“old soul”

I learned to knit this summer, as I said a few days ago. I love it. I’ve made two bunnies so far.

My grandmother gave me a cardboard tube full of 11 pairs of needles and a canvas bag full of yarn. I’m not very good but one doesn’t have to be very good to make a bunny. Or a scarf.

I’ve also been sewing quite a bit, and learning to embroider. I saved a bunch of doilies from a fancy dinner to craft with them later.

I like crafts. I like cleaning, too. I spent all day today organizing my jewelry and cleaning out my desk, rearranging my knick knacks.

My mother said once that I am an old soul. At first I agreed with gusto. Yes! I’m an introvert, I don’t like big parties. I’m a fan of book clubs and knitting and crafts and orchestra concerts and modest dresses. I wear shawls, I light candles, and I save glass jars and ribbons though I don’t know what for. Old soul seemed to suit me pretty well.

But, do I want to be an old soul? On one hand, it means I’m wise beyond my years, mature, understanding. I’d like to be all those things. On the other hand, it means I’m boring. Lame. I don’t want to be boring and lame.

I think I’m more self conscious than I should be. I think we all are. I recently opened up to one of my best friends. I’m a private person in real life, so telling her all that has been bothering me was a big step. It’s funny, I write this blog for all the internet to see but I don’t talk to anyone face to face about myself. I often worry that they won’t care, or that I’ll bore them. Am I an old soul in that way too?

As a kid, I thought when you got older you would know everything. It’s sad and scary now that I know that isn’t true. I feel just as intimidated by parts of the world as I did back then. I still feel young, even if my soul is old.

I think the “old soul”-ness of me is just another side effect of both my introversion and my age. People underestimate the quiet one just like people underestimate the young one. Even I tend to underestimate myself.

Regardless of what all this old soul nonsense means, I don’t mind it. I like to knit, I like to wear nice clothes, I like to go to bed at a reasonable hour. And while this stuff may not be very “young,” it’s still stuff that is very “me.” And I’m happy to be me, even if I’m old at heart. Even if it means being a bit lame.

(Besides, if someone calls me lame, I just won’t knit them anything for Christmas. Then they’ll be sorry.)

I’m in Love with Paper

Mmmm…I love smelling new books almost as much as I love smelling old books. Ink and paper, binding glue…it’s relaxing. I love feeling the paper in my fingers, the thickness of the paper, the color of the page from bright white to aged yellow, orange, gold. The font, the size, the page numbers. Water damage. Ripped and dog-eared pages. Coffee stains, forgotten bookmarks, underlined phrases and paperback covers that stick up in the air like a half pipe.

I love new chapters, tables of contents, logues of the pro- and epi- variety. I even love author dedications, bios, praises from prestigious magazines.

I also love notebooks. The width of margins, the color blue and red outlining where to write, the thickness of the page. And pens, how gracefully they slide, how rich their color, how thick their lines, how deeply they seep into the page, how firm they feel in your hand.

I love typing, but it will never feel as good as writing, as reading. It’s not tangible. I can’t press a wet thumb to my computer screen and make the ink bleed. I can’t dog ear a Kindle. I’m not a purist, I’m just in love with paper.

I’ve been feeling really sad lately, but these are the things that are making me feel better.

Posture, Maturity, and Wanting to be Old

The word “posture” sounds so high-class. I always imagine someone like Dame Maggie Smith slapping my slouching back with a ruler and telling me to watch my posture. It’s also a very easy word to repeat five or six times and start laughing at its loss of meaning.

I’m sure it’s good for my back to sit up straight. My back aches a lot, and better posture would probably make my back stronger, and allow for less unhappiness there. Plus, it makes you look professional and more mature.

As a person who could pass for a young teenager, it is often hard to get people to take me seriously. I’m not intimidating in the slightest, and was offered the children’s menu until I was about 16, which makes getting a job in a professional environment quite difficult to say the least.

In the spring of 2015 I got an internship that was huge for me, but before I showed up in the office I knew I had some work to do. I bought an all new wardrobe of work pants and “professional-looking” tops, wore only nice shoes, styled my hair every morning, and worked on my damn posture. Of course, I’m so introverted none of that really mattered.

I was uncomfortable in my costume and felt I seemed outrageously tall when sitting up straight. My hair was sticking up in the back for sure. I was insecure about the strangest things even beyond my appearance. I didn’t eat lunch because I was afraid someone would comment on my choice of meal. I only called clients when the air conditioner kicked in or one of my coworkers in a nearby cubicle was also on the phone because I felt my voice sounded silly. I made sure to go to the bathroom at least twice a day because more than once people commented on how little I left my cube.

It doesn’t matter how straight you sit or how nice your clothes and hair are. If you’re not confident, you’re not confident, and if you’re uncomfortable, you’re uncomfortable. For me, it all boiled down to age. I felt too young.

I realize being young is a quintessential part of being an intern. The whole point is that you’re inexperienced and not ready for a job, so you get an internship, I get it. But I felt like I completely didn’t belong due to my age, even though I was about the same age as the other interns. I knew they thought I looked young, and tried to stay out of their way, which led to me not talking, which led to my voice getting weaker, which led to a fear of eating in the office, which led to me being incredibly hungry four days a week for ten weeks.

I find nothing wrong with wanting to be older, wanting to be mature, or wanting better posture. Each of those are valid things to want. I would argue, however, that age does not define you. Buy more mature clothes, sit up straight, but finally and most importantly, act older. If I spoke clearly, they may not have treated me like I was over my head. If I felt accepted, I might have had the confidence to eat a sandwich during lunch hour. It all boils down to actions.

So, listen to Dame Maggie Smith and correct your posture. It just might help you feel older.