I was a lonely child growing up but I wasn't aware of that.
I would always go to my neighbor's house to play all day, pick a fight with some boys with the same age, quarrel with some kids in our village plaza, borrow a stranger's bicycle because I didn't have one, the list goes on as my unruly self was being molded.
But I always felt lonely and I didn't know that word at that time. It was a foreign but familiar feeling as it accompanied me in my youthful adventures.
Waking up from our once tattered house, roof filled with holes, hearing the rooster's crow wasn't enough to arouse my childhood self but someone was already up, preparing for breakfast and preparing for work.
And just like that, my morning would come and go as quickly as it began.
I always followed my grandfather together with my brother every morning to stroll around the village as we walk our dogs. The same routine happens in the afternoon.
Grandfather was always lost in thought, in daze, everytime we finished our routine.
I always see him like that,
him sitting before a vegetable field,
him sitting under the shades of trees,
him standing always looking beyond to what I couldn't perceive,
his shoulders always looked droopy but his back was straight,
It was still a foreign feeling looking at him like that but still familiar, if only, I knew what loneliness was at that time.
Then would there be a difference?
My mother was a highschool teacher but during my youth, she was still a practice teacher.
In my 3rd grade, I was a hot tempered child, quick to use fist but quicker in shedding tears. A very unruly girl indeed.
Because I always felt lonely, I learned how to seek attention from my parents, especially from my mother.
I always craved her warmth. And raw emotions were rampant within me, steadily flowing out and urging me to be out of control. It was a terrifying feeling.
I once thought,
"Why does she always spend time with her students and not me"
And from those thoughts turned into this,
"I hope mom won't come home anymore so I can play more".
A child couldn't understand how their parents suddenly lose their time to play with them just like a parent who couldn't understand their child's desire.
But then looking back,
My childhood self probably wanted to say,
"Mom, I was lonely and so is grandfather. So look at me, look at us, properly see me so I can see you too".
Out of the House
I was afraid, so very afraid of the world. It had been instilled in me at a very young age. Everyone is dangerous, you could be kidnapped, don't talk to strangers, don't walk behind cars, don't go anywhere without an adult.
But I loved to explore. I never wanted to go home when my family drove to a new town or I got to see distant relatives. I wanted to stay on vacation just a little longer. I wanted to roam for a while. At the house meant I would be trapped, confined to the small place we called a home. There was something that drew me to the outside world, to someplace other than here. It gave me a sense of freedom, a desire to experience the unknown.
I know now that it was trying to take me away from the nest I lived in, to force me to experience the world before I became to complacent with where I was. This sense of adventure was pushed deep down, as my parents said no, as they refused to go anywhere. Because now, I am still afraid, so very afraid of the world, but the difference is I don't ever want to leave where I am.
Scared of the Dark
I had always been an anxious child. Every happy event came with a fear of what could happen. I cried on each first day of school and hated talking to a crowd, but it wasn’t just people that made me shiver. It was the sabotaging thoughts I had that kept me up at night. I wasn’t only scared of the dark in ways a normal seven-year-old would be. There weren’t only monsters in my closet, but strangers lurking through my window. The trees in my backyard were perfect for people to hide behind and the blinds had a gap that could be seen through. I wasn’t sure what I would do if someone came bursting through my window and pulling me out with them. What would I do? Who would come and save me? Surely my parents would try to help, but who would win? The kidnapper or my frail mother. It wasn’t a likely victory. Every night was filled with a new fear. A new nightmare that would have me folding my blankets on the floor of my parent's bedroom. It wasn’t much help to be alone on my own to my own brain that even suggested that the smoke alarm's little red light was somehow foreshadowing a fire that I would have to save my family from. I forced my parents to remove the batteries from my bedroom’s alarm as if that made me safer. My love for reading fueled my imagination in more ways than one. It allowed me to create my own fairytales during the day but allowed for new, scarier stories to form in my head when the sun went down.