Precious, Untaintable Memories

I’m feeling shitty, and I haven’t been able to get myself to write much let alone share anything. I just looked back at things I have written and came across this rare optimistic piece I wrote in December. I considered sharing it then but ultimately didn’t. Reading it was a good reminder for me, feeling not so optimistic today. So I decided I should share it after all, in case it makes anyone else feel a little better too.

Life has left me with some scars.
My favorite one came from roller blading.
The freedom of flying, the carefreeness before I hit that rock, forever etched onto my left knee.

I may have had tough times
But I’m still the girl who ran wild down the aisles of my father’s warehouse
Only the company’s custom chocolate bars could slow me down

I’m the girl who braved the playhouse roof even though I was always scared to jump off.
I’d climb back down that ladder another thousand times

I’ve ice skated after dark, illuminated by the secret tree lights

I rescued frogs from the swimming pool before school on rainy days and jumped in just because

I flew alone to California before I turned 18

I grew up in that forgotten hallway a little more each fight
But I’ll never forget how green Kauai looked from that helicopter, or learning to surf in Maui, when I was young and unafraid

Sure I’ve been dreaming about dying since I was single digits
But I’ve lived far and wide in the meantime

I may have had should-have-been moments stolen from the child I never was
But what’s rare is still there and I’ll treasure what I can

I’d rather start making decisions a little bit too soon
Than to have no opportunity to choose

Now that I’ve mastered the pursuit of living
I know how to waste my time feeling alive.

The girl who became angry and alone
Refused to stop growing, and now she’s done
So many things a kid could never even think to dream

I’ve swam the fjords in Chile
I’ve soaked in the Finland sauna
I’ve walked the London bridges
I’ve driven to Montreal
I swam back to San Francisco from a boat off Alcatraz
I chose not to die every time I thought about it
I keep finding new evidence that it’s a great thing I’ve done

I’m the kid who so loves musicals
I’m the girl who loves board games
And I’m so happy thinking back to all the hours spent on that

I once believed I needed to be great in a way I never felt I could achieve
I once believed that giving up on that meant giving up on me

But here I stand knowing what it’s like when people listen to what you have to say
And here I stand at all

Here I stand defining greatness by things that matter to me
Like how precious the memories are that I create
Like how many fears I face that threaten the adventures that I want
Like how much I can let go of when it doesn’t really matter
Like how much love that I can show

I look to what I’ve done
What I will do
And add it to my list of good things that I’ve lived through

Like going bowling with my family
Roller blading with my grandma
Like microwave smore failures in summer camp dorms

Quietly dancing at sleepovers so the parents don’t wake up

Sugar high laughter down the small town streets, not caring what anybody thinks

A fridge full of every kind of soda

Meeting my American eskimo puppy after band practice that day

Finally having my own trampoline

Never getting bored of racing on our underground vintage Off Road arcade game

Sometimes I have to mourn what’s been lost
What’s been taken
What’s been missed
And mourn the person I will never get to be.
Sometimes I have to resent the luxury I got when I think about the basic needs that went unmet.
But sometimes I have to remember the most precious innocence
Sometimes I have to love this life and what it’s given me
To remember that it’s all a gift
To forgive the joy for not being absolute
And cradle it as my own

I’ll always remember watching grandpa’s giant Christmas tree spin around a tower of presents
Knowing so many of them would be for me
Thinking how good it is to be a child because everyone buys you toys on Christmas
Imagining how lame it must be to grow up
And only get a couple presents

I could hate myself for being so naive
To think that’s the worst I’d have to face
Or that growing up was something that would come with age

But I love that girl
I loved that tree
And I always will

And I’m still that girl
And there’s so much left to see

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