There’s something wrong with me. No, really. I mean it, there’s something wrong with me. I know you’re thinking “everybody thinks there’s something wrong with them,” but I know there’s something wrong with me. I know it because I think of my life in every single timeline. Why do there have to be so many possibilities as to who we can be? Why can I think about all the things that I could be or have been or don’t want to be or do want to be? Why do I think about running through a field with no shoes on and a white dress and flowers in my hair? Then I think of the version of myself who sits at coffee shops and takes in the people and drinks a drink that’s warm and velvety and enjoys the simple pleasure of letting the warm liquid trickle down her throat?
Then I’m me but I have heels on and a pencil skirt and work day in and out in New York. I’m drinking with my girlfriends on the weekends and letting rich men buy me drinks at a rooftop bar. I think of the ways that I could act or look. The different ways I could present myself, then I think about the fact that I’m not any of these girls I’ve described. Could I be all of them? Maybe if I tried hard enough. I could be all of them in this lifetime, but is that what I want? What do I want? That’s what’s wrong with me, I don’t know what I want. I don’t know which version of myself to grow into, to become. Then I ask myself: is it predetermined? Is it already set in stone? Destined, maybe?
I have a control issue. If you’ve ever gotten close to me you know that. I don’t like letting things happen. Go with the flow? Not this girl, given I have gotten better at this. I’ve learned the flow is a nice place to be. To not have to have that control all the time is actually immensely relieving. To live in peace and not worry about what’s happening next.
However, current Raven and past Raven still have some issues with it. The flow I mean. Is that okay? Sure. Do I need to learn that it’s also okay to not be a big ball of anxiety when I have nothing to do? Yes. In this timeline, the one I’m currently in, I’m learning so many lessons. I’m learning that I adore sleeping in my bed by myself with the stars placed on my ceiling from a sweet boy who wanted to be more than what we were. I appreciate the morning air during the summer time, and I enjoy wearing oversized sweatshirts and shorts and having bare feet. In this timeline, this Raven loves to braid her hair. To wear rings on all her fingers except the middle one because she read once that if you wear rings on your middle finger you’re inviting chaos. Real? Probably not. Will I continue to not wear rings on my middle fingers? Probably. In this version of myself I am constantly trying to prove myself, but to who? Myself? The world? Then when trying to prove myself I think of all the other versions of myself that I could possibly be because do those versions flip pennies on the street so someone finds it face up and has good luck? Is that version of myself in love? Does she worry about her weight? Her hair? Her makeup? Does she have an eating disorder?
I think about the girl who stayed in Hawaii, who got to live her island dream and be with the boy she fell deeply and wholeheartedly in love with in the sand. She wakes up in the morning and hikes the green mountains then spends the afternoons with waves washing over her. Her hair is sandy, wavy, and has highlights from the sweet Hawaiian sunshine. She goes to work at the coffee shop in the morning and she works the restaurant or bar or hotel job in the afternoons or at night to cover her rent. The boy she fell in love with adores her and constantly battles her homesickness from being 5,000 miles away from everyone else she loves. He kisses her eyelids before she goes to sleep. She dances with her friends in a bright kitchen with no air conditioning but that’s okay because you don’t need cool air when you have love surrounding you.
When you’re content in the moment and the only moment you’re in is the present you don’t need cool air blowing the back of your neck. You’re too giddy with love and drunk on the people surrounding you. But is that version of myself happy? Would this be the way life would be for her?
I think about the version of myself that never went to college. Never dated the same boy for three years. The version of myself who stayed at the small liberal arts college that I transferred from due to a breakup and anxiety that left me shattered and scared. I tell people I wanted to live off campus in hopes that it covers up the fact that I was 19 years old and freshly out of a three year relationship where I only thought about being in the relationship and others and not who Raven really was. I didn’t transfer to live off campus because I was lost and confused and sad.
All of this to say that I’m allowed to be all versions of myself at once and to move through this life in the ways that I am.