Monday, October 5, 2015

how i lost my innocence.

I was driving downtown last night. I had gotten off work later than expected, worked an extra shift and was much more tired than I wanted to be. Don't get me wrong... I adore my job, but being cooped up in a coffee shop all day watching a beautiful Autumn day pass you by can be a little vexing. I didn't want to be home oddly enough, so I drove to the post office to mail some things. And by "things" I mean bills that were pushing their mail by date and couldn't wait another day. 

Windows down, fall breeze tussling my now short hair that desperately needed to be washed, eyes slightly glazed over from lack of sleep and downtown brick shops blurring by in a brown-red haze, then a stop light and fumble to a halt. I crane my head to the right, hoping that neck stretching with eyes closed and exhaling might wake me up. I crane to the left and my eyes open. 

Snugged back into the brickwork of an old building is a glass door, behind which I see silhouettes in leotards. I see figures on bar, stretching their lean muscles, swaying to and fro, gracing the air with delicate limbs. I see a young girl with a messy, curly bun atop her little head pointing her toes and flexing her hands. She looks up at me through the glass door.

All of a sudden I'm 10. 
All of a sudden I'm wearing a black leotard, ballet slippers, pinning back my unruly hair with a million bobby pins. 
All of a sudden I'm myself 11 years ago.
And all of a sudden... I missed it all. 

A horn honks behind me and I'm jolted to October 5th, 2015.
Driving. Post office. Right. 

I knew where I was going, kept driving, but I hardly remember mailing the bills or how I suddenly got back to unlocking my apartment and stepping through the door. I couldn't stop thinking about the dance studio I passed, the silhouettes, the ballet bar, the little girl with the curly hair staring back at me. 

Funny how a little reminder of your past can alter your thoughts so vividly. Have you ever had that happen?
 I began to wonder why that person I saw through the glass seemed so far off, so distant and intangible.  I began to wonder how the little girl I used to be was suddenly an exhausted, dare I say woman, with not a clue as to what she wanted to do with her life.

What had transpired in the last 11 years that made that girl seem so vague to me? Pre present-day-me memories swarmed my mind - what I was like before now, how I acted, what I said, who I was friends with, my worldview and point of view. Everything seems so much smaller and understandable when you're younger. You don't complicate things.

Life doesn't fast forward when you're a child. It meanders along. I remember clear moments in my childhood where time seemed to stand still; a mere hour would pass and it were as if the whole day had hastened past me.

Those moments don't happen anymore.
I'm too busy.
There's not enough time. 
What's next on my list? 
I'm always doing something...

And if I'm not doing something, then I'm rather busily and actively procrastinating from the thing that I should be doing, because I know I should be doing it, but I don't want to be doing it so I do something active in order to not feel guilty that I'm not doing what I should be doing. 

It's psychotic.
I've morphed into another being who differs vastly from the little girl with too many bobby pins.
I've bought into the false truths that I am not enough unless I am too busy.
I live in a culture that thrives on what many of us would like to call a good work ethic.
However it's a work ethic that dries us to the bone.
I'm so doped up on caffeine and coffee and the idea that I just need more.
I'm so consumed with formal and fugacious conversations that feign familiarity, yet formulate fictitious fallacies. Asking somehow how they are has become a formality, not an actual desire to be close to one another. We throw it out casually in our conversations, yet never stop to lend an ear because we're too busy going to our next "thing".
Yet if we do receive or render a response it's writhing with the ever repeated, "Stressed".
We don't even flinch or even perhaps feel the weight of that reply because, well, isn't everybody stressed? Isn't everyone on overload?

I don't allow life to go by slowly because I've become habituated to living a hectic and hassled life.

It's no wonder that anxiety is rampant in our culture.
It's no wonder that depression is ravaging our mental health.
It's no wonder that we've lost our identity.
It's no wonder that I've lost my innocence.

Sometime's I think we forget who we were, or who we wanted to be because we've gotten so caught up in who we think we should be, would be or could be... and then we mull our minds around this mission to be something we're not.

Sometimes things are just a lot simpler than we'd like them to be. Grandiose gestures are great... but they aren't the moments we want to live our entire lives in. We don't make our livings on mountaintops, but rather through traversing the valleys. And I think we do ourselves an injustice when we try to more grandly than we should because it robs us of our grace, our passion, our empathy and even our innocence.

The Legend of Bagger Vance put it like this,

"Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing... Somethin' we was born with... somethin' that's ours and ours alone... Somethin' that can't be taught to ya or learned... Somethin' that got to be remembered... Over time the world can rob us of that swing... It get buried inside us under all our wouldas and colds and shoudas... Some folk even forget what their swing was like."

I think I might take up ballet again.

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