Don't listen to every precocious child from a '90s sitcom ever: Brussels sprouts are tasty y'all!!! Roast them with a little bit of salt and garlic and they're basically crack, but if crack helped you poop more regularly. The same is true of broccoli, cauliflower and pretty much every other vegetable that I avoided as a kid because everyone told me they were icky. All this would be fine were it not for the fact that, because of this apparent smear campaign, my stupid adult body doesn't have it in its chemistry to naturally crave the shit that's gonna keep me healthy. Instead, I constantly crave candy because that's what kid is supposed to like so that's what I taught myself to like. Speaking of which...
Candy is bullshit. It makes you feel awful and most of it doesn't even taste all that great. I've never eaten a piece of candy and been like "Yeah, I'm happy I did that..." That said, though, put me in a room with a bowl of Reese's Cups and there's a 0% chance that I don't eat at least 12 because, growing up, I knew that kids are supposed to want shit like that. Now I'm constantly craving sweets even though I know they won't make me happy, and as a result I have trouble walking up stairs without wheezing and my body looks like a reject from Build-A-Bear Workshop.
When I was a kid I assumed that all the cool stuff happened after I fell asleep. As an adult, I know that's not the case. Night is basically just day only darker and with fewer options of shit you can do. Yet, because all evidence suggested that night time is the best time, I yearned for the day that I could stay up with all the old people. That was a mistake. Now I want nothing more than to be able to fall asleep before 2 a.m. but I can't because younger me trained himself to stay up later 'cause he thought it was cool. Fuck that guy...
Alright so this may have been a lie I told myself, but it fucked me up regardless. As an adult, there are so many books that I want to read in theory but can't because the actual practice of reading is unbearable to me now. The flashy, instant gratification of television was just too much for my younger self to ignore, and now I'll never know what all the fuss about The Grapes of Wrath is, even though I'm really curious how grapes can be wrathful, eventhough they're fruit...Yeah, I'm also just generally dumber than I probably would have been if I had forced myself to read when I was a kid.
I guess I don't fault my parents for teaching me to avoid strangers as a kid, but part of me wishes they had done it a little differently. Like, was me not getting abducted really worth the toll of being inculcated with an all consuming distrust of everyone I meet? I dunno. What I do know, though, is that talking to strangers is an integral part of being an adult, and it becomes infinitely more difficult if your first thought whenever you meet one is "Holy shit, this person is gonna lure me in with candy and then kidnap me!"
Don't get me wrong, you should never feel bad about who you are, but being oneself is not always the irrefutable virtue that people make it out to be. The fact of the matter is everyone sucks. I suck. You suck. Everyone you know and love sucks. Growing up is basically just a process of figuring out when certain aspects of yourself are terrible and then changing the shit out of them. I am an infinitely worse person today because of the many times I shunned opportunities self improvement because I wanted to "Be myself."
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