May 7, 2013
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Thoughts are flooding past me as I spin round and round. I clutch at my stomach, fearing I might be sick. Then as I look to my left and right and see the other children smiling and laughing without a care, I try to let myself become engrossed in the typical carnival ride. I’m at a local town festival, riding in a spinning tea cup. Though the ride lasts only for minutes, it feels as though I’m spinning for years. I find it challenging to simply let myself become completely enthralled in the twists and twirls like the others. With every new rotation I see different people walk past my vision; jubilant children, uptight mothers with their displeased husbands in tow, teenagers laughing and flirting, and an occasional grandparent smiling with elation as they watch their grandchild successfully ride their first carousel ride on their own. But these people walking past aren’t the only things in my perspective. With each new twirl, I find myself viewing different parts of my life all over again, in living Technicolor.
I see my earliest childhood memory as if I’m reading a passage in a novel, or viewing the scene in a darkened theater. I’m on an unoccupied playground, and my still youthful mother is pushing me in one of those baby swings I’ll still try to fit in every now and then for a laugh. The light bounces off her red curls, and I see her smile, and in turn that makes me smile. She laughs when I laugh, and I wish the same was still true today, for I rarely see her smile like she used to. This is what I still long for; my childhood. As I continue spinning round, more scenes from my childhood pass by. They pass far too quickly; I wish to linger in them forever. The time I held my bird Bloom for the first time, laughing as it spread its wings. I saw the moments when I would sit on a little hill on the side of my house reading, letting the sun’s gentle rays warm my pale skin. A few more rotations of the ever spinning tea cup that is my life, I saw myself in a swim suit, down by the creek, laying on the rock I called “my mermaid rock”.
Like all things, these happy childhood memories must too pass. Soon, with each new turnabout, instead of seeing smiles and bliss, I began seeing patterns of tears and woe. I experienced growing up all over again, and I remember hitting the age where I realized the true, darker side of people. I educed the memory of the first time I actually realized my parents were fighting. I saw him grab at her, fingers pulling at her clothes, trying to get her to listen to reason, though I now know he had no reasoning. I saw her screeching at him, telling him to think of his daughter. I saw him pushing me back into my room, and slamming my door in my face. I can almost feel that shove, for that moment is when I lost any sense of optimism I used to have.
As these earlier memories of my preteen years fade, my early teenage years begin to come into focus. I see myself in junior high, trying to wear what is acceptable, and trying to one up the other mousy girls trying to get in the ranks with the richer, more popular girls. I regret that short portion of my life where I would rather ostracize my real friends than let the popular crowd see me with the likes of them. That short time of my adolescence thankfully only lasted for about a year or less until I realized who my true friends were.
With a new twirl, I see myself as a freshman in high school. I see myself as the quirky, odd girl who wears a lot of black eye makeup and listens to hardcore music. I see other classmates giving me cold glares as I walk past them in the hallway. I can hear myself being called “emo” behind my back all over again. Despite all of the ridicule, I didn’t change. I didn’t want some girl whose closet consisted only of Hollister clothes to force me into changing. If I wanted to remodel myself, I wanted to do it of my own accord. As I see this part of my life, I smile for my resilience.
A new spiral and I’m at one of my rodeos again. I see the cowgirl in me, with my collared shirt and my boots and spurs. I see myself riding, the wind blowing through my hair and I can smell the scent of my horse, and I breathe it in deeply, savoring its familiarity. I see myself reaching down, and touching his coarse mane, and I can feel his hair beneath my fingertips, and as I’m spinning in this giant teacup, I long to live in this moment again and again. This memory and the other horse memories is something not many know about me. It’s almost as though I have lived a double life, and I ponder this as I twirl.
Another pivot and I see my sophomore and junior years in high school. I see myself as the “indie” girl, or the “hipster”. I see a girl who still wears different clothes than others, but is no longer considered “emo” or “scene”. I see the girl who wishes she lived in the 60s and 70s. I see myself taking walks in the woods, listening to music and drawing the birds that I saw. My mother liked to call me her little flower child, and I adored that nickname. It made me feel unique, which I suppose was what I’d always been longing for.
It’s amazing, really, to think about how much I’ve morphed throughout my life. It’s hard to imagine that I have been through so many delicate cycles in my life, but still have come out intact. I wonder if I will change much more as I enter my later teen years, or if my personality and style will stay as it is. As I continue pirouetting I see nothing in front of me anymore. I see blankness, just empty space filling my vision. At first I am alarmed, afraid that this means I have no future. However, I couldn’t be more incorrect. Realization hits me that these are just the blank pages in front of me, waiting for me to write them. I think of myself as everyone has once seen me: the happy child, the unpopular girl, the emo girl, the hipster, the cowgirl. I wonder who I really am inside, and I become frightened the answers will never come.
Abruptly, the teacup stops spinning, and I am jolted back into my seat. I take a moment to myself to breathe and comprehend everything I’ve just experienced. I wonder who I will be next. Will I become a poet? Maybe an artist or a nerd? As I begin to step off the ride, I see several paths outlined for me. I step lightly of the ride, and walk in the direction of hope, not caring where it may lead.

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