I’m reading the book Embrace Your Weird by Felicia Day and I’ve gotten to a section where she asks you to think about your childhood in various stages and she asks questions.
When it comes to life as a very small child I remember mostly generalities – my dad left, we moved, we went swimming with friends, we played around the neighbourhood, there was a lady who watched us after school for a while and she had Hungry Hungry Hippos.
I don’t remember her name, but her basement was full of games. She might have been Mrs. Spence? Anyway, she was a little old lady who lived between us and the school.
I grew up in a great neighbourhood. I went to preschool at one end of it and lived at the other end for a while – bridge to bridge. We had an elementary school, a pool, park, arena, library. We had an awesome community centre that ran after school programs and classes for all ages – I took tap, pottery and carpentry.
We were allowed to roam free a lot of the time. After all, we knew people all over the neighbourhood and I’m sure they were looking out for us.
In the book she asks you to pull out pictures of yourself at different ages and describe yourself, and I started thinking about who I thought I was at the time vs who I think I may actually have been.
I think about myself as a fat, pathetically shy, forgettable kid. Looking back now I see a girl who spent a whole lot of time thinking, writing, figuring myself out. I knew that I didn’t fit in, but I also knew that I wasn’t willing to put a lot of effort into being cool.
When I look back at her, I see a kid who was who she was and wasn’t going out of her way to be someone else – even when it maybe could have made life easier to handle.
Ever so occasionally she was brave. She really was. All the things she pushed herself to do helped me become me – and me is pretty good.