Tuesday, August 7, 2012

we'll leave some footprints in the sand, they won't stay, but we won't mind...

I usually mostly always only love to do the things that I am good at. That's why I hate playing basketball. I distance myself from it.

Growing up I always had a comfort zone of things that I excelled at--like eating half a box of Cap'n Crunch for breakfast and finishing the second half after I got off the bus at 2:23 pm, or being able to spell "legitimately" even though I didn't know what it meant yet, or being able to tie my shoes so that the loopy part of the laces were exactly the same length, which always made me run faster. Life was much more complex for me back then. There was so much I could do.

Whenever my brothers and sisters and I would play games in the backyard I always took it a little too seriously. If we were playing army men, then I wanted to be an army man. A real one. So I'd dress all in green, strap knives to my lower legs, shove as many guns as possible down the sides and front and back of my green sweats, and go crawling through the flora and fauna of my mother's garden, getting a ticklish feeling in my stomach that made me feel like I had escaped my 10 year-old life of cleaning my room and coloring inside the lines. Then my mom would call us for dinner or FHE or something else of less importance, and I would have to let go of that feeling. And I was sure I was the only one who ever got it.

Now I'm a Junior in college, and that ticklish feeling never really finds me anymore. I look for it when I write, but I can never focus enough. It would come to me on Friday nights underneath stadium lights, but that was 5 years ago. I felt it when I saw a girl I liked after a while of her being gone, but she's never around. I get it when I read, sometimes, but only if it's something I've never read before by someone I've hardly heard of. Sod was laid where my mom's garden used to be, and shoe laces fell off the ladder of my priorities a while ago.

Different feelings that aren't so ticklish sometimes thump their way down into my stomach, now. Like when I open the door of a dark, empty chapel and see the obedient pews still facing the podium, though no one is there. Or when I come home later than usual and sit in my grandpa's old lawn furniture out back, trying to take some of the quietness and put it inside of me. Or when I see a young, crippled person walking with a cane 60 years too soon.

Maybe those are the feelings I really want, because they find me much more often. Or maybe it's me that seeks them out. Maybe I'm just growing up, but I don't think that's what growing up really means. I don't want it to.

I used to stare out the window of the car and know that I was going to be exactly what I wanted to be, but I didn't do it quick enough.  Now I'm a Junior in college. My life that used to be so complex has become terrifyingly simple. And that ticklish feeling--the one that used to gurgle inside me with a plastic gun wedged somewhere between my bellybutton and the earth--well, maybe I distanced myself from it when I was no longer good at dreaming.