When I was a little kid, I thought I could grow up to be anything I wanted. This included a mermaid, the President, a famous actress, a successful writer and a beautiful princess. There was no tool more powerful than my imagination; indeed, it took me to places I would never be able to go, even as an adult who was supposed to hold the world in the palm of her hand and bid it do as she liked.
When I was a little kid, there was no sadder girl on the face of the earth. Yet even despite the cloud perpetually threatening rain over my head, tomorrow always held the promise of better and brighter. I saw that what it meant to hope actually meant patience, because eventually sunnier skies appear.
When I was a little kid, my bangs were always crooked.
When I was a little kid, people assumed much about me, as they do all future adults. They assumed I would marry, get a job, have kids of my own, retire, and be happy. I think I was the only one who assumed I would drive a purple Beetle and become insanely wealthy, because where I lived wealth meant your very own castle on a hill, handsome prince optional.
When I was a little kid, I tried and failed to make my very own treehouse in the backyard. Reaching the lowest branch required a ladder leaned up against the side of the tree, and my dad needed that ladder for work. I supposed he could have nailed wooden steps to the tree so my sister and I could climb up, but none of us thought of that option.
When I was a little kid, I thought I was the center of the universe, with everybody else acting for my own amusement. I suppose every child sees herself as the hero of her own story.
When I was a little kid, I knew there was a God, and I knew that He loved me, though I cannot remember anyone telling me this until I grew much older.
When I was a little kid, my mother was a part of myself. I didn’t see her as a separate being. My needs were her needs and vice versa. When I saw her cry, my throat tightened and I was afraid I would shatter in a million pieces at the sight of her tears.
When I was a little kid, school was equal parts boring and terrifying. Terrifying in that I was afraid of what everyone thought of me; boring in that nothing challenged me. Thus sprung my habit of reading under the desk and thinking I was getting away with it. I have carried a book with me ever since.
When I was a little kid, I felt proud any time my dad asked me to help him with something in the garage. It made me feel like the most capable girl in the world.
When I was a little kid, I read my favorite books over and over and over. There was comfort in friends that never changed, worlds that always waited for you to visit, where you could be a real hero and not just wish you were one; where you could have real adventures and not just long for them.
When I was a little kid, I wanted to marry my cat Max. He was black with two white spots, one on the belly and one on the chest, making him look like a dashing, tuxedo-clad charmer.
When I was a little kid, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to get to see my best friend everyday, until I couldn’t anymore.
When I was a little kid, I took a lot for granted. Like having grandparents that took me to the zoo.
When I was a little kid, one day I was not so little anymore. People didn’t treat me like a little kid, even though technically I still was one.
When I was a little kid, I drew pictures, cried a lot, created my own paper dolls, bossed my sister around, body surfed in the ocean, played the piano, ate too many cookies, went camping with my family, and made up stories. Always, stories.
Looking back to when I was a little kid is like looking for clues to how I became this woman at the computer today, typing stories and still crying a lot. Still wishing that someday, I will hold this world in the palm of my hand and bid it do as I like.