Monday, November 26, 2012

life as an adult


A puss in boots, sword at the ready: a new adventure awaits. The feline page of swords in this deck reminds me, in more ways than one, of childhood. I think of the story books I used to read, the ones that were never quite just about entertainment - Polish language all of them, first read to me and later on, me made to read them myself, out loud, language study drilled into my brain. I remember cassettes in the same language, stories listened to in long car rides back and forth between New York and Pennsylvania.

I remember playing at sword fighting with my then best friend, searching for perfect sticks, fallen tree branches we could use for our duels, pretending we knew something about proper posture and movement. Sword fighting in her grandmothers backyard and next door in mine as rain drizzled over our heads.

Everything felt so much more possible when we were kids. The first time I met her I insisted that I was a witch - according to my child logic, the fact that I could balance on my stairwell railing and jump off the side of it, several feet down, without hurting myself was somehow evidence of that. So many plans and possibilities and dreams that seemed real, then.

Perhaps it is because you have yet to collect so much baggage, as a child. So many memories and experiences, anxieties and fears, habits, compulsions. There aren't yet so many chains wrapping themselves around your body, trying hard to hold you down in the same place. The cat with the sword moves forward with confidence, ready to take on the new, sure of its own mind and intentions. The plain in front of it is so wide, so empty of obstacles. Clouds dance and sail through the skies.

When you are older you do not look so far ahead. You set small goals, reasonable hopes and even so...trying to conquer a single thing can be so draining, feel so impossible. You find so many tangled knots unwilling to be undone. A string of self-defeating behaviors and habits and issues and each time you try to leave one behind you find, after a time, that you have merely replaced one bad with another.

And all the while, trying to balance dealing with those chains with new beginnings of a different sort. Will they hold you back from moving forward in other ways? Or will it be a step forward here, a stasis there, all dichotomy and juxtaposition? Life is rarely so very clear, once you get beyond a certain age.

4 comments:

Inner Whispers said...

Reminds me of my mum trying to get me to learn German as a kid. She had weird juxtaposing feelings about it, too, and didn't speak it with me herself, except to sing me lullabies. She was knotted up with the national guilt of nazism, even though she was a babe in arms at the end of the war. And I still like German least of all the languages I speak. Baggage starts at quite a young age...

Still, small goals are no bad thing, either, nor the reminder to celebrate every achievement, even if it isn't world shaking :)

Manda said...

A beautiful, poignant post that reminded me of everything I thought was possible when I was a kid. I think I am trying to remember again that it all is. Thank you for sharing!

Jessica said...

When I was in 2nd grade I would spend all recess on the swing set, going as high as I could, staring at the sky. I had a flying horse & when I called his name (which to this day remains secret) he would fly from the heavens & I would leap from the swing to his back & we would fly away. Or sometimes I would grow wings. They would sprout through my clothing and everyone would be jealous.
As a teen I started fantasizing about boys & real complex scenarios & long drawn-out courtships.
Sometime later, long later, I realized that I was completely incapable of such unrealistic fantasies. I was an adult.
I think fantasy is what I miss most about my childhood.

Inner Whispers said...

Beautiful, Jessica! Fantasy is such a delight :)

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