Sometimes I wonder to myself that if I had the chance, if, say, a genie appeared out of a magical lamp in front of me, what one thing I would change about myself if I could.
The answer that comes straight to mind is my naivety.
It’s something that has been bothering me for so long, and I’d always thought it was just something others perceived of me, not a characteristic that was actually a part of me. Something that, as soon as they were able to truly read my thoughts, they’d realize they’d been wrong to think and re-evaluate me as someone who wasn’t completely oblivious to the reality of the world. They’d realize that, I was actually greatly skilled in the art of de-escalating conflict and could easily figure out what people wanted from me. That I dealt with problems just like everyone else; whether it was family, relationships, schooling or mental wellness, I dealt with it all as well. I thought that if they ever came across this part of me, they would realize that maybe I didn’t act like I was Gandalf the Grey for a reason, that I hid that part of me from the rest of the world.
Every time someone described me as naive, or innocent, or young, I would shrug it off. Maybe they meant it in a way that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, like my eyes would light up like a child’s, or like I was still optimistic about things when nobody else was.
Except for the fact that neither of those is true.
I couldn’t help thinking that that couldn’t be the way they meant it. Naivety wasn’t just a synonym for innocence or youth, it meant I was stupid. Unintelligent, simple and transparent. A walking representation of a blonde joke, minus the blonde hair. My eyes didn’t sparkle like those of an excited toddler, I just was too immature to understand anything.
Maybe being frustrated about being perceived as naive just solidifies the fact of the matter. Maybe someone who was wise would be comfortable in themselves enough not to let it bother them. It’s always a simple plot, that the young boy thinks he’s ready for the reality of the adult world and ends up like a turtle on his back, unable to get up until his elder flips him over and gives him a life-lesson.
Maybe being naive isn’t a bad thing, necessarily. Maybe it means I haven’t had as many harsh or traumatic events happen to me as other people. Maybe it means that I’ve been gifted a perfect life, and that my inexperience is a result of the fact that I have it so much better than tons of other people. Maybe I should be grateful that “naive” is the word that bugs me the most.
Even if I’m naive, I’m going to do my best to experience the world as everyone else. Even if I have limited knowledge of the people around me, I will observe them to the best of my abilities and keep track of everything I learn.
Being naive sounds like such a bad thing. But maybe it means I should get to experience the world in such exceptional detail and with such wonderment that no one will understand the beauty I will perceive.
Maybe everyone is naive in some respects anyways, and I’m no different than anyone else.