Gradually the distance between your person and your childhood grows apart. You start thinking about what your parents think less. You’re beliefs start to mold to your situation more. The time you find for church is really based on your own time. The time you find for anything – is based on your own time. And your money is your own, the responsibility of your wealth becomes your own.
While we, some of us, maintain the knowledge that if it all fell through you could always go home to mommy, you don’t. Because you psychologically can’t anymore. You’re self worth depends on coming out of hardships on your own dime. Or you do, and you revert back to a childlike state indefinitely, until you can once again muster up the courage to leave home and break the inertia. Inertia you never had to break to begin with because it was just written. You went away to college because that’s what you do. Or because that’s what you did.
But as time passes, and your bad decisions become your own burden, childhood’s distant memory either becomes a source of inspiration or it becomes a truly distant memory that you only revisit in a dream-like state or when you are around others that remind you.
Things that remind you of childhood like your dog, your house, your friends, your pictures or t-shirts, trophies, notes, letters. But even then, all that stuff is not really representative of what you were like as a kid.
All at once, childhood seems to disintegrate with time. Sometimes this decomposition happens due to your own changing perception or mentally you block out memories. Or it happens because you change. It can’t stay like this forever. But in your 20s, all you know is what it was. And it’s hard to imagine being any older than you already are now. Like in your 40s or your parents age.
I feel like your entire being relies on what memories you choose to hold on to from your past. Which of those matter now and which won’t ever matter again.
Interestingly for me, the ones I thought would be the most significant memories never have affected my being and the most minimal have become stories I remember and repeat to anyone of value.
When my parents decided to sell the house I grew up in, I had to return home to decipher which of my childhood’s most precious belongings got to continue along in my adulthood. I had to go through and pick out the memories I thought were the most significant and throw the rest away. Maybe not throw, but certainly dispose of the physical evidence. And then what happens, when the evidence disintegrates with time? Do you ever find subtle reminders of times of yore? Or does that memory truly die with that Friday’s trash pickup?
Because certain things that live in my time-capsule room of my childhood are only subtle reminders of my most innocent and favorable memories. But there is no room for them in my adult life, in my small adult apartment on Little Raven Street.
There’s no room in my dresser drawers for my first pair of soccer shorts – Umbros — that were slightly too short, which I wore on my first soccer team that was made up of all boys. One of the boys saw my underwear one day and from then on I was dubbed “Claire bear star underwear”.
There’s no room in my current life for endless t-shirts of soccer, basketball, softball team jersey’s from high school. Or decorated socks from home games and shrines to Scott Bradley from 7th grade.
There’s nowhere to put my endless amounts of trophies from swim team at Westwood Country Club in Vienna, Virginia. Or a place for Kevin Chakin’s photo I kept from swim team pictures circa 1996. Or what about the little sheets of pink paper that told you where you were in line in swim team for the races. For good luck, we would tear off a corner and put it in our suits for the race. To those races I won, I still have those pink corners.
I’m not sure where I’m going to put those beanie babies that Scott gave me, or the endless amounts of dried flowers I kept from my endless amounts of boyfriends. Prom, homecoming, Valentines Day, birthdays, Christmas. It didn’t matter – I always had a guy at every holiday corner. It was my thing. And each one was special. So special that I kept every single rose I was ever given.
I was never given a rose Brian Fischer though. His memory will forever be burned in the pages of my leather diary aging from 6th-9th grade.
And what about my diaries. My books. My notes. Everything I’ve ever written. My pen never turned to gold. And those wistful wishes of becoming a coveted writer, where my childhood brilliance would be forever archived in a museum – those wishes are but distant memories now. So who will ever want to read that stuff now? My children? My grandchildren? What if I die before I ever even have kids? Then all the stuff will sit in a trunk that doesn’t exist, like some sad old ladies memories that turned out to never be important to anyone else buy her.
But if you throw them away, they are gone to the wind.
Does our stuff make us who we are? If my house burned down and I never had the luxury of deciphering the worth of my valuables, would I be a different human? Would my memories completely fade with time and only date back 5-10 years? Would I still have dreams of frolicking in the field with Sean Settle as kids, making up stories about hunting mad-men that would snatch you if you went past the line of the meadows?
If I died and my house burned down, would my soul then disintegrate with the ashes?
I always felt as a kid that my only value was in the pages of my journals. My journals that I declared independence, faith, values, morals – all of which I never kept once faced with actually having to choose my alignment. My journals declaring my deep passionate love for whoever, or my deep gushing sadness about whatever. If a fire were to come and take back my belongings – take them all, I’d say: But spare my journals which I never cared quite enough about to actually place in a safe or fire proof box – though the thought had crossed my mind on more than one occasion.
But there is no fire. Only change. My parents moving on with their lives. Molly, my childhood dog passing away because she didn’t have the energy to move on to a new set of memories. Change of beginning the adult portion of my being, where success and time are only defined by what I physically make of them and never more. Change affecting all portions of my being, and already displacing portions of my physicality.
So what, with change. It’s the purging of your soul. Catharsis from your used to be. Distance between your reality and your unrealized plans. Change is where you get to silo off that which made you who you are and that which almost did.