The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


Too Much

Growing up I always felt like too much, but I’ve come to learn that’s never a bad thing
Addison Griswold
Sophomore Greta Grist applies lipstick Sept. 25 in the privacy bathrooms.

My feet are swinging in the air, higher and higher off the ground. The blue sky behind me, my sister beside me, the rusty old chains hold me to the rapidly aging plastic swing, pinching my palms, but I don’t jump off. I can’t lose to Stella, I have to get higher than her. I can’t admit defeat. 

She’s older and taller, so inevitably I lose but I just can’t handle it. I could get sad, angry, or be a team player and pat her on the back. But even given the choice, I would always cry, and I would slam my door. I would insist on staying silent at the dinner table, because even just losing a childish game I’m too much. 

Now, I can’t even fit in the swings of my old play set collapsing from decaying wood and rusted bolts that sit right in front of my kitchen window, and I feel every growing pain catching up to me. 

I look in the mirror and I see my mother, but somehow I still feel thirteen. I’ve grown to dread birthdays, summers and first days of school. I avoid the thought of a future, especially not one past the age of twenty-five. I put on lipstick and I look like a child who got into their mothers makeup bag. I clutch any independence I get, but dread the thought of an apartment. 

I am everything and nothing of what I’m supposed to be.

Always ‘too loud,’ ‘too quiet,’ ‘too old,’ ‘too much’ and never enough. I’ve molded myself to match every trend, stapled myself to what was in and tore myself apart because of what was out. 

Cropping t-shirts to throw them away a month later because oversized is in. 

I’ve sucked in my stomach because low rise Levi‘s are all the rage. Now it’s high waisted mom jeans and cargo pants.

I look back at elementary yearbooks with my badly cut bangs and Justice t-shirt and it almost doesn’t feel like that was me. I knew everyone’s name in 3rd grade, we shared animal crackers and played foursquare. The girls didn’t care what people thought of them and the boys didn’t know the power they held with their words. We played soccer, lava monster, tag and sat together on a colorful carpet. 

Now, I watch the girls I grew up with scurry side to side in the hallway because, god forbid, the boys move instead when there’s not enough room. 

Be small so a man can be big. 

Be quiet so a man can be loud. 

Be just enough, so a man can be too much

After fifth grade, the lessons of believing you can be anything you want turn into lessons of how to make the boys like you and how to protect yourself from them. From age 10 all I’ve ever wanted was to be liked. So I learn to be flexible and morph myself into what people want me to be.

“How do I look?”

“What do I wear?”

“Was I too loud?”

“Did I talk too much?”

I feel like I’ve utterly lost any sort of self I’ve ever had because I left myself up to interpretation. I can’t tell if I like who I’ve become or that I’m tolerated. 

I’ve let every word I’ve been called consume me. I’m ‘too bossy,’ so now I hate group projects. I’m ‘too stubborn’, so I don’t fight for anything. I’m ‘too headstrong,’ so I settle for less. 

I’m too much, even when I feel like I’m not enough.

But on the other hand, I look in the mirror and I see my mother. A strong, independent woman, who knows exactly how smart she is, and isn’t afraid to show that. She doesn’t change herself to meet old-fashioned expectations that don’t mean a thing. Be exactly who you want to be, regardless of what others think. Being ‘too bossy’ is what gets you promotions, and being ‘too stubborn’ often gets confused with standing up for yourself and that is never going to be a bad thing. How you feel about yourself is the only opinion that matters. 

My old swing set sits vacant with a tree growing through the old rotting wood. I’m convinced it’s from the apple seed I planted in fourth Grade. I couldn’t swing if I tried, but I still hold onto the rusty chains like I did before everything changed with age.

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About the Contributor
Greta Grist
Greta Grist, Designer
Hello, I’m Greta Grist! I'm a designer for the Northwest Passage. Outside of school, I play acoustic, electric and bass guitar. My favorite artist is Phoebe Bridgers and my favorite genre of music is rock. I write music in my spare time and find inspiration from the queen herself, Taylor Swift. When “Nothing New” by Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers came out, I couldn’t function properly for at least two days. I joined journalism to explore my skills in photography but ended up finding a passion for design. I'm excited to be in newspaper so I can enhance my design and photography abilities and meet new people.

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