27 & A Little Bit More Me

A photo of a rising sun over a canyon. There is a strip of water going through trees from left to right. The water curves like a smile.

I woke up this morning and realized…I’m 27.

I, Charlie Amáyá Scott, am 27 years old.

It feels so…I’m not sure how to adequately describe it. Surreal? Unreal? Surprise? Sad? Joyous?

All these feelings and yet so much more and less at the same time. 27 just feels like an age that does not necessarily exist, yet materially does. I feel simultaneously wise and unaware of life. At 27, I am a literal adult, and somehow I do not really believe I have lived.

At 27, both of my parents had a 6- and 4-year-old running around the house and had adult jobs with 401ks and saving accounts. I barely remember to have breakfast before 12 and I never had a serious relationship outside of academia.

But, my life is not as bleak as I am making it out to be, haha. I am a third-year doctoral student about to start writing my dissertation and I have been invited to speak and conduct workshops across the us empire, with flights and hotels paid for. Not to mention, I have been featured and mentioned in multiple articles (I am particularly proud of being within the Navajo Times), invited to be part of some upcoming documentaries, was part of a month-long Instagram campaign in honor of Pride, and so much more.

Thousands of people across the internet know who I am, and I am always honored that so many of you follow, read, and listen to what I have to say. My life is different from my parents, and my mother and I have such reflective conversations. She and I have and continue to live different lives, and yet we understand each other and want the best for each of us. I know she worries about me, especially about my love life (or lack of, haha).

And you know, I will admit that I am a bit worried about my love life. I am 27 and never had a serious monogamous romantic relationship. And yet, despite such worries and at the moment, I am quite afraid of being in a serious romantic relationship.

Over the last year, I have realized that I am so afraid of being vulnerable and intimate with someone that I have emotionally closed myself off from people who like me, flirt with me, people who are interested in me.

I have talked about this feeling of loneliness and inability to be vulnerable in group therapy sessions and one-on-one sessions as well. But the problem was not just because of romantic possibilities, it was an emotional wall against everyone. I was silencing myself in the classroom, afraid to push against white supremacy, to challenge and speak my mind against others. I’m not sure when this started to happen. Maybe it has always been there, and subconsciously used it to protect myself.

Nonetheless though, I have been working on it. I have been working on being vulnerable, expressing my thoughts and feelings, and communicating them to people I care for and adore. And it has been…liberating.

I feel like I can finally breathe. I feel comfortable. I am able to express myself to people I have not been able to before and I am able to imagine more love and care, more joy towards myself and others. But I also know it is a work in progress.

A part of me wished I had learned this sooner, but this past year, I have a lot of wonderful moments. Moments of love, of intimacy, of care and so much more.

Less than a year ago, I allowed and encouraged myself to take risks with someone who has become quite a wonderful friend. We went on so many wonderful dates, shared so many delicious food, and really learned to care for one another. Honestly, it was probably one of my highlights from this past year. One of my favorite moments with them was dancing in the rain and kissing them. Almost a bit magical, haha. Yet, we realized that we were not ready for something as serious of what this could have been. We were on different temporal pathways. They wanted to live in New York City and become an architect and I just finished my second year of my doctorate, with a few more to go in a city we both, sort of, hated.

Since our “breakup,” I cried. I allowed myself to cry, and I loathe crying. But I cried, multiple times, even months after we decided to remain friends. I will admit that I may have shed a tear or two while reading this, and reflecting on what we shared. Honestly though, I would not change what happened. I still very much care for them and hope that they continue to be blessed. They did move to New York City, and they work for an architectural firm, and I am so proud of what they have done and will accomplish.

The time, the space, the smiles, the memories – all that I have shared with them, I am blessed to have had them. I will admit that because of our moments together that I have become a lot more comfortable (though not entirely, mind you) with being vulnerable and with expressing my emotions. I have learned to allow myself to experience joy and love and to be happy with the possibility of something serious. Maybe not right now, but some day and that is a gift that I will cherish.

I end this year’s reflection a little more happier, a little more healed, and a little more hopeful for more moments of joy, love, smiles, care, everything.

For this year’s reflection and advice: allow yourself to be just a little bit more vulnerable, a little more expressive, a little bit more you. You might be surprised of the joy and love that will come your way. I know I was.

Thank you // Ahéhee’

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