By Edith Lundén (@edilund)
Long before food, clothes, and TV-series became an important part of my life, I would always spend my currency on jewelry. You see, that was the only thing that was mine constantly, the one thing that the laundry machine couldn’t take away nor my kindergarten's "no-own-toys" policy could make me leave at home.
Those cheap necklaces and rings that constantly slid off my fingers made me feel like I had control—control over what I wanted, and secret proof that I had a mind outside of my parents (every morning while they picked out what I'd wear that day and what TV channels I could watch, while I ate the breakfast they had bought the night before). Those glittery bracelets and occasional tiaras made me feel like I was more than just another child, holding her parents’ hands on the street where there was no point in living unless you had kids. I was me, and I knew what I wanted. On the block at the end of the world, filled with rose bushes and worn-out toys.
Then I got older. I started to care more about my current appearance rather than the safety in it, the comfort it provided. I got my first crush on a film-star. I bought my first magazine, telling me that suddenly I wasn’t perfect anymore just because my parents thought so. I was in fifth grade, and me and my best friend “asked chance” on the same boy. We gave him one school-day’s notice, and when he picked her at the end, I didn’t even feel sad.
I wondered where that feeling was, the one that made girls in the movies cry in taxis, mascara running down their cheeks (I really did think it was a pity that Mom wouldn’t let me wear makeup at the time). That feeling the magazines put together those sad playlists for, that feeling that was supposed to tell me that I couldn’t talk to my best friend anymore, because any boy should always be higher than our friendship.
However, when she came to school the next day, I hugged her, because that feeling was nowhere around my heart.
Moving forward a few years. I could put on a pair of headphones and think that it really was a pity that Elliott Smith died, because oh how I would’ve understood him. I could complain about my parents eating meat, while really, I wasn’t even a vegetarian myself. Something in my head was saying that maybe I should calm down, maybe I should take a step back and pick one cause that I can actually not only stand up for, but also raise my head and stand tall for.
But maybe, at this age, it’s okay not to know what the heck you’re talking about, because that’s where you’ll meet the people who tells you that maybe you should, and maybe you could. You being confused will lead you to places that teaches you otherwise; that you should know what you’re protesting, because what you write on your sign is just as important as the sign itself—it’s the story leading the whole parade.
Those are the things you will truly fight for, and where you’ll find yourself with a purpose.
And maybe in the future, you will remember what used to bother you - what change could’ve helped you, and therefore also many other children growing up in this world. Should that boy really have been more important than your friendship in fifth grade? Should those magazines really tell young girls that they aren’t enough? Should you really have eaten meat?
That is how you grow up. From the child on the block filled with rosebushes, to the teenager on the street scattered with worn-out toys, to leaving for your first apartment. In Paris or London or maybe New York. No matter where, it will shape you—just like your whole life has.