I always wanted to be perfect, because my life wasn’t. Then, like now, I desired to
be a ton of different things and do them well. I learned to cut scraps and sew clothes for
Barbie with aspirations of being a fashion designer. I drew with dreams of being an artist.
I entered poetry contest with hopes of being a poet. I did gymnastics to win a gold medal.
I wanted to be good at it and I wanted to love it. I never had the concrete doctor, lawyer,
and astronaut ambitions. Just wanted to do what I wanted and everyone to shut up about it.
Most third graders don’t know what life is. They aren’t making life decisions.
They don’t drive a car, pay the bills, or do the grocery shopping. Most third graders
aren’t recognizing a power within themselves. At eight years old, life’s purpose
matters very little in the scheme of recess, naps, and getting your way. Twelve years later,
if you include me in a sentence categorizing me as “most” I’m afraid I must
correct you. The third grade was when I realized that I was most definitely not most. As growing
and thinking people, we must understand that realizations don’t have to mean acceptance,
and most never mean understanding, at least not initially.
In the third grade, I wanted to be challenged. I wanted to be surrounded by children as smart
as I was. I wanted variety, not the same badass kids in my class. I wanted to be heard. I wanted
adults to recognize that I could thing for myself. Acknowledge that I had an opinion and I
knew what I liked and didn’t like (green peas and mandarin oranges). I wanted to go into
the library and pick up a book that I couldn’t finish in ten minutes. And if I did, not
be interrupted by some little boy kissing me on the cheek, therefore causing me to put down
my book and go across his face with my tiny third grade hand. I wanted to wear biker shorts
under the skirts that I didn’t want to wear. I didn’t want to be the smallest person
in my class. And I definitely didn’t want to be in ballet anymore.
The change I see in myself as I’ve gotten older is that everything happens when It’s
supposed to. At eight, you only know how to ask for things. You don’t understand why
you can’t get what you want. You don’t like it. At twenty, things come as they
come. They also leave as they please. For the things you cannot change, you deal. For those
you can change, you change. Or shut up about it.