I am five days away from turning twenty-two and I feel like utter shit so I just need to write it out.

It feels weird, being so close to a new age, a new year of life, with so many things having come together and fallen apart, the tears at the seams seeming so irreparable, yet so beautifully torn. The whole growing older isn’t what bothers me–as a matter of fact, I am looking forward to the growth and the change, despite the inconceivable fear running rampant.

the fear

On August 26, I will be twenty-two and right now, five days before, I am scared of the thoughts crossing my mind–the depression rising to the surface after being buried for a while. It’s like, I’ve spent so long not having it be this bad, so right now I don’t know what to do and I have this unshakable thought of wanting everything now, all the good and the bad and the beautiful and the ugly of whatever my life will be like in a few years, even when I know it’s silly and impossible. Really, I just want to know that it’ll all be okay and this pain isn’t for naught.

This new age comes with a new book, a fresh beginning, change, but in a lot of ways, I don’t know if I can or am even ready to deal with it all. With age come responsibilities and Adulthood, a thing I’m not really ready for. But I am a grown ass woman–I’m no longer a girl, hiding behind my mum’s saree, but a woman needing to accept life as it comes and make the required changes to allow for betterment and things to work the way I want, a woman needing to, actually, grow up.

The thing about getting older and reaching Adulthood is that there’s this timeline on everything, from education to success to marriage and having kids, and it seeps into your pores and your brain and everything you do, working so hard to have it all: a career, a relationship, a social life, financial security. And a house. God, do I even need to start on that?

I’ve always dreamt of having my own house with a garden and big windows letting the light in, flooding the surfaces with bright, natural light and casting rays of warmth over everything–a vase of flowers in the centre of the dining table, a kitchen island, a sofa that feels like a hug when we nestle into it, a massive TV to sit in front of as a family. But in the current economical climate, this dream feels so far out of reach. Buying is so expensive, so maybe renting a place will be better? God knows.

And I don’t even know what to do anymore.

I want to write and I want to be a lawyer and I want to work with children.

To be honest, I’ve always wanted to have a career in the publishing and writing industry, and whilst I’ve self-published two poetry books, it’s hard to be successful. It’s not always about popularity or a race to be the best, but it’s fair to say those with connections and money and power have it so much easier. Of course I know I can’t blame it on being from a low-income socioeconomic, ethnic minority background, when so many other women of colour writers are well-known and have made it, getting paid commissions and their pitches accepted, but a part of me does feel like I’ll never make it to where I want: to be like Jane Sloane and have my own vertical for a renowned publication. So is there really any point in slowly making my through this landslide, when the competition is so fierce and I’m so tired?

I saw a Tweet about how it’s exploiting young people, students especially, for free labour when you’re asking them to write for your website or blog without payment–whilst I see the point, do you know how fucking hard it is to get your pitches accepted? In my opinion, it’s better to write for free to build up a portfolio and still get your voice heard, still write about everything you want to write about. Yes not everyone has the budget to pay their writers and that sucks, it really really really does because in an ideal world, we’d all be getting paid to do what we love. At least these young writers are still able to reach people on a global scale, even if the website or blog they’re writing for has only a small number of followers, whether its 40 or 60 or 100 or 5000 or 10,000,000. The words are still out there and it is still experience.

While every bone in my body is telling me to go into a career in writing and journalism, I know the writing industry is so unstable and a few months down the line, chances are I could be out of a job, if I even get it in the first place. That’s what scares me about committing to this full-time. But god, is it the dream.

Putting the career catastrophe to one side: right now, my mental health is slipping between my fingers like grains of sand, happiness burying itself alive and I am struggling to see the point of anything. I know what I want but I don’t know how to get there. It’s like everything is just too much and I feel so . . . it’s all just hard. Not the career stuff–that I know I have to work for and I can’t do it or be Someone by just crying about it. Although crying is therapeutic. But what’s hard is everything else: the personal things, the fear of the future and how it’ll transpire–which way it’ll go and what the end result will be. When it comes to all that, I know exactly what I want, but the journey there is fraught with inevitable heartbreak and guilt. And that scares the shit out of me.

the knowing

Obviously, I’m terrified of a lot that comes with turning twenty-two. But I am also excited about the growth and change–I’m excited about making plans for the future and working toward those goals, about studying and reading and writing. I so look forward to changing and blossoming as a person, as a woman, flourishing and learning new things. Life doesn’t stop and I just want to do more. I say writing for a living is the dream job, but I don’t dream of working for the rest of my life–I want to live and have an adventure, travel the world with J, try new food, cook, have a family, create change.

Obviously money is important, but if I have enough to live comfortably and not struggle, whilst still providing everything our children will need, that’s more than enough. I just want to live and be happy. Getting older is terrifying, because it means things like tax and rent and bills, and finding a forever job that’ll make you want to get out of bed in the morning, but it is also so exciting, because there is so much to look forward to.

In a lot of ways, it feels like life is just beginning and this is only the start. I’m sad and I feel like I don’t really want to exist right now, I just want to sleep all the time, but I am excited about the things to come, and I am excited about starting uni again in a month and spoiling my boyfriend for his birthday and Christmas and Valentine’s Day and trying new restaurants and learning to cook new things and finding more meaning to everything.

Sumaiya, x

Posted by:Sumaiya Ahmed

Sumaiya Ahmed is a student, poet and freelance features journalist, aiming to break down the boundaries of cultural stigma and shame attached to mental health and sexuality within the South Asian culture, and bringing marginalised topics to light. She is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Poised.

3 thoughts on “Intangible

  1. I can definitely relate to this. My dream career was to work with the United Nations as a humanitarian worker till I realized making it turn into reality is much harder. Then I scaled it down to working for foreign affairs, embassies, non governmental organizations which was even more difficult.

    For now I’ve settled on my current career path (27 going on 28 is not the time for me to be doing internships) and I’m planning my next few career steps.

    If you’re able and financially able to pursue your dream career then by all means go for it. Being stuck in a job that’s unfulfilling is a painful experience. Also even though you may not be able to pursue the exact career you wanted, you just may find yourself working in a similar field or organization.

    Keep your eyes open. The possibilities are endless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As long as you still have plans in motion and a (even if it’s vague) idea of what you want to do, I guess that is enough of a push to keep trying.

      I feel like what will help me is doing internships in a variety of sectors to really get a feel for what I’d like. I’ve been in jobs I hated, granted they were retail but still.

      But yeah I’ll definitely keep my eyes open for opportunities! Thank you for reading and your comment. xo

      Liked by 1 person

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