I began my work in 2009. Surprisingly, I was asked if I would be interested to apply for work right after I graduated. I didn’t think twice, knowing that it was a place where I had met a lot of people that I admired, and which offered a curriculum that was in itself very attractive for me to be teaching in eventually.
Ten years, needless to say, so much has happened. Where did that child, with eyes-full-of-wonder and legs ready-to-hike-the-academic-mountain, go?
She existed once. Used to wonder more about the world. Used to feel like it was her job to keep things steady. Used to live a little more.
Slowly, she grew aware of the deliberate demands of each day. She began to focus on how to survive. She learned to get along with others, to adapt, to evolve.
It wasn’t long before—
she did not know how to balance out the idea of a past and present self, only to be dutiful—
she became lonely without realizing it.
She continued to search for some affirmation, some confirmation of her existence and importance, know that she was significant for another, and yet independent. By that point, anyone who felt like an affirmation would suffice, even if she had no idea why she did whatever she did.
It doesn’t take very much, or very long, for a person to lose themselves. All it takes is loneliness, and to stop thinking of anything meaningful like purpose or significance.
And so, I lost her. She is gone– the girl with eyes full of wonder.
She remains a memory to me but to others a ghost that they see. When they talk to me, they see her, not me, so I act for their sake.
I tell myself that, sometimes, people don’t need to realize that they are talking to ghosts, and are more comfortable knowing that they are living in a memory rather than a reality.
I keep her memory alive for them. I nourish those relationships she made, begun, and try to sustain the ones that continue to be good for her.
Frankly, if they paid more attention, they might notice the mask and miming. They might realize that they were talking to an actress, whose mask seems ready to fall off.
She is long-gone. Don’t they see?
I try to re-live that memory of me; now and then, if only because it feels like the better part of me.
Where did she go–? I wonder if you miss her too.
Sometimes, I’d like to think that I do.