The work below is revised, I have included the original draft that I published here below. Let me know what's stronger/weaker about either version, would love to hear your opinion!
You've probably never met me. That's okay. I wanna share a story with you, really. It's about...well. It's about growing into an adult.
See...it's been a while since I've really written something. You know why? Because I grew up. When you grow up, everyone tells you that you need to talk more. More words. Louder. Clearer. Express yourself. Stand up for what you believe in. Stand up for what you don't. Talk more. Keep talking, and they'll listen to you. Who're they?
They're everyone else.
I've said a lot of things I regret, and I've said even more that I don't remember. I'm too old to. I'm approaching 30--isn't that funny? So many things I thought I'd be since I was last here. I went to college to be a programmer--then I switched to music. So now I'm a musician without a job in the middle of the pandemic. I don't have the family I always wanted, not yet. I haven't published a book yet, even though I said I would when I was a toddler.
See? That's a lot of words, and not all of it means as much as it should.
I was a shy kid. I liked Pokemon. Well...I liked a lot of things, but I did love the old series, the one where Ash just had two big black slits in really big white circles as eyes and not the freakish retro-90s anime aesthetic they're going for now. Honestly--I stopped watching after Johto. I grew too old, and Ash was still ten years old.
But the original series had a lot of great things. One episode in particular--the one where Ash meets one of my favourite Pokemon--Charmander! Why is Charmander my favourite Pokemon? Well, let's see...I like dragons. I always have, and Charmander evolves into one! Isn't that so cool! Also Charizard had all of these cool moves--Seismic Toss, Fire Spin. He could fly! He could spew flames!
But...before Charizard the character had been Charmander the character. In the first episode that we meet Charmander, he was abandoned beneath a leaf by a cruel, uncaring master, and was slowly dying when he was left out there in the middle of a rainstorm because the flame at the end of his tail was going out. I remember crying. I remember going to sleep both happy and sad--happy that Charmander had found someone who cares for him, but sad because he had to go through all of that.
I feel...like Charmander now. Because somehow, while I was talking and talking and talking and talking, I forgot what it was to actually...mean what I said.
When you're a kid, you're so excited to be an adult. When you're an adult, you wish you were a kid again. But then you look back and you see all of the cringey things that came with being a kid and you think, "why were you so damn stupid? Ugh." But I sometimes wonder...if there was such a thing as a time travel machine, and my child self got on it and saw me now--what would she think? Would she be proud of me?
I should be Charizard. I should spread my wings and fly. I shouldn't be scared of my fire going out, because I supply the flame. I should be wild and bold. I should follow my dreams.
Then, I remember I am an adult. I have bills to pay. My adult conscience asks me, "what are dreams worth if they can't pay your bills?"
Maybe the Child would say, "they're worth everything."
You know...I think she is there somewhere inside of me. Somewhere deep inside, in the midst of all of this wild lightning, rain and thunder, she holds the little flame of hope. "It's alright." She says. "Maybe next time. But we'll get you blazing again, I promise, and you'll come back bigger and better than ever! You're going to be a big, big bonfire!"
I think she's foolish.
But I can't tell her that she isn't strong, because she is so much more stronger than I am right now. She still believes in the fire, while I drown myself in the swamp called adulthood--all because it pays the bills.
What do you think?
Would you rather be me?
Would you rather be her?
Here is the original draft I published here!
I have spoken many words since we last saw each other. Some of them long, some of them short. Some of them could have been something great--but many were paragraphs--and paragraphs--and paragraphs of drivel.
I learned to speak carefully as a child. As an adult I learned that they don't care what your words are unless there is a plentitude of them. So I spoke more and more and more and more until I got tired of speaking, and then I spoke some more.
As an adult you look back and you think how silly you were back then, back when you were a teenager, back when you were a child. But if the child could see me, would she think I was silly as well? Would she think I was silly now, sitting at a desk, doing a pointless job to pay the bills while extinguishing every single thing that made me...me?
Now I want to mention--remember that one episode of Pokemon--the old series, not the new one, Ash's big eyes freak me out--that one episode where Ash meets Charmander for the first time? Remember that little flame that they had to keep alive or Charmander would die? Well now...I feel a bit like Charmander.
But I'm also Charizard. I'm reckless, wild, willful, stubborn and full of energy. I've gone through a lot, both mentally and physically--and I've almost died so many times, you'd think I'd know by now how precious a good life is. But every time I tell myself maybe it's time to start again, I remember I'm an adult, and I go back to hiding under a bush again, hoping my flame doesn't die out.
But she lurks there, shielding that little flame with her hands. "It's alright. Maybe next time. But we'll get you blazing again, I promise, and you'll come back bigger and better than ever! You're going to be a big, big bonfire!"
She, the child, may be more foolish than I am, but she is also stronger--and maybe someday, I will be like her.