It's nearly 10pm and I'm just now writing today's post. I'm not sure what I was thinking with this whole Secret Saturday thing; it's much harder than I expected it to be. Everything that's come to mind has been either too embarrassing or too dark, and whereas I might be comfortable with sharing some of the darker moments in my life sometime soon, today isn't the day for that.
And then I remembered a very old friend of mine.
Every kid has an imaginary friend at some point, and I was no different. But just between you and me, mine was a skunk.
Her name was Skunky, and she wasn't just an ordinary skunk, she was a cartoon skunk. She never went with me to school, but when I got home there were adventures to be had. To be honest, I don't remember actually playing with her as much as blaming her for things after-the-fact, like forgetting to put toys away or other such minor offenses. I also hated being left out of the conversation, being the baby of the family, so Skunky was often my source of information when I felt I needed to add my voice around the dinner table.
Actual memory: Mom mentioned an article she'd read in the paper about a child who drowned in a bathtub and how awful it was. It was then that I (made up and) shared a story about how Skunky almost drowned once in her bathtub. She was reading one of those plastic children's books (remember those little books with pages almost like thin air pillows?) in the tub and her face got too close to the page and got stuck! Luckily, her mom heard her making weird noises and ran in just in time to pull her face up. It was a close call.
You get the idea.
Skunky was also responsible for taking me to places like Africa in the middle of the night while my family slept - hence my sleepiness the next day. She'd come to my window with her tiny jet and we'd zoom off to see the animals and such. Even at that age I knew no one believed me, but I appreciated being a part of the conversation enough to overlook their lack of confidence in my lies.
Even though I loved Skunky, I knew she only lived in my imagination, and that kind of bummed me out. I wanted to really see her waltzing into my room with mischief up her sleeve, like Lizzie with Drop Dead Fred. Not that I wanted to get into trouble - I was terrified of that - but I wanted to truly believe that she was there with me and not just make-believe. Now I realize that what I was hoping for then without knowing it was actually a form of mental illness, but what I take from that is that I've always wanted to believe in something.
Wow...this has the potential to go in a dangerous direction and not one I was prepared for when I sat down to write, so what I'll say is this: I may be hard to convince, ever the skeptic when things fail to logically line up for me, but I will always be open to it. I think this explains my fascination with ghost stories and people who seem to possess atypical abilities - at least there are fuzzy videos and psychics in the ways of visible evidence, though it never really stands up. My mind won't allow me what my heart so wants, and that is to just believe without needing proof.
Thinking of Skunky reminds me that even as a child I was unconvinced of certain magic in the world, but it also reminds me that I'm capable of enjoying things about which I'm not entirely sure. I may require a little more convincing, but I'll always be open to it. And honestly, I think I'll always be hoping for it, too.