It’s generally expected that one matures emotionally and mentally with age. 
However, we can hit all the societal markers of maturity by performing adulthood — getting the right job, the right house, and the right lifestyle; and yet, we can still be deeply stunted in our emotional age. 
“GrownUp” examines how being a grownup is not necessarily synonymous with being mature, given that for one to be truly mature, one should have the agency to move on emotionally and mentally from the past. Ultimately, the story is a visual metaphor for how unresolved traumas can stunt this emotional maturation, trapping one in the past.

The story is inspired by a deeply personal place.

It was one afternoon in 2020, the year the global pandemic forced me back under my parents' roof — the same roof that witnessed our family drama unfold through many decades. It was one that simultaneously nested emotions of love and resentment, which I thought I had left behind for good. 
That afternoon in 2020, my parents were fighting. I don't remember what, why, and how, but I do remember the room we were in and where we were all sitting. As they started to raise their voices, the familiar rush of anxiety kicked in — the same panic I felt as a child listening to my parents fight. 

As an adult now in my late twenties, I consider myself decently articulate. I have developed the emotional intelligence and nuanced vocabulary to mediate and de-escalate an altercation calmly and swiftly. But in that moment, in that room that one afternoon in 2020, I had none of those things. As I found myself in the same scenario my ten-year-old self often did, I instantly resorted back to the exact sense of helplessness I felt as a child. All the growing up I thought I had done was laughably discredited by the sheer paralysis of my tongue and mind, as it crippled me from responding to the situation like a functioning adult.
Indeed, I was a child trapped in a grownup’s body.

Some words, some moments, and some feelings are like a time machine. It immediately transports you to who you were when you experienced them whether you like it or not. Trust me, I hate that I sound like a broken record talking about dysfunctional family issues. And the worst part is, I didn't even have it that bad. My parents are still together, my mom is a whopping four-time cancer survivor, and I feel like I turned out fine. But why am I still stuck in this sappy ten-year-old victim mentality? Grow the f*** up already, I scold myself.

Thankfully (or unfortunately), it turned out I wasn't the only one who felt this dissonance. Once I developed this hypothesis that unresolved traumas have a weird time-machine effect on people, I started seeing it everywhere. I saw it in my dad with his own father. I saw it in my brother with my mom. I saw it in movie characters. TV shows. Stories my friends told about their families. Heck, I saw that Wes Anderson made a whole auteur career out of telling stories about emotionally stunted adults. 

And that's how it all started.
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