In light of my recent post on teens and truth telling, I think this journal entry from twenty years ago is quite fitting:
Why is it that adults think you are lying–or at least hiding something–if you do not tell them what they have already determined to be the truth? They are like artists who sit down to paint your portrait, only they never look up until they are finished, and then they are so shocked that their subject has not changed to mirror the picture they have drawn. Something must be wrong with the model, no?
They say, “You have to trust me!” but if what we say is not what they have already figured out, they think we are lying. If they think it’s pink and we say green, they can’t understand why we don’t trust them. When I say the world is round and all along they have figured out that it was flat, it upsets their entire world view.
It’s like trying to marry a whale or a lion. It doesn’t work. Not because one of us hates the other, our paths just never, never cross, never can.
For so long I thought that adults were some semi-Godlike wonder who know and can do all. Suddenly I realize that this is me, the same person who will be here in 60, 70, 80 years. No miracle is going to pop up and I’ll be changed into an all-wise being. I suppose I was kind of waiting for that moment, for my life to start, but then I realized that it’s me who has to start.
I think there are some adults out there still waiting for that moment.
My life, my future is sitting here, set squarely on my shoulders and it’s mine. I’ve had the materials since the day I was born and it’s all been up to me. I’ve got the tools, the supplies, and yet somehow I’ve spent my life watching for the delivery truck and a set of blueprints when really, I have my own set. So why was I waiting for someone to come out of some nebulous place and arrange it all for me?
The past is like a pile of stones. Each one a moment full of joy or sorrow. It occurs to me that I can pick and choose which ones I build the foundation of my future with. I don’t have to pick up every shattered stone and try to piece them back together, understand and fix them all, or add them to my present or future load.
My mistakes, and those of my family don’t have to be part of the future.
Ahhh, to be fifteen and omniscient again…