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Once upon a time there was a little girl. She didn't really live in childhood bliss long, but it wasn't anyone's fault. All by herself she turned into an overly mature "person," everybody said so. She never really fit in to any crowd. "Don't worry," the grown-ups told her. "When you get older, people won't treat you like this. They'll be mature too and you'll see, you'll fit in just fine."

Well, just like how they told you you HAD to learn to write in cursive because they required it in middle school (and they didn't), they told her a lie. They promised that people would grow up. They would change and mature. They promised.

And life has a funny way of turning out. People don't change that much. They change, sure. But those adults forgot to figure in that the little girl might grow up too. Maybe she didn't, and the people around her just aren't finished becoming adults yet. Maybe she just isn't patient enough.

I know I'm not.

Every school level I talked myself into thinking that it would get better the older I got. When I got to college, I figured it was all the drinking and sex going around that made people so stupid. They weren't mature yet. The real world would help them. When I was in France, I rationed it was miscommunication or cultural differences. Maybe I was right, but it doesn't really seem that way.

(This is not to say I don't have fabulous friends all over the world who are magnificent, wonderful, completely mature people. I do, and I am blessed to know them.)

What's funny is, is that for all my self-imposed maturity, I am pretty immature. I want things I can't have. I cry about stupid stuff (yes, I cry. You knew that.) I wish on stars and sleep with a teddy bear (get over it, he's cute). Occassionally, I throw temper-tantrums. And I definitely talk too much.

Tonight I wanted to be a listener though. I wanted to be grown-up. I so rarely do. I insist upon being called a girl because ... well, I have no good reason. And so I wanted to be a listener and nobody wanted to talk. I spent so many nights as a mom to others and wanted a night to vent myself. Tonight all I wanted was to be someone else's support. And when there was no one to be found, I did what that little girl did. I retreated to a world of books.

Some of my homework books are actually fun to read, so I just grabbed one and plowed into it. It's how I got this way, reading. I would read incessantly as a child. My parents would send me outside, my teachers insist I stop reading while walking around. Is it possible to read too much?

I don't know where this is going really. In my loneliness to be a listener I am making myself speak. I've been anxious about nothing for two, three days now. I keep hoping this feeling will go away so I can get back out in the world and enjoy other people.

But everytime I walk out there ... into the world ... those ungrown-up people are waiting for me. It's so scary, it's discouraging. And I bet they see me the same way. What if maturity doesn't have a "happily after all"?

Pensively yours, ~Heather