Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I was the girl who fist pumped the air when she found lemonade.

I've been in what I guess I'd call a funk, for the lack of a better word, for almost two years now. I mean, not continuously. There have been some pretty great times. Really great times, actually. I just haven't felt like myself, I guess, as much as I used to. 

I was the girl who got excited and cheered and skipped in the dining hall when I realized there was chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream on Sundae Sunday. I was the girl who marvelled over finding the most perfect yellow leaf on the sidewalk. I was the girl who twirled in parking lots and danced in living rooms. I was the girl who turned the volume on the sample music in stores as loud as it could go (especially the bagpipe CD) and pranced away cheerfully. I was the girl who said goodbye to boats.

I was the girl people called weird, different, unique, special, whimsical, eccentric. 

And I liked that girl. I miss that girl.

When I've expressed this feeling to the friends I've made in Beijing, they're surprised. "But you're still like that!" 

"Nah, not like I used to be. Not nearly as often or as expressive." 

"Wow, if this isn't you excited, I wonder what you were like then." 

When I've expressed this feeling to people who have known me for some time, they say, "It's okay. You're growing up. People change." 

And I know people grow up, people change, and those things are important and should be embraced, but if this is growing up, I don't want to, and if this is how I'm changing, I don't want to. 

I want to get excited about the little things that most other people seem to think are silly to get so excited about. Cherry Coke at Subway on a road trip. A new book at a bookstore. The smell of lilacs. "Electric Avenue" coming on the radio. 

I want to sing along with musical greeting cards even if I'm in the middle of the store. Smile at strangers and say hello! or nǐ hǎo! Pretend I'm a race car driver while I'm pushing a grocery cart. 

I want to celebrate the fleeting moments that make me grin wider than I realized was possible. The things that make me pause, make me exclaim, make me forget myself, lose myself, even if only for a moment.

Maybe I am growing up (certainly I am). Maybe I am changing (certainly I am). Maybe I'm losing part of who I used to be. I don't know. Lately I've been thinking that I've just forgotten how to be happy. I mean really and truly happy. Maybe more accurately I've forgotten how to let myself be happy. How to bask in that happy feeling, how to open myself up to it, how to express it when I feel it, without worrying about what others will think, about what I'll think, about the bad that might be around the corner.

I don't know if I can get it back. (I hope I can.) I don't know if I should try or just let myself keep going the way I'm going. Because I'm not unhappy, I'm just not as effervescent as I once was. I mean, I don't want to fake anything, but at the same time, fake it until you make it, right? 

And on that note...

"Yellow!" - Me, always

There's a lot I want to remember about last Saturday. I mean, I went to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, and as Melissa said to me, "You were at fucking Tiananmen Square! That's a big deal."

And it is a big deal. But I want to make sure I remember the little things that made me feel a glimmer of the way I used to be:

I want to remember that I was happy when I saw a fading yellow arrow on the ground.

I want to remember that I saw a bird and ran after him, saying "Hello, birdie!" And when he flew away and I turned around, Katie was standing there, watching me, and she shook her head and said, "Don't ever change."

I want to remember that we crossed the street and it felt like we were walking into the sun and Katie and I were singing "Believe" by Cher.

I asked Katie to take this photo because I realized there were a lot of things in that moment that make me happy: bright colours, lemonade, living in a city that has a subway system. I didn't get excited, but I noticed.

And maybe that's the trick. Maybe I still am that girl, the one who gets excited and twirls in the rain and sings at the top of her lungs and makes wishes on dandelions. Maybe I just need to notice it.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautifully written post. One of my favourites. I love you <3


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