Last night when I was trying to fall asleep, I had these random memories of my four year old self emerge from somewhere deep in the back of my mind. When I was in preschool, I still wasn’t walking all of the time. I remembered how I would crawl around, eager to find a game to play or a friend to greet. Of course, I walk well enough all these years later, yet I am much more aware of how I get around a lot differently than most of the people around me. I miss that little girl. I had forgotten how unapologetic she was for being herself. Her physical limitations didn’t stand in the way of her vibrant spirit. She cared a great deal more for sharing the beautiful things in the world around her; for all the moments when she could say- “Look, do you see it too? This is amazing.”
I grew up. It wasn’t long (probably around the age of seven), before I started to take in the perceptions of others more often than the wonders I still found all around me. I was walking regularly by then, but those other things I did in alternate ways became something I avoided when out in public. If I knew the struggle would be visible, I would choose not to bother. I hid, and this meant that some activities that left me out were by my own choice, not because there wasn’t a way that I could participate. I feared being stared at, judged or misunderstood as weaker than and helpless more than I cared about sitting on the sidelines. Four-year old me was too full of hope and enthusiasm to care, and she saw how we were all the same. She’d probably grow impatient with me pretty quickly.
I miss her. I feel a little more like her as the years go on. She’s wise. I hope she visits again and tells me more about what truly matters in this wondrous life.