One. You’re not allowed to have a bad day.
When you’re three, or four, or five, it’s okay to say that you don’t want to go to school because you have a “stomach ache”, even though you really just don’t want to face the bullies in school at all. When you’re eighteen or twenty eight or thirty eight, and are working, the response to “stomach ache” is “Swallow a pill”, and the response to “I don’t want to meet those idiots” is “Suck it up.” or “Man up, man.”
Two. Mental health stops mattering.
Not wanting to get up and get out of bed is acceptable when you’re seven, as are “sad days”, or even separation anxiety; when you’re twenty three, “sad days” mean depression and needing psychiatric help (even if it does, so what?), “separation anxiety” is unacceptable, and “I. can’t. do. it. today.” equals incapability. They’ll just find someone else to do the job in your stead, even though you totally want to do it (just not today).
Three. No more ice cream.
When you’re five and you cry because you didn’t get your daily dose of ice cream, it’s totally fair. When you’re eighteen, it’s suddenly not ok to want ice cream in November. Wait, what?
Four. Social obligations.
My four year old cousin is allowed to say “I don’t like you”, or create a scene at an event because a very distant relative is being unbearably annoying, but I’m not? When did that happen?
Five. “Honesty is (not) the best policy.”
Isn’t that what they teach you all throughout in pre-school, junior school, and high school? Why can’t I honestly tell my friend that he’s being used, or tell my boss that he will quite literally die if he doesn’t start losing weight? Why do we need to sugarcoat everything, or not say it at all?
Six. Singing along to Taylor Swift.
When I was fourteen, it was “the thing” to know the lyrics to a Taylor Swift song- you really had to be living under a shell to not know them; if I sing along in the car, people would probably stop driving me around everywhere.
Seven. The Obsession with Labels.
Nobody stopped me from befriending the funny looking guy who told me a weird fact a day in third grade, but everybody has something to say about the black dude or the homosexual girl. Hello? She draws something for me every time we meet?
Why do I need to dress up, or avoid wearing orange and pink together? I really like those colors separately, you know, and you’d be totally appreciative of it if my eight year old brother wore it.
Nine. Having to understand what funerals mean.
Hey, no. I just want to be alone with my pillow in one hand and my lion soft toy in the other. I don’t want to deal with this. It doesn’t matter if I’m twenty or sixty or ninety.
Ten. Not being vocal.
My folks and I told each other we loved each other every night, some ten years back. Why can’t I get the bedtime story about the monkey named Pinku again?
Eleven. Going up to people just to tell them they’re really pretty isn’t ok.
No, instead you need to go up to them prepared with something like “BJP won this election, what are your thoughts on the next?” What if that person doesn’t give a shit about politics?!
Twelve. No more birthday presents.
Come on! I was really looking forward to fangirling about getting one of those dream catchers you’ve been making lately!
Thirteen. No sleep or too much sleep- it’s always an issue.
I don’t like sleep, and my best friend sleeps for fourteen hours a day. We’re both frowned upon. Why’re you doing this, society?
Fourteen. People don’t always mean what they say.
And ipso facto, you’ll never know when they do. Gah!