Tuesday, January 29, 2013
I long for my childhood like one longs for a friend who has died. I long for the simplicity of the time and the pure and unaffected way I grew up. In the South during the mid-nineties, in a lower-middle class family, I do not remember television shows, or movies. We read books. We played outside.
We lived in our imaginations.
I long for my childhood because it was warm and whole and we were tightly knit. I never worried about the things I worry about now - money, love, death, jobs, relationships, walking the dog and controlling my weight. I worried about the distance between our house and the woods and how long we could stay under the cover of the trees before being called home. I wished that the spring would quickly turn into summer so I could play softball again. I wanted it to be Christmas so I could strain to hear hoof-beats on the roof as Santa made his way down our chimney.
My childhood was idyllic.
I would hope and like to imagine that everyone's is - that we are all too innocent and ignorant (aren't they the same for children?) to be aware of the nasty emotion that is "worry." I want to return to that place, where the house I grew up in was a white mansion with dozens of rooms and wooden floors that gleamed for miles, shining beneath layers of Murphy's Wood Oil. I want to exist in a place where the only way of tracking time was the position of the sun behind the colossal pecan trees. The plains were vast, the sweet tea was endless and the sound of locusts whirred me to sleep as I imagined myself Princess Rose, nestled at home, safe in her bed.
I felt so small then.
I feel small now, but in a more insignificant way. As children, we feel small as ants feel small - in size but not of importance. Our games and twittering conversation and homework assignments were events and just as important as the conversations and errands of our parents. Now, the smallness that I feel is that of being lost. When I feel small, I am not standing out, or important, and feel as if at any point I could just be swept away - never to be seen again. My smallness is found in my single-status, in my unfulfilling job, in my inability to resist spending money frivolously and eating ice cream and wasting away the hours watching reruns of shows I have already seen. No one cares what I do and I answer to no one but my dog. And she doesn't really care.
Children do not have to concern themselves with bills or the pressure that hovers like a heavy cloud of whether or not they are a success, or will find a husband, or make their parents and friends proud. They do not have deadlines and weigh-ins. They are not aware of death.
I want to go back and start over again.