My Twelve-Year-Old Self Would Be Surprised

Today, Emilia of My Inner MishMash had a very interesting question of the day. She asks what twelve-year-old you would never believe about your current self. This is the perfect question to get me reflecting on how I saw my life at age twelve.

Honestly, there is nothing about my current life that would be so far off that my twelve-year-old self wouldn’t believe it. I mean, I alternated between seeing my adult self as a professor and seeing her as a care facility resident. That first image, I saw as the “good” one. I would be a linguistics or mathematics professor. Never mind that, at least here in the Netherlands, mathematics isn’t a suitable university major for a blind person.

That second image, I saw as the “bad” one. I have probably written before about the sixteen-year-old girl in the media in around 1997 or 1998, when I was eleven or twelve. She had a low IQ, but not so low that she’d fit in with intellectual disability services. She also had severe challenging behavior. The reason she was portrayed in the media, was the fact that she was being restrained and held in solitary confinement in an adolescent psychiatric hospital. I totally identified with this girl.

Of course, currently, I’m not being restrained or secluded. I have some experience of manual restraint and seclusion, but not to the extent this girl did.

This gets me to the part that would probably surprise my twelve-year-old self most about my life right now: that I am relatively happy. For what it’s worth, I totally thought that, if I had to be in long-term care as an adult, I would be utterly desperate.

Another thing that would’ve totally surprised twelve-year-old me, is that I’m married. In truth, it still surprises me at times that my husband is willing to share his life with me. Though as a teen, I imagined becoming a mother later, I never quite considered a partner in my life. Besides, being married doesn’t at all fit in with the “bad” image of myself as a care facility resident.

Lastly, like I commented on Emilia’s post, the one thing that my twelve-year-old self wouldn’t believe about me, is that I found my faith in God. After all, I was raised atheist and was at age twelve clueless about faith. My teachers at the Christian school for the blind made me participate in prayer, something I had a huge aversion to. Honestly, till this day I struggle to pray at set times of the day because it feels more like a ritual than an investment in my relationship with God.

What would surprise twelve-year-old you most about your life right now?

15 thoughts on “My Twelve-Year-Old Self Would Be Surprised

  1. Interesting question. Lately, I’ve been doing the reverse. As a senior adult I’m looking back at my growing up. Recognizing I never saw any affection between my parents. Don’t remember a hug.
    I do remember being scared out of my mind when for the first time I saw my father in uniform. He left when I was a baby. I was about 4 yrs and he was coming home from the war. He tried to pick me up and I ran.
    On a different note, I have a friend, song writer, and lover of words. He recently wrote a poem called, “Coins.” He plays with the theme and I found it a fun read. May I send it to you? I’m thinking your text to voice would solve the reading issue. Am I out of line?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing about your life. I am so sorry your parents never showed each other affection and that you were scared when you saw your Dad in uniform.

      I’m not sure what you mean by the reading issue in yor friend’s poem. I’d love to read it though.

      Like

  2. What a good question! I think my twelve year old self would be surprised to see that I am still living with my parents. But when I was twelve, I wanted to travel a lot and I have been able to do so. I feel happy to know I have accomplished this dream of mine. I think when I was twelve, I didn’t see a lot of hope in my life. I became a christian as an adult and have much more hope than I ever though possible. For this I am grateful. Thanks for sharing your reflections, it was good to read and learn more about your story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s interesting how sometimes what we consider the worst possible thing that happens to us, ends up being an actually quite a great thing when it happens eventually.
    I’ve also had similar problems with praying at set times and it feeling more like a chore than anything else, especially that I also have an experience of a Christian school with set times of prayers and it felt extremey superficial, but thanks to my Mum I have come to see it in a way that perhaps may help you. Our interacting with the people we love is very much routine-based as well, for example in marriage. You see each other in the morning straight away after you wake up, have breakfast together. You talk to each other, listen to each other, even when you actually feel sleepy and not like talking or listening to anyone at all or feel like having some time alone or there’s just nothing new or interesting you may talk about, the same, trivial things over and over, or the other person keeps talking about something that you don’t find all that interesting. You kiss each other goodbye before doing your own thing like going to work, even though on some days there may be some strain and you don’t feel so much love towards each other as on other days and it feels more like a routine than an act of love because you do it so automatically. But it still is an act of love, as is that you’re listening to that other person even when you don’t feel very much like doing it. Then you do other things for each other through the day and they also may not feel very genuine and authentic, but the fact that you choose to do them and be with that person even though it no longer feels so interesting, no longer gives you a thrill or pleasure or doesn’t feel as exciting as when you were dating, it shows your love even more, because you continue to be with them for more altruistic reasons than just because you find it interesting and get something out of it.
    Similarly is with prayer. It won’t always give you some cathartic religious experiences, it can be boring a lot of the time or you’ll have a hard time concentrating or will feel lazy or tired or will have some problems of spiritual nature that will make it more difficult. But you still choose to talk to God at those specific times which are somehow meaningful in your life, like when you wake up or are about to go to sleep or are going to have a meal which you’re thankful for or whatever. The choice you’re making is what counts and shows your love more clearly than any feelings you may be having meanwhile and God appreciates it all the more because you make a conscious effort to be with Him even though it’s very difficult. And routine-based prayer can be helpful in those times when things get really bad and you totally don’t have a drive to pray spontaneously, because have formed it as a habit so it’s less likely that you’ll stop praying and regress in your faith.
    Hope it can help you a bit with this like it helped me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m happy you’re happy! It’s interesting that you thought you wouldn’t be, but it’s understandable from the example presented to you at 12.
    This was a thought provoking post, so I did my own blog post on the question. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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