Have you ever stopped in the middle of doing something (anything) and questioned your own identity? Have I been this way my whole life, or did I become this way over time?
When I was five, I became enthralled by my cousin Cory. At the time, the age difference was significant (although, it might not be today), but truth be told, I had a mad crush on him. That’s right. I won’t lie. I was “in love” with one of my first cousins. At that point, life had not revealed any reason why two first cousins ought not be romantically involved.
After spending an afternoon with him and his brother and sister, my mom arrived to take me home. As we started to drive away, I confessed to her, “Sometimes, I wish Cory would kiss me.” To my shock and dismay, she turned the car around and went to spill my heart out to Cory. I reached out with my (at the time) very short arms and covered her mouth with both my hands. I begged and pleaded and started to cry for her not to say anything. She pulled my hands away and shouted to my cousins, “Carly just wanted to thank you for a fun day today!” They all waved and shouted some happy things back. I sank down into my seat and regained my five-year-old composure. My life could have ended right then, but my mother is merciful.
Now, I am not entirely sure how pre-school works in the different parts of the world, but where I came from, there were different “levels” to pre-school. Kind of like grades, but not as important. All the kids in pre-school were simply that: kids in pre-school, or “pre-schoolers.” But there were young pre-schoolers and there were older pre-schoolers and the young pre-schoolers learned differently than the older pre-schoolers. However, despite not intermingling the ages, I fell head-over-velcro-straps for an older preschooler. His name was Nat. Eventually, I found myself at Nat’s home for a “play date” and let me just say, What an awesome guy. He introduced me to his goldfish, showed me his micro-machine collection, and even shared a plate of his mother’s strawberry jam sandwiches. By the end of the day, it wasn’t just me liking him anymore. It was mutual. And I’m sure both our mothers believed it incredibly cute, which it was.
By the time I started third grade, pursuing a boy was a requirement. It was like brushing my teeth every morning, eating lunch everyday, and a good game of “Three Fly’s Up” at recess. Chasing the boy was a daily activity. I often went to the library to invest my time and energy into his interests and hobbies. Once, I spent several weeks reading “How to Play Baseball” books, writing out specific terminology and studying the series of photos describing, in great detail, how to throw a “knuckle ball.” Conveniently enough, Sandlot came out in theatres and I managed to see it four times. For educational purposes as well as entertainment. To prove my fundamental knowledge of baseball, I went to a game with my family, sat behind homeplate, and screamed (over and over), “Throw a knuckle ball! A Knuckle Ball!!!” My Aunt Holly turned to my mother and asked, “What on earth is she yelling?” but I don’t remember if my mother answered her or not.
The hardest I ever fell for a boy was in the ninth grade, for a particular youth group hottie. (Leah, you’re grinning right now, I know it.) The whole relationship could be summed up by these undying words, “Why are you obsessed with him, Carly?” Add an echo to the word “obsessed” and you might understand the effect this boy had on me. To this very day, if I should stand in the same building as Richard Eugene Nichols, I would wonder about every possibility. Every last one. I would forget all hurt feelings, cruel words, and back-stabbing’s and wonder about “what could still be…” This I know, because it happened. When, after not seeing him for two years, I discovered he was a student at my same school. Torture.
I think about the past and laugh. A lot. Because of my own ridiculousness. So much of me is a Silly Girl and I feel that won’t ever change. If my heart were broken bad enough, I could tragically succumb to bitterness and resentment, but I never expect that.
My whole approach with boys/guys/men has been bollicks.
The Kingsgate Library is located two minutes from my apartment and I find myself pacing their shelves many days throughout the week. I had come and gone a few times before I finally saw what was located in the parking lot across the street. So, upon my visit to the library today, I checked out a few books. Including How to Get Published, Writer’s Market 2003, On How to Write Well, Freelance as a Living, and lastly, Hockey: Rules and Terminology.
There is an ice arena across the street. Legend has it that if I hadn’t ridden horses growing up, I would have asked my parents for a pair of ice skates. Now, living so close to an actual rink, I may have the opportunity to play a new kind of game. A bit later than I suspected, but it’s never too late… for hockey.
This whole tangent sprouted from remembering the time spent in my elementary school library, reading the “how-to’s” of baseball. To impress a particular third grade hunk. For every fiction novel I read, I’ll read two or three self-improvement books. On a variety of subjects. But you’ll be glad to know that my new interest in hockey was launched by a combination of things. First, I’m as inactive as Jets’ blog and without some kind of activity, everything else starts to lag. Second, I’m not in school, but I love to learn. Third, I love to skate, but I’ve never known how to skate with skill. Fourth, I’ve always enjoyed playing with a team and haven’t done so since my softball-days, back in the early 90’s. And for these reasons, I’m giving it my best shot.
There is a torn out piece of paper pinned to a corkboard on my wall. I put it there sometime during my junior year of high school. And I quote, “…life has no limits… If I can dream it, imagine it, I’ll do it…” I think it was an advert for lip-gloss.