Friday, November 16, 2012
Ada woke her daddy up one morning saying, 'Daddy, my smile is under construction!'
And what a weird kind of construction it is! In the span of about two months, she has lost five to six teeth. (Yes, I am too lazy to stand up and ask Ada exactly how many teeth she lost.) Is that even normal? Losing that many teeth in a short period of time? Who cares. She looks funny. She looks cute. She looks like a Halloween pumpkin. She looks like someone who needs fake teeth. She looks like she has a hard time eating without teeth. She looks like me when I was seven years old my guy friend boxed my tooth off. She looks like she is growing up.
For kids, growing up is when they lose teeth, get taller, gain weight or lose weight. They make friends and enemies. They get into stupid fights over pens and paper and books. They start throwing away clothes that do not fit them or they pass their clothes on to their younger brother or sister. They say that people stop growing when they hit a certain age. Eighteen? Nineteen? Twenty? Twenty-one? I really need to get my facts straight next time. But for now, just know that people stop growing when they reach *insert age here.* Wait. Do we really stop growing?
I know I have not gotten any taller since I was nine years old. My weight plays around with the numbers and goes from a hundred pounds to my fat weight which is a hundred ten pounds. My feet have stopped growing. Thank God! I can still wear some of my rotten clothes from high school. So I think it is safe to assume that no matter what medicine I take I will never get taller. I can try to go on a diet, but I will never go back to what I used to weigh in grade school. And it does not matter what kind of shoes I use because my feet will not shrink. Shoot. Yes, I stopped growing. On the other hand, I know that I still am growing.
Expanding. Unfinished. Work in progress. I know this whenever I have had a hard day in school and I just want to forget all about it by drowning myself in chips. I feel this when my dad asks, 'How come you only got a one point five in this subject?' I hear this when people around me laud me when I do something they deem interesting. I perceive this when I see people's questioning looks when I fail or do not exert enough effort. I notice this when I start to doubt myself, my abilities and my beliefs. I get it a lot when my mom reminds me that every decision has a consequence, when my brother asks me how my day is, when my sister in law grants me some wisdom and when the three little kids prank me. I get it. I get it, okay?
In truth, we all are under some sort of construction for as long as we are alive. We may never grow taller or get thinner, but we are all under this force that makes us develop. Hopefully we develop for the better. The only problem with this force that pushes us to grow is that no one really sees it while it is happening. They only notice the output of the growing when a long period of time has already passed. By then, it is already too late for them to either take back what they said or add on to what they have already spoken. And so during that long period of time of developing and growing and wandering around, the person begins to let the noise of the world affect their ideas of themselves. They entertain ideas that they are not good enough, they will never be able to write or nothing good will ever come out of their life.
The thing is, the person on the journey knows that he is getting to where he is supposed to be, but those around him do not. And that is when those random people judge and criticize and say dumb things. And that is also when the person asks, 'Am I really supposed to be a writer? Can I really get through this horrible professor? Will I ever learn how to commute?' Yet it is also those doubts that force the person to exert so much effort to get to his goal or be the person he wants to be to prove others wrong. For if no one doubts and they all just believe, nothing has to be proven and the person never grows. Such confusing thoughts!
When I came home this afternoon, Ada greeted me with her odd smile. I looked at her and thought, 'Heck, if I have the opportunity to get a tattoo one day, I will make her words permanent on my skin.' I do not really care if other people have those words on their bodies already. But I just need those words somewhere where I can see it always. That way it will serve as a constant prompting that I am not finished. The people around me are also unfinished. We all are. And we are trying hard to finish up ourselves. We are under construction.