Being alone is hard but it’s the only way. You have to really know yourself before you can let anyone inside your heart, your life. I’m paraphrasing.
So maybe spending time alone is terrifying to me for any number of reasons. But is getting to know myself one of them?
Sometimes I miss my innocence. And then at other times I wonder if I ever had it. I wonder who I was before puberty hit. I wonder if there’s a way back to childhood: A way to know that first me.
The key seems to lie in the first: That first little La. She knew something. And she’s afraid of telling me what it is. It’s really like a death this loss of the first one of me.
I see her in photographs. I can’t even tell you that I recognize her.
I do remember her trapping a butterfly into a jar once and thinking she killed it, prayed to Jesus for mercy, bargaining with him that she would never catch another butterfly every again for the rest of her life if only He would bring this one back. I remember the butterfly flew away.
I remember something. I remember being excited that God had answered my prayers. I remember telling my mom. And I remember her answer: “It must not have been dead.”
And I do remember feeling reality for the first time. I do remember and maybe this was the point where it all went away, all the magic of the world, extinguished in a single sentence, puberty descended, I got interested in boys and the rest is history. I guess. So then why to this day have I still never caught a single butterfly? Not for lack of interest. I would love to pin butterflies to a velvet pillow and close the glass lid on them. No. I won’t catch butterflies because I promised God I wouldn’t, and because of that he brought the butterfly back to life.
I never asked what the consequences would be if I didn’t catch one. I just know that I never will.
It was probably not one single event though that ruined everything for me, this growing up disease that I caught. It was more than likely a whole chain of half-empty affirming moments that eventually the first Alea, being the praying and timid type, just simply went away. She took her Unicorns with her, and the faeries, and the fantasies of a better mom and dad and vanished.
I can feel her remembered pain, but she won’t speak to me.
I really want to be still for awhile.