NaBloPoMo #4: you were not yet afraid of the world

This is another write from our Fearless Words group. For our prompt, we used Pat Schneider’s brief visualization, “In this one you are…” Imagine a photograph, and begin writing by describing the picture, starting with the phrase, “in this one you are…”

We had 8 minutes. This is what I wrote:

In this one you are that wild-haired girl with the square head who drapes herself over a birthday cake, sticking your tongue out, 3 or 4 years old, ready to sink your teeth into your mom’s homemade vanilla frosting and the yellow cake underneath. You were all energy and action and curiosity, such an enormous personality all through your childhood — your father could hardly recognize you when you got back in touch with him at age 21 and called yourself introverted. What? He said. You? And who knows — maybe no one could go through what you did and not land on the other side needing a lot of time a lone to sort out your own thoughts and feelings.

It used to be you said aloud whatever was in your head, almost any thought or feeling, even if no one was around, you talked to your many imaginary friends, to your dolls Rebecca and Jenny, to the muppets on Sesame Street, to your books, to your baby sister, to your mom who was so angry and scared and lonely, to your dad who was so distant and lost, you were all voice then. Words were some of your best friends. You were not afraid of the world yet — you had no reason to be. You kept your mouth open, stuck your tongue out, and tasted. I feel you in me still, so hungry and curious, unashamed, easy to laughter, open to the world. I bring you with me when I go into the garden, hike through the redwoods, let minnows nibble on my ankles, learn anything new. I am still so grateful for you.

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