One of the reasons I love photography is that, whether explicit or implicit, it always tells a story. Sometimes this is close to the truth as we individually see it; far more often it's an edited version, the way books never narrate someone going to the bathroom and movies include training montages in which an entire army unit magically becomes capable of saving China in the space of a two and a half minute song. You know what I can do in two and a half minutes? Pee. Brush my teeth. Tweet something, usually about peeing or eating or my cat (occasionally about my cat peeing or eating something). Stories are easier; stories are also necessary, because if our minds didn't edit all that stuff out we'd probably go nuts, and our lives would seem even shittier than they already seem.
On the other hand, in your early twenties - when you're still trying to Get Your Shit Together, like some white girl on American TV, who doesn't appear to actually have a job but still wears effortlessly stylish outfits and doesn't worry about money and actually goes on Dates! With Men! and totally doesn't get her period on the only day she manages to wear nice underwear like her uterus is actually actively conspiring against her - it can be hard to remember this. Well hey, guess what: if that girl were real? Sometimes she'd be drinking something and it would come out of her nose.
Once you know all this, it doesn't matter so much. I was absolutely having a crisis of self-esteem earlier this week, right up until I checked my blog stats and found someone had found my site by googling 'Can Papillons Eat Noodles???' - and then I was like, someone out there is clearly engaged in a dramatic battle with a small French dog, which has presumably stolen and non-consensually consumed their carbohydrate-based supper, and now they are frantically googling to see if their tiny pet is going to perish, choking on ill-gotten gains and semi-digested karma. Compared to that, I think I'm doing okay.
I choose to believe the story behind that search trail is 100% that dramatic, by the way. Being an adult can be kind of hilarious. For the record, in the photos above, a friend's mother was teaching us to make Japanese 'melon pan' (the top picture); I came into the kitchen the next morning to find that my cat had stolen mine and eaten the cookie layer off the top of it. Perhaps I'm a bad pet owner, but my first response wasn't anxious googling; I was just really pissed off that now I couldn't eat it.
(My cat's totally fine. Based on this, I'm pretty sure papillons can eat noodles. Who says my blog doesn't offer a useful service?)
The point is this: you may think everyone else is pulling off the whole Competent Adult thing. But... you're only seeing the story they tell you. The greatest hits. Realising you can use that strategy yourself - or (if you are me, and therefore have absolutely no shame and/or dignity and really like to tell people the things you should probably keep to yourself) own them out loud, and leave them in the comments so I can laugh until I snort embarrassingly - it's a kind of power. Like storytelling; like world-building. And if I were to make a list of the things I've learned in my twenties, that, I think, would be one of the important ones.