Growing Up

by The Dreamer

Today is one of those days where I’m feeling nauseous about life – my repetitive routine that consists of library, school, home. Today is also the day where I’ve finally outgrown my pair of sandy heels that has been with me for 4 years. More like, it has outgrown me. The heel fell off while I was crossing the road, and there I was, standing between the black and white zebra marks, thinking, “Ah, this is it.”

It was my first pair of heels – leather, simple and plain, $60. But to me, it felt like one of those entrance rituals into my teenage years. I felt grown up. I was a little taller (literally), stood a little straighter and felt a little more different. All along, I thought growing up was this sudden spurt. Someone hands you your university certificate, the government rings you and says, “Welcome to adulthood. Here are some taxes,” and you start wearing pencil skirts and dusty pink lipstick (because that’s totally a old-person shade, right?)

Then I realized, i had been growing up, every day, every second.

I was listening to this mixtape on repeat, working through some maths sums, when this old childhood memory just materialized into my mind. I was nine, and my young uncle was around ten. My elder sister, 10 and my older young uncle, 12, were constantly playing together, so it was always just the younger(leftover) kids spending time together. Every time he visited for the holidays, he would always exchange his Gameboy for my phone. I never knew what was so interesting about the fishing game in my phone, but he would play it for hours on end, and I would be equally engrossed in Pokemon. (Later I realized, he knew how much I liked Pokemon, so he tolerated the fishing game for me.) I still remember quite vividly, when we were so engaged in our games, we would cuddle together in bed, under the blankets. (I know right. Even when I’m typing it, I can’t help but cringe. This is what growing up has done to my thoughts.) We didn’t feel anything was wrong about it, but my great-grandmother who saw us literally freaked, and spouted all kinds of curses in our Cantonese dialect. My uncle and I looked at her, shrugged it off and shifted I think 5cm apart.

I still have no idea why this memory surfaced, but it did, and I suddenly had the urge to write about it. I realize, now, that the consequence of growing up, is losing that innocence of childhood. A barrier thickens between you and the world each year. As a child, there was literally nothing between us, nothing stopping us. It was us and our feelings face-to-face. But as we gradually got older, we became more cautious, not as straightforward with our feelings, and our very first consideration for everything was to ensure everything was not “awkward”.

At this moment, i’m seriously ranting. But okay, back to growing up.

I think we grow up, little by little, through what we take in, what we experience. I grew a little older upon knowing about the horrors of 9/11. I grew older knowing about how male chicks die (grinded, fed to their sisters and mothers). And I definitely grew older when I was told that my uncle(another one, don’t worry) died because he committed the big “S” and was not because he choked on noodles. It was the burden of growing up. It felt heavy, but then again, that is how responsibilities must feel.

At the same time, growing up is also about crushes and thinking about the future. I think that’s fairly exciting. I’d like to feel that beyond the examinations, there is something to look forward to.

钧 x x

j e a n x x