Driving home yesterday afternoon, I saw a little girl walking in the rain, going to the library. She was dressed up for Halloween, wearing a tattered black and red skirt, a black veil and some crazy makeup. I’m not sure what she was dressed up as, but she looked creepy and interesting – perfect for a 10-year-old girl on Halloween.
As I was watching her, she walked for a few steps, then skipped a few steps, and then started running, and then skipped again, and then jumped in a puddle, and then hopped a bit, then she sprinted up the steps to the library and disappeared with her black veil trailing behind her. And in the 15 seconds I watched her, I was flooded with emotion.
I was so happy to see this happy little girl. I loved that she was oblivious to the world around her, and doing her thing however she felt like doing it. She didn’t care who was watching her. She skipped when she wanted to. She jumped when she wanted to. She ran when she felt like it, and stopped when it suited her. She wasn’t hurting anybody, she was being who she felt like being in that moment, not thinking about who may be watching, who may be judging.
I would love to skip down the street instead of walk, but I don’t. I love jumping in puddles, but I’ll only do it if there is someone to jump with me. I would love to wear a black, birdcage veil on a Wednesday afternoon just because, but I don’t. Because I know people are watching. Because I think people are watching. Because I worry that people are watching.
Though I can’t remember it now, I’m sure there was a time in my life when I wasn’t acutely aware of my surroundings – wondering who’s watching and whispering behind my back. A time when I wore something out of the ordinary because I thought it was pretty or interesting. A time when I jumped in puddles alone, or ran and stopped and ran and stopped because it suited my fancy. I’m sure we all had a time like that. When did we lose it? And why?
I would love to go back in time to the days when I didn’t worry about what others thought, and I did what I wanted to – what I loved – because I loved it. Wore something unique, skipped down the sidewalk, and sang to myself regardless of who was around. A time when the world was there for me, instead of me simply occupying space in the world.
Of course, I can’t go back in time. But maybe – for just a little while – I can try jumping in puddles, skipping down the sidewalk, and singing to myself without worrying what the guy behind me is thinking. I can’t go back to oblivion, but I can try a new state of being – not giving a hoot.