Saturday, April 28, 2007

Return to Philadelphia

I went back to Philadelphia this afternoon, after spending the gloomy, wet morning helping Erica and fellow volunteer Jeannie sort through boxes and bags of clothes and other items. I put in another application at Barnes and Noble. I should have asked them for their phone number. (I'll look it up online.) I asked a Borders employee about employment there; all she could tell me was "look online." I'll just put in an application again. I passed Robin's Bookstore, a Center City Philly chain, on my way to the Speedline station. Nice store, but they weren't hiring.

What I'm really doing is...putting off my life. My councelor Scott told me to look up local churches with young populations my age. I haven't. I looked up whether or not I had full medical benefits, and was so confused by all the terminology I gave up trying to figure it out, but I haven't called the Union's medical offices yet, and I should. I haven't checked out any groups at all.

I know I'm stuck in a rut. I have been since I got out of college. I'm bored with being fat and plain and dull and doing nothing with my life, but it's safe. The Acme job is safe; I hate it, but it makes money. The books and DVDs and CDs are safe; they won't hurt me. Not like people. Nice quiet places with no people (or busy places with people who won't pay too much attention to me) are safe. Food is safe. It's always there. My stuffed animals are safe roommates. They won't make fun of me or make nasty comments. I'm just used to my older musicals and classic rock and mysteries. They're what I know.

I see a nine-year-old girl in the mirror. She's sad. She's scared. She can't understand why she's so hungry, or why her body's suddenly grown and developed while the other girls are still pretty and thin. She doesn't know why the boys don't like her, why the girls don't want to be friends with her, or why her mother and stepfather aren't getting along. She wants it all to go away, so she can be happy again. She wants to be a normal little girl, but she's afraid all the kids will hurt her, and she'll be alone, like always.

I'm still haunted by that little girl. She won't let me go. I don't want her to go away entirely. She gives me my creativitiy, my love of nature, and my ability to relate to other troubled little girls, but she won't let the past go. She still hears the jeers and taunts of the kids. If she turns her back on them, they'll snicker and call her fat and stupid. She's afraid she'll be punished for not being good and right and doing what the adults said.

All I've ever had is the past. The voices of children remain at the back of my brain; I hear them when things go wrong, when I'm hurt or someone's hurt me. I'm too afraid to make them go away. What if things happen again, and I get hurt?

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