I saw a little girl in the park the other day, whom I would guess to be about four years old, riding her shocking pink bike alongside her mom who was jogging. I spotted a silver tiara peeking out under her bike helmet that was as strikingly pink as her bike. She wore a leotard, jean shorts, sported a tutu and brown cowboy boots. In the front bike basket was a Barbie doll faced forward looking out and in the back basket was a baby doll with another Barbie sitting on her lap. She was sure and confident and chatted animatedly with her mom about what seemed like something very important as she rode along. I found myself smiling.
I was that same little girl a hundred years ago, exuding the same self-confidence, “I’ll wear what I want” fashion sense, love of bikes and all things pink and western. I, too, cared about getting my dolls out to see the world (mine would go camping under a tree in my backyard). I was also jewelry and nail polish crazy, and my parents couldn’t seem to keep me in those little plastic high heels with the elastic bands that you find in toy stores. I guess you would describe me at that time as avant garde.
As you grow and life and people get in the way of who you are and dictate who you should be, you forget sometimes who you were. You conform and you change and you go along with what others decide is the “norm” so you won’t be considered an outsider or weird. You get so caught up in fitting in that you eventually forget who you used to be.
It’s wonderful to get a reminder now and again of the unblemished, untouched version of your youthful self when the world was your oyster and all of your dreams would come true. And if you’re lucky enough to realize what you’ve lost and want to go back to the free spirit you used to be, you have to brush off the conventional terms and dictates of those you somehow listened to and changed for. You have to question your capabilities and decide if who you are is making you happy, or if you have to go back and rediscover who you used to be in order to find that joy again.
In any case, I think I’ll go take a spin on my bike while I decide…