Anyone who has been thirteen (or currently is) knows that a crisis begins around this age. Okay, well, a lot of crises, but I’m going to focus on one, because I’m not looking to write a 500 page book on the subject of early teenage crises.
This crisis is one of identity. It’s that awful age where you’re looking to define yourself in every way, diving head first into a pile of labels, searching for the all the right ones.
Also, zits. But that’s a different blog post.
When I was thirteen, I struggled with this in a certain way. I knew I was a nerd, and there was nothing I could do about it. I knew I liked books. I knew I liked school, and I knew I liked writing, and I was interested in theater and public speaking. Also, I really enjoyed science and I was also teaching myself how to draw anime.
And I had a huge crush on Commander Riker. That is once again a completely different post for another time.
Still, I was lost in my interest in practically everything, it seemed. I kept on, though, taking tons of science and English classes in high school, and involving myself in the theater department. (And watching Star Trek.) When it came time to choose my major in college, I changed my mind every week. I wanted to be a Biology major, then a linguistics major with a concentration in Spanish, then a Spanish major, at one brief point I considered Sociology, and I think I toyed with the idea of becoming an English major too.
I spent a lot of time gazing at lists of available majors at universities around my state. I met with all sorts of different professors from different schools. I decided on a major, then chose a different one. It felt like I was some sort of anomaly, a cruel joke of the universe.
During spring break of my junior year of high school, I painted my room cotton candy pink- while listening to Nirvana and Soundgarden. The. Entire. Time.
One group of friends I had in high school told me that I wore “too many dark colors”. The other thought I didn’t wear enough. I was an in-between person, alone in my in-between world.
Sometimes I think I chose psychology because it fits right there, somewhere halfway in between liberal arts and science, the shameful lovechild of Sociology and Neuroscience. As much I as I wanted to choose one world, I couldn’t. I could never confine my own interests.
Now that I’m older, I am grateful for my in-between-ness. Somewhat because I realize that I’m not alone here, but also because I realize that everything is related, and the nice little categories we put those things in aren’t real.
Take History and Science. Those seem like two concrete differences, right? The study of the past, and the study of the natural world? But the past had to interact with the natural world. We use scientific means to measure the approximate age of bones, to know that England’s royal family suffered from hemophilia, and use those things to help construct the past.
If I could talk to thirteen year old me, I’d tell her to embrace all of the different things she fell in love with.
Okay, maybe not Commander Riker.
But that’s beside the point. I’d tell her to wear dresses and skirts without worrying about losing her junior high status as a staunch nerd in honors classes. I’d tell her that if she saw something intriguing, to go for it. Because one day, you’ll find ways to combine your interests and, maybe, even realize they weren’t completely separate disciplines at all.
But what about you? Are you floating around in in between-ness? Are you a nerd? Like and comment down below to let me know. Or don’t. I’m not your mom. Peace out or whatever.