He was there all along. He was just hiding. Like he was known to do. But a few years ago,out of nowhere, he poked his curious little blonde head out. After being smothered and silenced for years, the real me came back for good.
After a year or so of being sober, I read that a human’s personality is fully developed by age 6 or 7. This totally made sense to me. I remember being that age and knowing who I was. I would lay on the floor of my bedroom and watch the clouds move back and forth. My imagination was always concocting all kinds of reasons why this was happening. I’d make up stories. I’d write poems about the things I saw or wanted to see. I had a million little tiny creative worlds I was building all at the same time. Somewhere inside me, I had this feeling that this is what I needed to do and who I was. He was a lovely little individual that six year-old version of me. “We remain recognizably the same person. This speaks to the importance of understanding personality because it does follow us wherever we go across time and contexts,” said Christopher Nave, the author of the study that pinpointed age seven as our personality year.
Yes this personality, the one that been described as too girly, too gay, or too weird did follow me. But when you’re a hot pink, glitter marker in a world filled with dull blue Bic ballpoint pens, you do what you can to not stand out too much. Especially in those delightful middle school years where children were run out of town for packing the wrong thing for lunch, much less being super effeminate kid who wrote letters to Cyndi Lauper and collected scratch and sniff stickers. Thankfully, my homies drugs and alcohol were a great equalizer. If I could drink with people and drink more than they could, maybe they’d think I was cool or at least they’d be too wasted to see what I freak I was. The downside of hanging out with those two thugs was that over time, my light really went out. 20 years later, that kid who marveled at sparkling skies and wrote crazy stories was all but dead.
Luckily, I saved him. Or maybe he saved me. Regardless, he came back. The other day, I realized as I was planning my writing projects for the next few months and pitching some creative ideas for other things I’d like to try, that I’m really living the life I want to live today. There’s no end and no saying no. I want to try all sorts of wild things and take all kinds of creative risks. I want to write whatever the fuck I want. Mainly, because now I can. And because I’m sober. Turns out it’s a lot easier to chase your glittering clouds when you don’t wake up feeling like hammered hell 7 days a week.
Yeah I’m not silencing that seven-year old anymore. This time out, he gets to stay up as alate as he wants, be as sparkly as he wants and build as many pretend places as he wants. After all, I’m really proud of the little guy and it’s the least I could do for him.