I was just sick for three days with a cold-migraine-fever combo and basically slept all 72 hours of it. And I have to tell you folks, this does something weird to your brain. It’s like a big reset. All the little things didn’t matter so much when I woke up and realized I was still alive and hadn’t accidentally overdosed on Nyquil. So what is the worse thing you could do right after such an episode? Reminisce on your childhood. I somehow managed to put on real clothes and a little makeup, as to not scare young children, since I looked like death. I was still clammy and sick but I got into my car for the first time in days and drove to my parent’s house to help them with their garage sale. Since they are looking at retirement and moving soon, they wanted to make sure that I had a chance to look at what was left of my stuff and keep it or get rid of it.
In the middle of the crowded garage sat a white plastic bin with a softball mitt and purple and lime green Nerf football on top. I caught a glimpse of a few rolled up works of art and Lisa Frank binders and knew it was my pile. I was seconds away from just saying throw it all away because I didn’t have the energy to look at it. But I started looking anyway. I dug through little books printed from the old Apple computers in 2nd grade to painted self portraits from summer art classes. I should count my lucky stars that I wasn’t institutionalized as child. Lucky that my teachers and parents saw that I was a creative child and not totally disturbed. I found stories about unicorns, evil snakes, dead children and dying bears. Complete with illustrations. I had some dark and scary shit in there! It wasn’t horrible. I could have crossed a lot more lines but it still seemed a little “out of the normal”. I also wrote about New Kids on the Block, family, holidays, pets and other wholesome age-appropriate things so that was a relief. None of the art was something I wanted to keep. Most of the keepers were already in my closet at home. This was mostly sloppy school projects.
I found some progress reports from teachers. I was anxious to read through them and find out if they were worried about my bizarre story-telling! Surprisingly, I read that I was a well-adjusted, social and happy child. The teachers always said that I was a leader, artistic and outgoing. That I invited other children to join in and talked a lot. I often remember getting minus marks on my report cards for talking during class. Now I get told that I am too quiet or reserved. So what happened to that chatty 10 year old with big pink glasses and long piggy tails? I can only assume that after years of being told that I talk too much, I withdrew. I looked to reading books and drawing to express myself. I stopped talking in the car and during classes. I eventually became shy and introverted.
I wonder if that was my nature all along or if I changed to stop getting in trouble? It really bothered me, reading those teacher parent conference notes and report cards and comparing that to who I am now. I feel like I am missing a strength that I once had and developed all these anxieties instead. I worry about not having friends or not being able to make small talk. Parties stress me out and I would rather stay home 80% of the time. I am fucking sick of it. Sick of possibly suffering the result of being held back as a child. So I have been trying to live out loud more. Whether that is writing, meeting new people or posting photos of myself in a swimsuit on the internet. I want to be more of that outspoken kid with crooked teeth and less of the timid adult that I have become. I probably won’t bring back my love for New Kids on the Block, but it wouldn't hurt to uncover more of my love for life and friends. I want to scream, chase and laugh until my side hurts! I want to talk loud and get in trouble!