(All photos directed & created by Alexandra Roman)
I was sitting at my favorite café about a month ago. My best friend and I were relishing the smell of dried fruit and condensed fumes brewing into the air. An old friend appears. We exchange pleasantries and what not until they blissfuly perk their lips and say…
“You were very immature a few months ago”
And like an animal huddled in my pulse, I froze. The dissonant repeat of the taste their words left, became like a deep gorge in my heart. All the times that I’ve been called mature or even hyper-mature, had all become an empty glass flask; deliriums of the mind.
No, no. Woman. Had my entire identity been redefined in that one singular moment? Woman in ruins.
Woman of the past.
The agony, like the unripeness of fruit, inhabited my soul now.
Woman in memories.
The echo of this guilt I carried; always. always.
And so, how to know if my guilt was true? Can we be mature and immature simultaneously? Or are we defined by only one like a shadow that always follows?
I’m getting ahead of myself. What was my slip of immaturity like an unexpected rat waiting in the dark? I turned to humor. Like sandstorms in the eye, I made jokes about some on snapchat and instagram. Nothing mean, nor cruel — necessary however.
What does it mean to be immature? Swipe, Swipe, I’m trying to find my words.
I think immaturity is something like a childlike delight. Naivety. When one doesn’t act accordingly to their age. And so, maybe I shouldn’t have made those jokes so publicly (?) [or at all]
But like a left hand and a right hand,
I see maturity and immaturity the same.
A hand in the conscious and one in the subconscious.
Children think the world is a pocket full of mysteries — but that’s because children don’t posses the knowledge their parents do. And so with this astute observation, I say immaturity has to do with a lack of knowledge accordingly.
For me, maybe just for me, immaturity implies a lack of knowledge of the self. Or perhaps, a refusal; a resistance, to look at the truth.
But to those who call on me or others
Does anyone stay and think,
why we knowingly choose not to know the unknowingness of ourselves?
And if you do, then why choose to retaliate like a verse in flames?
We’re immature when we’re suffering. When we’re in pain.
Woman in ruins.
Man in ruins.
Human in ruins.
But we’re not ready to look at that pain yet. We’re not ready to chip away the sadness of pencils as we write down our agony.
To be mature, for me, is not abstaining from humor and other trinkets. It’s stepping into your own shadow and darkness. It’s about making the darkness conscious. Raising awareness and shining light onto it. Looking away from the shadow within is the root of immaturity — of what immaturity tries concealing.
There is this false notion that maturity connects to always staying “positive”. Believing that nothing affects you and that you don’t care. But as Camus makes a point in “L’etranger” with the famous line “Nothing Matters”, everyone always cares, because everything always matters (to us). Camus put in the effort to write the book, so it mattered to him. The reader puts in the effort to read it, so it matters to them. And the protagonist puts in too much emotional conviction and bias in saying “Nothing Matters”, so it does matter, but he’s not ready to accept nor look at the fact that it does matter to him. That’s what immaturity means to me.
When you’re in pain but you shove it deep
deep within, but screaming
It doesn’t matter. And then brushing it off with humor or anger or aggression or an uncaring attitude but your heart valves keep sighing
over and over. Because immaturity is simply a defense mechanism for when you’re not ready to look at the deeper issue. Whether you’ve felt betrayed, abandoned, unjustly treated, hurt, not respected. Immaturity comes out when someone close or maybe not even close, refuses to understand you, not listen to you (that’s the worst), berate you, shame you, make you feel small and insignificant, take away that “you’re special” that rolls off the tongue.
We feel triggered so we act out. And so, instead of “calling” people out on their immaturity or retaliating, etc, why not respond with understanding and compassion? That a fellow soul is not at their best but they’re trying.
Why not instead of “I expected more of you”
not say “what happened? why are you crying for help with this? why are you in pain?”
It’s hard to step into the shadow and see why we’re really hurt. To rip the veil of blissful ignorance, but in order for anything to be healed, it must first be found and then shed light upon it.
So in the vertigo of doubt, embrace your darkness to complete your light. Step through
your soul’s steep paths and begin the process of understanding yourself. And for those who witness such journeys, don’t judge nor shame, but offer help and understanding.
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