Have you ever thought about what the inside of your brain looks like? I’m not talking about a Halloween project that involves cold noodles or cauliflower; I’m talking more about the visual manifestation your mind takes on when you visit it.
Some people say their minds are like a file cabinet with drawers filled with memories and imagination. My daughter talks about her mind like an office full of cubicles; walls around all the little things she doesn’t want to remember. I can understand that.
When I think about what my mind looks like, it is more of a cluttered attic with shadowy corners and dusty piles of boxes and crates. There is a lot in there, but I can’t really see it all from the rickety ladder I stand on in the small wooden flap of a doorway when I enter. It is really too much to deal with at times so I tend to keep that door shut and ‘just keep swimming.’
The other day when I was scrapbooking for my mother, I went all the way into the attic of my mind and opened a box. It was way back in the back, covered with old doilies and nameless books from my youth. What I found in that box was very surprising and has stayed with me over the last two weeks.
For as long as I can remember, I have regarded my childhood as a time I did not want to remember. I was not abused or neglected or hurt, I just remembered myself as a dorky kid that basically embarrassed me. I was better now. I had grown up and turned into a completely different person. That is what I told myself.
As I was scrapbooking, I came across several pictures of myself as a baby and young child. One picture in particular just stuck out to me with such power I cannot seem to shake the image. In the picture, I am smiling with a full, innocent, blissful smile reserved only for those that are too young for stress or worry. In that picture, I see a young girl that has no worries, only a love of life and feeling of safety and being loved. I see a girl I do not know, yet takes up a huge part of my heart.
It is a very strange thing to be introduced to yourself. I have wondered at different times in my life if I would want to be my friend if I met myself. Kind of a weird thing to think, but it has crossed my mind for whatever reason.
As I look at this picture, as I do quite frequently now, I have a great longing to know that little girl. I want, with an ache deep down in my heart, to hear her thoughts and dreams and just be with her for a while. I want to remember who I was back then. Why was I so happy in that picture? When did I become this different person and why?
I think about Harry Potter and the mirror he finds at Hogwarts. He sits and stares into the mirror, longing for what he sees there. How strange is it that I sit and stare at a picture of who I used to be and long to be there again? Am I the only one that misses the innocence and beauty of youth?
Maybe that little girl is still inside me somewhere, trying to get out. Maybe she is in that cluttered attic watching my life as it gets more and more complicated and distant from the girl I once was. Is she proud of who I have become? Or does she slink farther and farther back behind the stacks of boxes, trying to block me out as much as I have managed to block her out?
I know I can never go back. I can never be that girl again, but maybe I can let her out a bit. Maybe I can let her share her wonder of life and unbiased trust and love for others. Maybe, just maybe I can gain a bit of her youth to dilute the hardness age has pushed upon me. It’s hard to share my life, even with myself, but I can try…. cause I said so.
Photo credit: http://www.johnderbyshire.com/FamilyHistoryJD/attic.jpg