You don’t look back along time, but down through it, like water
-Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye.
I give in to nostalgia every single day. looking back at life is like looking down through liquid; memories float to the surface of consciousness without the convenience of chronology. we fill in the blurred blanks on our own, like we’re holding a magic marker that can trace the truth with subtle substitutes. you could find yourself injecting green into a memory like you experienced it firsthand, when really you were staring at a barren wasteland.
I don’t know what my brain may have embellished. all I know is that when I invite the past to occupy my mind it takes me on a ride that shifts in and out of linear time. one minute I’m the kid lying in my blue bunkbed with a salty sea of tears swallowing my face like a miniature tsunami, because my mom won’t lie to me when I ask her if she will please promise me that she will never, ever die. then, I’m 16 lying to her about where I’m going on a friday night, after having pilfered ounces of vodka from the liquor cabinet and replacing it with water (real stealth, 16 year old self).
…I’m the chubby, bossy, carefree 7 year old jumping on our old trampoline (I was so obese, I am so sorry to all humans in possession of a pair of functioning eyes in the 90s that had to witness this); I’m 20 looking at the backyard with my brother wishing we still had that damn thing to bounce on.
…I’m 6 hiding from teachers in the coat racks at Port Guichon Elementary with my new rebellious friend Samantha; I’m 17 and she’s with me climbing on bails of hay at my family reunion in Saskatchewan, because she’s become like family.
…I’m 8 sitting on the swings having my first real conversation with Janall about my mom’s lazer eye surgery, and cake (yep, 8 year old me WOULD be talking about cake); I’m 18 and her and I are sitting on my roof with a bucket of ice cream and two spoons, watching the sky melt pink.
I know that my first crush was in kindergarden on Jamie Malanfant; I went to the colouring station and all that was left was the black crayon. “Here,” Jamie said, handing me a crayon, “you can take my purple one.”
here was this cute boy offering me the last good stick of vibrant colour? that’s when I
decided knew that I really liked him.
throughout my participation in the progress of existence, all I really do is live by punctuating my being with breathing… and suddenly I’m 21. how am I supposed to feel by now? I’m somewhere in between child and adult in the weirdest way (and no, this isn’t some oldschool Britney moment of like ♫ i’M nAt a GRRL, nAt yEt a WoMiN ~~~)
I’m still like a child, with impulsive curiosity ruling my mind, my mouth, my hands.
I’m still like an angsty teenager, with my love for dark music and thought regression obsessions that come up when I’m giving into my brain’s anxiety sessions.
BUT aren’t I a ‘young woman’ who has learned so much from who I used to be?
sometimes I feel like I’m 5 again, developing crushes over purple crayons, ‘cause last week I’m sitting here at 21 with jellified legs watching a
certain boy walk by in a purple shirt. then, in an instant, I’m 80 years old already, looking back and telling myself not to take silly little crushes seriously, because I’m just so young, and these are the good old days.
I give so much of myself to the past, and then to the future in little imaginary blueprint plans. there are pieces of me everywhere, leaking out around the spaces and locations that time occupies. and there’s this mysterious symmetry in all of it, the way memories can compile themselves like awful movie montages and haunt you at all the
wrong right moments.
time is the most unconventional map to knowing ourselves. we learn from the past, but we can also manipulate moments and memories with our minds. we have that power, to paint the past and present with our perception… so ifff you wanna, go splatter green on the wastelands of yesterday; fill in the focus lines in the vacant spaces of what was and is and will be one day. mental creativity can be the engine of favorable fate.
do you have any idea how powerful your imagination is? let it run wild like a disney star turning 18.