“The girls we once were are coming back to us now.”
— Brandy Walker
When you grow up, you forget.
All the sad memories and adult anxieties crowd in; they unpack their bags and make a home in your psyche. The good moments, the small wonders, they get stuffed in boxes under the bed. So you forget the thrill of being young and innocent and unworried. You forget boyhood with its weirdness. You forget the girl you used to be. You forget the truths of childhood. Don’t you? I do.
But we can remember. We can go back. It may seem foreign at first. It’s been a while since you followed that second star to the right; it’s been a while since you visited Never Never Land.
You’ll feel out of place at first. The others here may not know you anymore. Smush your face around. Try to smile, try to laugh. Do you see something familiar? Oh there you are, they’ll finally say. Oh there you are. The face they used to know, the expression you saw every day in the mirror. It’s not exactly the same — your nose has gotten bigger, yes, and you know too much now for an unlined grin — but you’re still that little girl, you’re still made to laugh. There you are. There I am. Not lost like a child anymore, but still the same person.
How do you find yourself again? You embrace the wild mess of who you have been. How have you changed? How are you still growing? What are you missing? What are you hungry for? What do you hold back? Let loose your imagination. Have a food fight. Crow aloud. Stay up late and sleep beneath the stars. There is no shame here, or fear. Fight the pirates who try to steal what you love, fight the tick-tick-tocking of time that tries to make you forget this place and this part of yourself.
Now close your eyes. Remember the magic. Remember the things that made you fly. Make a list of your happy thoughts, and hold them close, and hold them dear. Do you remember now? Do you remember it all? I do.
I remember climbing the Russian olive tree in my backyard, though it scared me. I remember the pages filled with fingerpaint and crayon. I remember the tingling terror of leaning over the canyon rim, just a bit farther each time. I remember dropping pennies in that fountain, and some of the wishes I made. I remember the happiness before the sadness came. I remember the innocence before the badness came. I remember the girl I once was. I remember the woman I want to become. I remember being afraid of adulthood, and the shock of being grown. I remember pixie dust and mermaids. I remember.
When you leave Neverland this time, you won’t forget. You will fly home, the child you were and the woman you are, and carry your happy thoughts with you.
Story Sessions is doing its very first linkup. You are welcome to write along with us, silly or somber. Do you remember the girl you once were?
All images found on Google, originally from Sony Tristar.