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July 2006


Actually, I am glad to have grown up

I rather frequently hear people talk about the innocence of childhood. The “I want to be six again” poemesque thing is a well-known, nostalgic declaration of loss of innocence. People grieve that they have lost the ability to be happy over small thing, to have no real worries. The weight of income tax, getting groceries and affording a vacation is heavy on their shoulders. To declare that one wants to be a kid again, though, is ridiculous. Not only are a child’s problem as real and terrifying to them as income tax is to an adult, but that “innocence” if always topped with a fundamental powerlessness related to fundamentals of life.

I am glad I am an adult.. I live among mostly civilized individuals; if someone attacks me on the way from work, they are breaking the law and the police will, hopefully, recognize that. When I was in primary school, I was afraid of going home from school every day. An older girl, perhaps by four years, had decided it was a fun sport to catch me and pull my hair. All her friends, and mine, agreed. After all, I reacted. I cried and whimpered. And the teachers and my mother sighed and said I oughtn’t encourage her by reacting. Who would say something like that to an adult? “Well, I know your neighbor meets you in the stairwell and hit you every evening, but it’s basically your own fault, you oughtn’t be such an amusing person to make fun of.”

I’ll take income tax before that any day.

I get to cook and choose my own food. I never have to eat spare ribs or liver again, and if I don’t feel like pasta today, I will eat something else. I discovered a year or two ago that it wasn’t as exciting to eat certain meals as it used to be, and it took me a while to realize that it was because I didn’t have to suffer two weeks of food I didn’t like (yes, I am a picky eater) before getting my favorite. I make that choice now, and although I might have to compromise with a partner or friend, no one puts a plate before me with “eat this, or go to bed without dinner.”

I wear the clothes I like. Perhaps not to work, but no one makes me wear the itchy, blue jumper that I hate.

It’s worth cramps.

I pick my own bedtime. Granted, not always with the best result (getting up at six after a night at the computer? Not so great.) If I can’t sleep, I can stay up. If I want to nap, no one will ask if I am feeling sick. And related, I can stay indoors on nice days, or take a walk in the rain. I can midnight run to Crispy Creme. Well, I can’t. But if I had a license and a car, and if I was in the US, I could.

I can read. I don’t know what I did before I read, but I must have spent hours looking into empty space. Books are my friends, and I don’t rely on others to read them for me.

For the most part, people take me seriously even when they can’t help me. When they don’t, I generally have somewhere else to turn. Personally, I find that worth the price of not being able to see, that that chair is really a spaceship.

Annamatopoetry

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