felt myself growing, and it has been so disorienting. Not growing in the physical sense, of course, but in how I handle myself, in what I do, in the sense that I'm becoming, possibly, a stronger version of myself. I have been stressed more this past week than I have been in a very long time. Nightly, I feel like I've got this medicine ball sitting in the center of my chest, with this anxious energy making my fingertips uneasy. I was just chalking it up to my inability to do enough at once, to control my feelings, to make the best decisions for myself. After a lot of (too much) reflection and a little bit of (too much) optimism, though, I think it's exactly the opposite.
That nervous energy vibrating in my bones isn't failure, it's growth. It's the feeling of me adjusting and changing, albeit awkwardly and uncomfortably, into a more capable, strong, wise, and for the hell of it let's just add charming, person. The girl who is terrified of people not liking her, of displeasing people, is turning into the girl who can confidently (read: with all the grace of a beached whale in a too small bowler hat, but still) tell a boy that she doesn't want to have sex with him, even though if she doesn't he probably won't talk to her ever again. The girl who is afraid to make phonecalls is turning into the girl who can confidently answer student questions over the phone and call up Robison Air TWICE to get a technician over to fix the air conditioner. The girl who was terrified of being alone for the rest of her life has been single (mostly) by choice for almost a year. The girl who didn't have a job this time last year is now taking on more hours and more work than ever (and, oh god, writing an entire grant proposal). The girl who thinks this all sounds vain still thinks this all sounds vain, but is in the process of trying to convince herself that confidence is not vanity. So yes, I feel this uncomfortable tension, but, I think, that's just the push and pull of my heart and my mind (but not my body because I eat too much ice cream) becoming better, and stronger, and more capable than ever.