It’s Not Easy Being A Kid


When I was nine years old, I went tobogganing by myself.  There were a few other kids at the hill, but I had never met them before.  They were having so much fun together, and I longed to join them.  As usual, I didn’t know how.  I got it in my head that if I could just show them how much fun I was to be around, surely they would ask me to slide with them.  At the top of the hill I grabbed my toboggan, ran a few feet, then jumped on and careened down the hill.  It was fast, messy, and undeniably epic.  I caught some air near the bottom, then ungracefully smashed into a tree.  I saw stars.  A couple of kids were standing near where I landed, and I had the irrational urge to convince them that the crash had happened on purpose.  I threw my head back and laughed aloud.  I fell back onto the snow, then rolled onto my side and belly laughed until it hurt.  The kids just stood there and stared at me like I was crazy.  They weren’t wrong.  They saw through me before I truly saw myself.  My need to belong was so painfully obvious that they eventually had to look away.

It’s not easy being a kid.  It’s even harder being a kid who doesn’t easily fit in with others.  As a grown-up who finds it awkward to find her place in the crowd, I still struggle to know how to act.  I did, however, learn to stop crashing into trees in order to get people to pay attention to me.  It’s a much quieter, less painful way to be.

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