Teenage Commitment

By Elizabeth

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Drawing by Brie

If anyone asks me what I’m afraid of the answer is usually commitment. Followed by ketchup. I have ketchup phobia. Whatever. I’ve always thought of myself as someone who is afraid of commitment. I am horrible at relationships, I push people away and I often relocate my life. A lot. I switched high schools after just one year, and recently did the same with college. I am restless and I can’t stay still. But I’ve realized that while I seem to have trouble committing to the ‘important things’ in life, I’m having so much trouble with sticking it out in school and friendships because I’m trying my best to stay committed to myself. I’m just really fucking selfish! That must explain everything.

When I was 14 I started high school in Manhattan and I had no idea what I was doing. I was a brat. I was jealous of the Upper East Side rich kids that went to my school. I thought I wanted to be like them. I adopted the Lindsay Weir approach to joining a friend group, but instead of befriending ‘Freaks’ I befriended self-entitled baby Mahattanites. Ha, dumb me. By January that year I was miserable. I wanted out. It was 4ish months into high school and I had already started crying in my English class and yelled at an ignorant male classmate before storming out of the room. Yeah, emotional stability. When I approached my parents about switching schools they were more than supportive. Picture that scene in Juno when she tells her parents she’s pregnant – it was that kind of weird calmness. I was a relatively easy child so I expected some kind of argument, but I was having crazy teenage girl meltdowns and basically going nuts so I guess they weren’t too shocked. I was 15 and trying to figure myself out, gosh. Apparently I told my mom “I don’t like who I am becoming at the school I go to. If I switch here, I can maybe try to become who I want to be” or some words of wisdom with the same idea. I don’t remember saying this, I was probably crying.

Throughout that entire horrible year that I have been erasing from my memory, I did my best to remain myself with my sarcastic nature and unappreciated integrity and all. I was fully committed to doing extra curricular activities that I enjoyed, wearing clothes that I liked and listening to my favorite music (which was mostly Death Cab for Cutie because I was a miserable little teen queen.) I decided to be friends with only people I actually got along with, and stopped getting caught up in the clique nonsense that everyone made such a huge fuss about. I knew I was leaving, and I knew that I didn’t want to be a carbon copy of everyone at my school, especially considering I barely liked any of them. It was the first time I had really thought about what it means to be me, which was cool, ya know?

For the last 5 years I have been in a fully committed relationship with myself (and Arctic Monkeys). But I’m a teenager (still) so it’s a pretty complicated relationship. People are complicated. Growing up is complicated when you have all of these things you’re supposed to be ‘committed’ to. When I started college I knew that school was something that could be changed. My dad always says “the only thing you can’t undo is a baby!” I didn’t expect to want to switch schools again, but by November of last year I felt like Cher Horowitz. I was clueless as to why I attended my old university. And so totally distracted living there knowing that I wanted something else for myself. Instead of wandering around like a lost little puppy, I gave myself a goal and worked towards something I desperately wanted to achieve. Which I did, because I’m totally the best.

I feel like people often hype up the idea of commitment. Like, why should you have to commit to something when you’re 18? That’s kind of insane if you ask me. What 18 year old definitively knows exactly what they want or where they’re going? I don’t even know what I’m eating for dinner. Do I think it’s a good thing to be able to exist in a committed relationship? Yes, I have friends that I have committed myself to – I’m not a total loner. What I guess I’m trying to say is that you’re allowed to be scared. Life is horrifying and I have doubts about everything, but I never do something that I don’t want to. On the flip side, I also do whatever I want. So that’s cool. Do what you like, like what you do – Life is good apparel taught me that at a young age. Thank you for that, dad’s T shirts.

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