write about innocence: day thirty

“Remember when you were young? You shone like the sun.” – Pink Floyd

Write about childhood. Write about ignorance. Write about dreams and hopes and when you still believed in Santa Claus. Tap that part in all of us that remembers what it was like to be innocent. Don’t speak to the jaded adult; communicate with the child within and help us find that person again.

Greetings from the slacker; suffice to say, I’ve put these last two blogs off long enough. Thanks to some encouragement I’m back on track for the moment.

I feel like I’ve touched on innocence a bit in a previous blog in this challenge (write a letter to your younger self) but I feel like I could go on and on about the innocence of my younger years.

Throwing it waaaaaay back to 2000
Throwing it waaaaaay back to 2000

I was raised pretty conservatively (not on the level of the Duggar family though), heavily involved in youth group, home schooled, seasoned with the purity culture movement and didn’t start listening to mainstream music until I was about fifteen or sixteen. I didn’t hold a boy’s hand until after that. I don’t think I even looked at Victoria’s Secret, let alone walk in, until after that because of some sort of well meaning, but misplaced ideal about modesty. I never really felt afraid to be anywhere because it never really occurred to me that anyone would have less than honorable intentions towards me.

Ahh, the tween years (2003)
Ahh, the tween years (2003)

It’s interesting–when it comes to innocence I find myself automatically measuring it based on the lack of knowledge and experience during my early to mid teen years. I know I was uncommonly unaware in many ways for my age, so it’s an easy reference point. There’s more to innocence than the absence of immorality, though. There’s this whole other wonderful side to it that gets overlooked because we spend so much time defining things by their negatives.

Hi there, you little baby, you. (2007)
Hi there, you little baby, you. (2007)

I played with Barbie dolls until I was thirteen years old and no one made fun of me because I was the oldest of three girls and it was normal for me. When I was I was fourteen, I would have sleepovers with my besties and we all wore t-shirts and jeans and giggled over boys from youth group together. When I was fifteen, the same friends and I went to Driver’s Ed at school and celebrated at the end of it all by getting a hotel room and staying up late watching M. Night films and getting sugar hang-overs. When I was sixteen I started community college and I wore pink cardigans and baggy jeans; boys never looked at me and I wouldn’t have even known how to spot it if they did. When I was seventeen I spent all my free time between jobs down at St. Matthew’s House with dad and all the homeless guys and they were kind to me and treated me like their own little daughter. I didn’t understand the stigmas that people had for the “down and out” people–I only ever saw people because that’s what my dad saw. When I was eighteen I felt real love and heartbreak for the first time and I didn’t even know how to protect myself because I hadn’t developed a hard exterior yet.

Posing for thoughtful museum photos (2009)
Posing for thoughtful museum photos (2009)

The list goes on and on.

I was allowed to experience my innocence to the fullest; I was given permission to let it flavor every area of my life and it wasn’t taken away from me at the upsettingly young age that it is from most people these days. I was a giant dork, but I cherish it because I was allowed to be and was surrounded by people who accepted me as that. I wouldn’t trade that for all the cleverness and self preservation skills in the world.

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