“I used to have the stars in my pocket/now I just watch them on TV,” Rainy Day Parade, Jill Sobule & Robin Eaten
When children are young, they believe. They believe in magic, in fantasy, in the goodness of everyone whom they encounter, and also somehow in monsters. (Didn’t Alice from Wonderland believe in impossible things?) If they just wish hard enough, are just good enough, just belieeeeeve strongly enough, that things’ll come true for them. This fades, and eventually disappears at some point, probably when it’s revealed that Santa is dear ole Dad, the Easter Bunny doesn’t come to everyone’s house, and the Tooth Fairy leaves a beseeching note to just pick up your ding-dang room, already, or stops coming altogether. Or maybe on some playground somewhere when the kid in your class’ older sibling is feeling particularly disillusion-minty.
Sometimes it’s the realization that not everyone is special, and super talented, and a baby genius. Rude awakening to fall so far.
This rite of passage, this peek behind the curtain, this shoving you into the deep end of #adulting is a cryin’ shame. It’s the so-called real world come to collect.
We don’t stop playing when we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
The real travesty is when Māyā, the Sanskrit word for illusion (more or less,) clouds our eyes, shrinks our hearts, and shrivels our Spirits.
We are force-fed images and ideals to conform to in every aspect of our lives: gendered clothing sections at big-box retailers, toys in certain colors, magazine spreads, and even the words and actions of older relatives. We learn not to trust ourselves, to fit in, and conform. Photoshop is no one’s friend, but it sure does sell! Magic? Poof, thar she blows…and away we go.
The Melissa Etheridge song, “Map of the Stars,” from the album The Awakening, sums it up nicely, over several choruses and verses. It starts out with a small-town girl (hello? autobiography much?) who’s lauded for being pretty. She leaves home to study the map of the stars. Fast forward a bit, she’s gone Hollywood, and has made some pretty fundamental changes – eating less, drinking more, and even getting an agent. (She sells out and the local grocer she worked for is offended by what she’s become, but will gladly sell those magazines from his mom n’ pop shop if it puts him on the map.) She even goes under the knife! Eventually it all goes south. She is not being true to herself – no Satya, Truthfulness, here.
What’s even woisah than woise is that she’s the inspo for the next generation. And so perpetuates the cycle. The stars came out of her pocket & are now on the silver screen.
P!nk touches on this in her song, “Don’t Let Me Get Me,” off the Missundaztood album. “LA told me/you’ll be a pop star/all you have to change/is all that you are.”
A perhaps lofty but nonetheless worthy goal should be to recapture some of that magic. That amṛta, or nectar in Sanskrit, is in there somewhere if you can. just. slow. down. Go outside and play. Take off your shoes and run barefoot through the grass. Jump in the pool with your clothes on (but leave your phone out of splash-range, ‘natch.)
It goes back to my last post: question everything. Even/especially that which you’ve heard umpteen times. To paraphrase, imagine living as if eh-VUH-ree-thing was a miracle. But pay those bills on time 🙂
If this resonated with you, please feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Until our mats unfurl again, be well.
2 thoughts on “Map, schmap”
“We don’t stop playing when we get old; we get old when we stop playing.” How true!
Thank you for reading. You know that that’s not mine, right? 🙂