I’ve always been focused on the past as a sort of dark place, and consistently looked to the future to build my fantasies.
And in doing so – I’ve looked upon that girl, that woman I used to be as something to be erased in search of new and improved versions of myself. I look with disdain behind, and with tunnel vision focus on the future. Never really in the present moment.
This was a helpful coping mechanism as a kid, but not quite translating in to adulthood as useful.
However, the past hasn’t been such a dark place also and in denying myself (because who I used to be, am, and this weird linear timeline all have value and are all part of Stephanie) I’ve spun a rubbish story.
This girl took a 1 year old on her hip and went to the playground. Instead of playing on the swings herself, she would push him on the swing. She still knew love and fought for it. When bullies came to trouble Sheldon, she protected him.
I remember once I climbed in to the Abu Shagara park with Sheldon I think. It started to rain and then mum started screaming to come in. I didn’t want to go back in and got a bit wet but then I climbed back out with Sheldon. That was brave for an 8 year old. Learning to play with a child on your hip, climbing over fences with him, dancing in the rain. I thought of myself back then as so fragile but I wasn’t.
I remember that hair brush, and those ribbons that I hated so much. This girl was barely 11 or 12. She fought off abusers, she fought to get a valuable education, she had delinquent friends and did delinquent things but always kept her eyes on the prize. She listened to music and sang along (not as loudly as I do now but still the same). She took care of a 3 or 4 year old and has responsibilities no child that age should have. She wore it with such a truck load of grace.
I remember having sword fights, jumping on the bed with Sheldon. They were so fun. It’s such a closely held memory of play, for me.
In some ways, I had a fuller life than most. I got to see and expose myself to a lot.
I feel like I remember not fully smiling because of bad teeth. If only I could tell that girl every dentist ever has said they love her teeth. Not my gums maybe which could use some lovin, but my teeth for sure. It’s not such a bad smile, and mum’s right back there with me. I remember her around so little but I remember her fighting for me in her own way too.
I really loved the water and was so fearless. I remember that time I went in to the wave pool at Wild Wadi and went in as far as I could go -thinking even as a 13 year old that floats were dumb and not badass. LOL.
I started to drown when the waves hit, I saw my life flash before me until a dude passed me his float. I walked out, Sheldon made fun of me. He was such a gross kid sometimes. BUT I took a float and went right back in. Nothing was going to scare THAT kid. I did every ride on my own. Except one super duper scary one. Kinda wish I could go back and do it.
I mean this kid got her own library membership and paid for it herself. God, I was all of 14! How was I so smart? Books, literally, SAVED me!!
I would just pour myself in to them. Sometimes her courage is so unbelievable, I say it out loud hoping to be seen but I see you.
This girl, only 21 taught a bunch of kids. Started a library of 1000 brand new books. She commanded the respect of those 30 students and years later they still love her. Love me.
This girl was so afraid of the cold, but she bravely took on so many travels.
She didn’t know how to, but still made friends
That girl had so many travels, so bravely, ALL BY HERSELF. Met friends halfway across the world.
Even decided not to have internet in all these countries.
Decided to go topless at 24 for the first time an a Spanish beach.
I didn’t have one single mishap that trip. Of all the stories I’ve heard, I took good care of myself, and I still can.
I won people over when I wanted to – That crabby bus driver in Carer de Begur. He even said “Take care of yourself, you’re a single girl travelling alone” like one Indian uncle after snapping at me the first time he saw me. 🙂
AND I never needed to put it up on Instagram to feel worthy. That’s something. I knew THAT too then.
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