To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them." | Bob Dylan
When we grow up, we like to think we're some new creature. We leave behind all of the awkwardness and acne, gaining a full-time job and some certificate of higher education. We blindly expect anything that happened back then to remain there, in the Back Then.
What nobody tells you, however, is you're a summary of every scene you've been a witness to and every person you've ever met. You're still that girl. The one from back then. Regardless of your mortgage payment and lack of curfew. Regardless of all your regenerated cells and refined taste buds, you're still the kid who ate lunch in the bathroom stall at school one time. You know, like people do in the movies. Except that it actually happened in real life because walking out of third period and showing your face to other people who expected it to look all shiny was simply not happening that day. Because you realized in an instant that all of the florescent lighting and wide open space was more than you could handle.
As much as you'd like to disown this truth, you're still the girl who found refuge in that metal rectangle, trying to eat her sandwich but mostly crying. No, sobbing. Shamelessly. And you know it was shamelessly because you still remember the stranger who braved to ask the question, "Girl crying in the stall, are you okay?" And even though you could hardly utter a comprehensive reply through your gasps for air, you remember appreciating the gesture all the same.
To this day, like it or not, you are that same Unofficial Orphan. The one who took shelter in other people's identities and ate dinner at their houses several times a week. The girl who made a habit of signing up for heartbreak to avoid real vulnerability. Still the girl who wondered what was wrong with herself after realizing she felt loneliest with another person at her side. The girl who, without books to carry, never had any idea what to do with her arms because she thought too hard about it. The girl who thought too hard about all of it. That girl who mastered the art of disappearing and missed the point of high Grade Point Averages.
And in spite of all the years between back then and right this instant, all of the wrestling with reality and the efforts to outrun it, that girl? She's still here.