Columns / Discourse / May 25, 2011

Girl Meets World: We all float on

I have often heard people use the idiom “bottom dropping out” to describe their feelings when being separated from loved ones or a familiar place. I have to say that while I anticipated feeling this way as I left Knox, I am finding myself feeling quite the opposite. I feel as though the top is opening up. As a society we place a fair amount of emphasis on where we came from, our roots, and being grounded. I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about a less often acknowledged phenomenon: the top.

This top I’m referring to is made up of a whole bunch of stuff. The institutionalized glass ceilings, the limitations we place on ourselves, and the expectations of others-not to mention the expectations we have of ourselves. An overwhelming amount of possibilities are opening up and a plethora of decisions are in our hands. Are you going to spend time and energy living up to someone else’s expectations of you or working toward shaping and living up to your own? Are you going to allow institutionalized practices to limit your options and prospects in life or demand equal opportunity? Personally, I am prepared to treat the goals and expectations I have for myself as the highest priority at the possible expense of disappointing people who don’t know or understand me in the first place. I will not apologize for not fitting an inaccurate, naive or unfair projection others have of my self.

I know my bottom. I am self-aware and introspective to a fault. I know my roots, what I have overcome, what I have learned and am faithful in the dependability of those I care most about. I have spent years crafting my bottom to be the best it can be, weeding out of my life people who are detrimental to it instead of nourishing and evaluating how where I come from and what I have been through shapes me but does not determine my future. I have never been more excited to start shaping that future myself, to start molding my top and making it the best it can be. It is way past time.

So while others feel uprooted and unstable, I feel adventurous. I allow myself room to make mistakes, test boundaries and change my mind while shaping my top. I’m the only one whose top it is, I certainly should be allowed first and final say-so concerning decisions in the process of its creation. I feel like that little boy in Colorado whose parents set up that crazy hoax that he had been carried away by a hot air balloon on the loose…but I’m not actually hiding in the attic. It’s like the end of The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy says goodbye to all her friends and thanks them for all they’ve taught her and then gets ready to set off in an air balloon all on her own. The only difference between Dorothy and I is that I’ll have to make my own home for myself once I get there.

Arianna Timko

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