all the surprises in a size too small

September 29, 2009

In middle school in the cafeteria a friend squirted mustard on my brand new white shirt. Her mustard, her fucking clumsiness, my brand new shirt (these types of angered phrases flew across cafeteria trays). I felt angry and I hadn’t yet learned the effects of thrusting my unfiltered young feelings into the face of another young person who would feel something like scared in response. As I said It’s okay in a tone that exuded my regard of it not being okay in the least bit, I could see the wow, what’s her deal? eyes  reflecting their way around the occupants of the table.

Back then I was flooded with thoughts of perfectionism, and when things deviated from my preconceived picture—especially when outside the jurisdiction of my control—I felt the falling away too full.


Now it’s different. Today I knocked a bottle of paint all over the floor of my room and laughed out of trained habit. I shrugged when someone told me little boys were outside messing with my bike. I barely noticed when the group of high school volunteers I spent exhausting hours working with this morning broke a chair and ruined a room when I left them alone. I couldn’t recall how to feel when I walked in on a man who had recently thanked me for being so kind to him sprawled dead across his bed.

Growing up might be synonymous with becoming numb to the things that you once felt so full.


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