Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Childhood: The Wonderful Maze

Since Fall is rapidly overtaking Summer, I thought I would post a glimpse into a Fall long past.

When I was little the church of about 350 people we used to go would hold a "Hallelujah Hay-down" for all of the kids, in lieu of an "evil" Halloween Party. You got to dress up, eat lots of candy, play games, get your face painted--all on Halloween. There was all kinds of stuff to do.

Cost of Admission: one bag of candy. But you got a bag of mixed candy when you left, so it was really pretty much free.

There was a hayride, which was awesome for a six year-old. There was a campfire (keep in mind, this is a city church. Looking back as an adult, I can't imagine how much red tape they had to go through to get approved for all this crap). At the campfire you got to listen to silly stories (not scary) and drink hot cocoa. The entire experience was great.

But the best part, the best part was the maze. Every year they cleared out all of the chairs in the main sanctuary to build THE BOX MAZE. They took refrigerator-sized boxes and taped them together to form this awesome maze that filled the center of the sanctuary. From a six year-old on the outside, it looked nigh magical. It looked like you really could get lost in there. And from a six year-old mindset, if you got lost, you might not ever be found. Like that toy you lost outside last summer and still couldn't find.

The first year we went, I was too young to be allowed in the maze, though. I was really sad. All my brothers got to go in and play, but not me. "I can take care of myself!" I tried to say, but no one listens to a six year-old. So after I went outside and had some hot chocolate, I came back in and went to the little kid maze. Before you get too excited for me, it looked like this.


That was it. It had exactly one corner, one turn. And one side was a lot longer than the other. It was totally lame. I went back to the main sanctuary and watched all the big kids going through the box maze.

I walked around to the different stations watching people get their faces painted or whatever. I remember thinking all night about whether or not I wanted to get my face painted. I remember thinking it was really really important for me to decide if it was ok. Finally, towards the end of the night I decided I wanted to get my face painted, but when I went back to where the face-painter had been, she had left!

There were 2 things I really wanted to do. One of them, I was kept from because of my size, the other, myself. You would think I would have learned something from that night, apart from that eating too much candy is makes your mouth happy but your tummy sad. But I've always felt "cheated" out of things, and I've always been cautious. I've agonized over whether to wear the purple or the red. I've lied awake at night deciding what to say to that one person who always stopped by my locker between 2nd and 3rd period. I've tormented myself over volunteering for something simple like handing out papers.

Even today, I am like that, at least a little bit. I am not very spontaneous, unless it is within boundaries I have already thoroughly explored and deemed safe. I sometimes agonize over small things like spending $2 more for a whatever-it-was that I really liked, versus the other whatever-it-was that I didn't like as much.

My cautious nature has often kept me from telling someone how much they really mean to me, and that's the thing that makes me saddest. I've written so many notes to people pouring out how much I appreciate and love them, only to fold them up, put them in a handmade envelope, and throw them away for irrational fear.

I think today, writing this, I have decided to try to be freer with compliments, more open with laughter. I don't want to go through the rest of my life, never telling people how much they mean to me because of my own silly insecurities.

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