Words from Within This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Hey out there! I bet you thought I was gone, having perished in the shadows of your mind after all these years of neglect. Well, surprise, I’m still here. You haven’t forgotten about me, have you? Ever since you started growing up, things just haven’t been the same. You never listen to me anymore. Long ago, if I didn’t feel like cleaning our room, we’d go outside and play on the swings, shouting and overflowing with giggles. Now, we hardly ever play. I can’t even remember the last time we went to the park! These days, you’re so busy. You have time for other things: school, sports, and your big friends, but I’m feeling pretty neglected. I hate to say this, but I’m a lot smaller than I used to be.

Years ago, I was in control, free to do spur-of-the- moment activities, without worrying about the effects of our actions. Remember the time we knocked down that bees’ nest with a baseball? Now that was exciting! I mean, sure, we ended up with a few stings, but we’re still alive, aren’t we? If it wasn’t for me, would you ever have had a chance to study a yellow, swarming wall of bees, furiously buzzing? All those hours of science homework you struggle through will never compare with that experience!

Consequences, consequences, consequences! That’s all I ever hear. Remember that hot summer evening we drenched Mom with the garden hose right before she left for the party? Did consequences get in our way then? Of course I didn’t enjoy being grounded for the rest of the month, but it was worth it, wasn’t it?

You often try to lose me, but I find a way to live on. I still see a small part of me inside you – dashing around like a maniac during a downpour, playing foolish games while baby-sitting …

I’m not such a big part of your life anymore, but I’m right there with you as you gaze into the night sky with that same childlike wonder I knew so well. I was there as you memorized How the Grinch Stole Christmas last year for no apparent reason. I know you aren’t going to make up stories while playing with Legos anymore, but you still use your imagination to think of how things would be or should be or could be. I gave you that imagination. Don’t forget the good things about me – my spontaneity, my innocence, my inquisitiveness.

Hold on! Don’t tune me out yet. The reason I’m disrupting your big-person life is because I want to make a compromise. I know there are things about me that you don’t like, but there are many aspects that you could use in that “mature” world of yours.

So here’s what I propose: I promise to think a little bit about your precious consequences before I act (not a lot, mind you). In return, I want to be a bigger part of your life. Try not to care so much about what other people think; be spontaneous! Don’t be afraid to do strange things; you know weirdness is one of your best qualities.

And most of all, be inquisitive! Too many adults just accept what they’re told without thinking. No wonder they get annoyed when little kids ask so many questions. I know this plan will work wonders. So, what do you think? Is it a deal?

Hold on – is that the ice cream truck I hear? Let’s go!

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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