Sunday, April 17, 2011

Working through

Last week I was over visiting with Annie as she and Simon were housesitting. Maren pulled me into her cousin's (sort of?) room where we were playing with horses, then Annie joined us and Maren started handing me Polly Pocket dolls to dress for her (Polly Pockets are, like, 3 inches high and their close are silicon-y--stretchy and plastic and kind of a lot of fun to touch and play with). So I dressed dolls for Maren and then when Maren got bored I started looking through the pile of doll clothes and putting together my own outfits and then I as Annie and I discussed never really playing with Barbies, just dressing and redressing them, I asked her for help to find matching tops and bottoms and so we sat, me instead of writing a final paper for my master's program and Annie 6 months pregnant, playing with these dolls. For like a half hour. And it felt really good. Is the thing. Really good.

And it got me thinking. I've thought/written before how weird it is that as I get older I change only in that I understand how little anything changes. As a kid I was under the impression that adults were privy to some secret knowledge or power or something. That they were materially different than I was. I'm shocked everyday, now that I'm technically a grown-up, at the childishness of other grown-ups: the selfishness and pettiness and the power plays that we pull off because we can. Because who's going to tell us otherwise?

And it got me thinking, too, more specifically: that not only do *people* not change that much, *I* haven't changed that much. There is in my the little girl who loved performing, who loved frills and sparkles, who got sort of sensitive when Mrs. Whitaker talked about "Bossy Betty." I feel like I/we focus so much on change--on the way we're changing/growing/regressing/whatever, that I forget the parts (the most of me) that are just the same now as they were 25 years ago.

And this is important. Because. I look back at me at 10 and 14 and 20 and sort of shudder a little sometimes? Like, remembering me being too loud or cruel or poorly dressed or whatever is kind of hard. My impulse is to distance myself from little Kjerstin, to argue that I'm different from her, grown up or whatever. But I feel like that's not the answer at all. I feel like what I need to do is embrace tiny me. Take the bad with the good (and I was very adorable and precocious and charming). Come to terms with the fact that I haven't changed that much and that I probably won't change that much. And that that's really great, actually.

Anyway. I feel like this is probably one of the revelations I need to have every couple of years. So.


  1. thanks. this is a good thing for me to read.

  2. i just took a color personality test on-line, and the questions you answer are based on you as a child. Because it's true, our personality really doesn't change that much. But hopefully our behaviors change? Even though our first impulse is to do one thing, we think before we act a little better? who knows. :)

  3. This is so, so true. Having children and watching them grow for more than a decade has made it obvious that as a parent, I can only affect maybe 10% of their personality/life/outcome. They already ARE who they are going to BE. It's at once lovely and frightening and freeing.

    And. Forgiving your younger self/Loving your younger self is a wonderful thing. Another lovely part of parenting and just being around younger kids. When I spend time with that awkward 14-yr-old MiaMaid, it is easy for me to be loving and forgiving of all her weird quirks and the awkwardness I know she will grow out of (into?). That has made it much easier for me to forgive my 14-yr-old self, too, somehow. Circle of life.

  4. Wow - I think you are spot on. This all rings true and yet I feel like I have a lot to think about now. Rachel - I love your comment and it really takes some pressure off of parenting. Thanks for that!!