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Not a kid anymore.

March 19, 2010

I’ve been a little anxious the past few days. Not sure if I can/want to dive into everything in deep detail, but maybe it would be helpful to get it all out in little bits and pieces.

The major thing is the fact that my life is really changing soon. Going to grad school is so exciting and there are infinite things about it that I cannot wait for. Just wanted to put that out there–it’s not at all like I’m dreading it or not excited. I’m not dreading it at all, and there are so many aspects about this next phase of my life that I’m looking forward to, that I couldn’t even put it all into words.

But.

I feel like a grown-up now. And, as a disclaimer, I know that as soon as someone reads that, they’re going to think, “No you’re not, you have no idea, you’re still young,” etc. etc. I know all of that. But in comparison to my life thus far, yes, it’s a big shift. My life will change, my financial status will change, my living situation will change, etc. etc. And while I’m excited about all of that, there’s this one piece that seems to be emerging and making me a bit anxious, having not talked it through fully with anyone: the fact that I’m no longer a little kid.

Now, it’s funny. Because ever since I was a little girl (even documented in my journals as young as second grade), all I wanted was to grow up, to not be a kid. I acted older than my age, I refused to do kid-like things, talk in kid-like ways, etc. Given, there were other factors. Like, when you have undiagnosed OCD and so at the age of 7 are too consumed by intrusive thoughts and performing rituals and whatnot, there’s not a whole lot of room to be a kid. But still. I just felt…like being grown up would be the best. And as I got older, into my teen years, I thought that once I was “grown up”, and not technically a kid, all the pain would go away. I associated everything with my childhood–my eating disorder, my OCD (though at the time I just knew OCD as “the awful thoughts I have and the fact that nobody knows I’m a terrible person”), my traumatic experiences, etc. So I guess that in some way, I thought that if childhood ended, so would all of those.

But now…oh, what I wouldn’t give to be a kid. And I find myself wanting to regress–not in an unhealthy way, I’m not about to walk around sucking my thumb or anything, but in little ways here and there–like, I miss the days when each moment was magical. I miss sleeping with stuffed animals. I wish that when I feel sad it would be appropriate for me to be snuggled by someone. I wish I could spend my days pretending to be a princess or fairy, or building towers out of legos. I miss all the things I did–and even more so, the things I deprived myself of.

I get my fixes. Every job I have, and have ever had, involves working with children, because that is where I am happiest. So on a daily basis I DO get to do all of those things. And I’ve been working hard on letting myself get into a kid’s mindset and perspective when I’m with them–like, seeing the sunbeams as fairydust, like they do. Or imagining that the dolls in the doll house really are real. But, it just makes me sad that I missed out on parts of this. Don’t get me wrong–I certainly was a kid. I played with dolls, built with blocks, did pretend play, etc. It’s just, I did it for a lot less longer than my counterparts. And I felt way more shame doing it than they did.

I feel like I’m rambling and not accurately conveying what I want to say. I don’t want it to come across in the wrong way (yes, I recognize that as a red flag…I know, I know, it doesn’t have to be perfect) but I don’t know how better to describe it.

What it comes down to, I think, is that I feel so sorry for little-girl-Amelia. I picture her and wish I could go back in time and urge her to be a kid. Tell her that it all works out in the end. Tell her that it’s okay, and she can be carefree and time is too short and she should let herself just BE.

I have so much more to say but this is long enough already. More at some point soon.

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