Today's blog post is brought to you from a prompt I found here.
1. We're emotional even before the hormones kick in.
People act like it's the teenager in you who really starts to get intense, but for me at least, feelings have always been intense. I remember screaming at my brothers with crazy rage as a child. Sobbing and feeling truly misunderstood. Giggling hysterically, so that as soon as I stopped I would start up again. I had insomnia as early as fourth grade, because of thoughts I couldn't put to sleep. I think it's easy to view children as entitled brats, but from my experience as one I think we're all just trying to make it through the day no matter what age we are. Our expression of stress (and reckless joy) may not be articulate when we're young, but the sentiment is certainly there.
2. Ignorance is Confidence.
The older (and more self-conscious) I get, the more I realize that I was my most confident self when I was 12. Man oh man, nothing could get me down. Well that's not true, but I certainly was less afraid. Of airplanes, the dentist, submitting things to a contest. I feel like the general view in life is that as you find yourself, you become more confident, but for me I seem to be more self-doubtful as life presents more choices and becomes more complicated.
3. Even though forward is hard, backwards isn't the direction I'm interested in.
"I wish I were a kid again" is, really, I think, something I've only thought in passing over the years. To be really depressing, I feel like if I went back I'd just have to trudge through troubles again, and who wants to relive a fight with someone, a skinned knee, or all that homework you agonized over once already?
Not I, Friends. Not I.
And to be a little less depressing, I just don't think going back is desirable. I'm ever grateful for the happy, safe childhood I was blessed with, but if I were to go back, I'd lose vocabulary, friends I've made, survival skills. I'd lose my college years, and I loved those!
Sure, my childhood included and was not limited to my brothers smashing watermelons in the backyard, but trust me: they haven't become any less entertaining with time. I love holding our memories and being adult communicators together still.
4. That attention span, though.
Seriously. I could do all kinds of things, for hours on end, without getting bored, anxious, tired, or depressed. It was amazing.
I know I've written about this before, but I think the absurdity of it makes it worth mentioning again: I used to spend nearly full days cutting pictures of cows (actual animals, porcelain figurines in the likeness of a bovine, Got Milk? ads, etc.) from magazines, catalogs, newspapers, and rubber cementing them onto colored construction paper.
I would hand number the pages (which rotated through the rainbow and back again), hole punch them, and assemble them in MORE THAN ONE! binder. I would then deem these my "cow scrapbooks."
Because it provided me with endless joy, and that's all the reason one needs to do something as a child. Now that reality is something I'd like to go back and recapture.
5. Monkey bars give you blisters.
They do, and they hurt. I've had a lifelong method in place to avoid getting more of them, and when I do get the occasional blister, I won't lie: it feels a little like failure.
6. "Terrible things" (AKA middle school) can be great, if you're open to it.
It's not a rumor, it's true: I (by and large) loved middle school.
I knew while I was walking through it that I "should" be hyper aware of who I was, that I "should" feel out of place, but I didn't.
I wore Christian t-shirts and sang VeggieTales songs openly with (or should I say to? I'm not sure they were always joining in) my public school classmates. I liked the teachers that other kids hated. I enjoyed working on projects, mastering an essay, doing math problems over and over. In fact, all the way through senior year of high school, I did my math homework first, because I liked it so much. Having my own locker was so exciting to middle school me. Going on field trips with the band was always a highlight in my year.
I was so very ME at that age -- and happy with who I was -- that it didn't matter to me that my surroundings were supposed to be awful. I'm happy to say that in many ways I think I've held onto this value: that just because a circumstance is traditionally uncomfortable doesn't mean I have to approach it in a way that makes it destined to be so.
7. I have extreme respect and love for teachers.
Just today some people in my life were saying that I would be a great teacher to small children. I considered this a huge compliment, but my reaction was immediately one of, "Oh I could never."
Teachers, for one, never stop working. They plan lessons, get to school at the crack of dawn, are basically on stage all day, and then grade assignments (or pick up blocks, depending) after the little ones leave. I have secretly always wanted to teach, but truth be told I'm not sure I could take the heat! At the very least, I would need to work with high school or college age students, because to both educate and maintain order in a roomful of tots? Yeah, right. Only saints can do that, in my opinion.
Also, teachers have influenced and encouraged me so very, very much. Over the years, they have encouraged my curiosity, my nerdiness, my interest in writing. Like my love for cats or obsession over music, I may never be able to fully express in words just how grateful I am to the people who watched hyper little me
squawk walk into their classroom and instead of rolling their eyes at my energy, took it and molded it, and then sent me on to my next year, my next classroom, my next step.
When you think about it, teachers say "goodbye" to more people than most of us -- hundreds, thousands of students throughout their career. But the fact that they're willing to say "hello" to all the personalities that grace their presence, to give those minds and hearts a chance: to that I will always say, Wow. And, if any of them are reading this: Thanks.