Eight

Childhood was so perfect! Sometimes I wish I could be eight again, she said. More freedom.

Freedom from what? I asked, curious.

Freedom from having to think twice about everything I say or do, of course, she giggled. You know how it is with in laws – they find reasons to get offended. I would fight back, but my husband does not tolerate that kind of stuff. Plus I can’t wear what I want anymore – can’t just step out to go meet a friend when I feel like it.

I understood.

R came from the ideal family – doting parents, independent children, enough money to keep squabbles at bay. I was jealous of the way her parents spoke to her, always lovingly and with concern. She married her college sweetheart and has the most well-behaved children but the most boring life.

Me, I come from a far-less-than-ideal family that liked to pretend otherwise. My parents hated each other’s guts, and ours. We were the reason why they had to stay together – this was my mother’s ultimate sacrifice, and we were painfully aware of the burden our existence was for her. But if you were to look at our photographs from back then, you’d see only oblivious children with glazed, glassy eyeballs. You’d have no idea how fucked up we really were. I grew up to become a socially awkward person with the decision-making ability of a saucepan.

 

And now, in my thirties, I am finally discovering what it is like to think and feel like an eight year old – a luxury I didn’t have in 1990. (Because when I was eight, I was battling agony, indignation, confusion, self-loathing, betrayal; and a few years later, even arousal.)

I am filled to the brim with love and contentment. I am truly happy for the first time in my life. Not because I have a family that loves me – but because I am finally able to understand and love myself.

Maybe my childhood is only just beginning. Maybe I was meant to live my life in reverse.

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What about you? Are you happier now that you are an adult? Do you miss your carefree childhood? Did you have a carefree childhood?

 

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anawnimiss

Blogger. Crazy bitch. Stalkee. Weirdo magnet. Wannabe housewife. Corporate Slave. Find me at anawnimiss.wordpress.com!

21 thoughts on “Eight”

  1. My childhood was carefree and pretty great until I went to boarding school aged 9 and figured out that the world was not as nice, or as carefree as I’d thought it was. And that both children and adults can be pretty horrible. So to me, my “eight” is nine. It was my last birthday party as a child. Which is why as an adult I always made a big deal of birthdays.

    Like you, I feel like adulthood is a chance to live everything in reverse. I’ve pretty much done the opposite of what all my “grown up” friends have done, like moved into the city rather than out, and bought every silly toy I ever wanted as a child but didn’t have, and got the pet I wasn’t allowed to have as I was living away from home at a young age. Adulthood is freeing in that way, once you get past the unfortunate reality of having to get a job! I definitely relate to early childhood as being a happy time and my love of Disney is probably a way I get to enjoy that as an adult!

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  2. I completely understand the ‘ understanding and loving yourself now’. That’s what I feel happened in the past year of my life. I’m 27. My parents always fought-mostly about money and the children- so I never grew a solid relationship with either of them. It’s nice to look back and see how you are or why you are the way you are because of the past. I just make sure I never blame it, as crappy as it was sometimes. Because afterall, you love yourself and I love myself and the past has shaped us so..thank you past and thank you to cool us who figured out how to love what we’ve become. 🙂

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  3. I think this truly is your chance now to invent your childhood new in giving your child what you think a child should have/experience. And you will do a lot for yourself that way… it’s like thearpy!

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  4. It’s true – many of my friends felt like they were starting over when they had their children – a chance to live life, raise their kids, and “be” on their terms. I’m not so much different, I guess. I didn’t have a traumatic childhood. Rather, I had a traumatic adulthood. Now I’m in my 40s, having redirected my life and found peace, joy, and happiness that I was afraid I’d never find. My kids are a big part of that. Even bigger, is the man who shares this life with me. Enjoy motherhood – it’s a hell of a ride.

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  5. For me, now is definitely better than then.
    Erika is right, when you have a child it gives you the opportunity to return to childhood and look at it with different eyes.
    Leslie

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  6. As much as I would love to talk about it, there are things that you can never talk about. Maybe someday.

    I do understand how you love your childhood now, I myself go for half a jog and lazily dangle my legs off the parapet now and then and wait for the mangoes and the balloon guy and the ring of the ice cream wala’s cycle bell. That appreciation comes with age maybe for those who never knew what it was, which is when people look at me questioning that though I talk like a 50 year old, sometimes I can prance around like a 5 year old, I realise it’s maybe a gift, a consolation prize of sorts..

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    1. Ah! When you write, I see you with your legs dangling and my imagination adds a lazy smile to the picture. You’re a beautiful person, did you know that?
      I do hope that some day we will both prance around like five year olds. Together. Love.

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  7. Sounds like you have found the path Ana. My childhood as spoiled as I was an only child – but I still would not trade it for my adulthood – adulthood is so much better.

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  8. I had a pretty good childhood, and still have the decision-making capability of a teaspoon! Possibly because I was very sheltered. But, like you, I feel like I’m finally freeing myself now. Except my shackles were self-imposed.

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    1. Yeah, I’ve heard that one before. I have friends who have lived sheltered lives and can’t think beyond the shackles you talked of. I am happy to hear you’re working on liberating yourself from them. It’s – well, freeing. 🙂

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  9. I had a pretty shitty childhood too – my parents didn’t hate each other, but they argued and fought pretty much all the time, and I always thought I was the reason. And then, my mom died when I was 13…so there goes my teenage down the drain. The twenties were spent in rockbottom self esteem. Thirties, not so bad once the dude came into my life. Forties – my BEST years yet (touch wood). So, no, I wouldn’t go back to anything less than the forties ever again.

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    1. So sorry to hear about your mom, L. I can imagine what it’s like growing up with only half a set of parents – Mister lost his dad when he was eleven. It’s so hard and unfair!
      Btw, I’m looking forward to my forties too now that I’m at peace with who I am and who I am with.

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  10. Yeah, I am happier being an adult. Childhood meant being beaten up by dad, teachers, and other kids at a school in the suburbs of madras. Now I live in San Francisco. Anonymous and accepted.

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