Printed in the Conscious Creation Journal
December 2000 – January 2001, Issue 15
Childhood – Stories and Memories
When I was young and busily creating the world, I asked a lot of simple questions. Ah, but simple questions can lead to complicated answers as anyone who has spent time with a toddler can attest; “Why is there time?” “Why am I alive?” and the infamous, “Why is the sky blue?”
We are all scientists, explorers and philosophers as children. Each day, we make theories and test them out. As a result, we are on 24 hour a day hypocrisy patrol, eagerly rooting out contradictions and inconsistencies in the world around us.
Childhood is a time of tremendous expansion. We learn how to see, hear, feel; we create our world by making sense out of all the stimuli we encounter. And while we may agree on the basics, if you really examine the inner and outer workings of people’s dogmas and assumptions you soon discover that we are all in worlds that differ slightly or greatly depending on how we have chosen to organize our experiences.
The danger is that as adults, many of us decide that we have figured it all out, so we quit creating our world, and it ceases to grow. A symptom
of this is boredom, since life no longer has any surprises for such people. Of course, people’s worlds can quit expanding at an early age, too, as sometimes happens when a child has had a lot of dogma thrust upon them, leaving them frightened of their own mind. As Anais Nin once wrote, “The world shrinks or expands in proportion to our own courage.”
As I gathered words for my website, I ended up writing a lot of childhood
remembrances. Each of these memories came from a moment of struggle as I decided how to structure my world. Presented here are a few of these stories.
Mommy was right, the doctor didn’t give me any shots; he didn’t
prick my finger for blood, take my temperature or even touch me. Doctor Snyder just wanted to talk to me. So, I told him all about the cartoons, about Wally Gator and Aqua Man and how they sang my name in the Flintstones’ theme song, “we’ll have a Gael time.” But I didn’t like the Flintstones because Fred was so grumpy and mean, and I didn’t like the Roadrunner either, because coyotes have to eat sometimes, too.
And he asked a lot of questions about my monster family, like what
did they look like and what did they say and did they frighten me, and I told him that they were mainly purple and glowing like cartoon
characters and we talked about stuff and that they didn’t scare me
because they were my friends. I kept waiting for him to stick a tongue depressor in my mouth, but he didn’t and I was glad for that, since it was hard not to choke on those things.
When we left, Mommy said, “You were such a good girl! Here’s a
penny for you.” It was a very shiny penny. I stared at it on the ride
home, imagining what it would be like to live in that interesting house with the big chair.
While we were at a stop light, I popped the penny into my mouth to
see what it tasted like. Just then, the light turned green, Mom gunned the engine and I was thrown back in my seat which caused me to inhale sharply. I couldn’t breathe, and the penny felt huge in my throat. Unable to scream, I began flailing my arms and legs around in total panic.
Mom was quick though, she continued steering with one hand while
the other hand reached in my mouth and groped around for the
penny, which she soon got. She didn’t give it back. It was nice to
breathe again although my throat felt a bit sore and I could still taste the penny. I decided I didn’t like the taste of pennies.
When Mom asked, “Why did you do that?” I didn’t have an answer.
The more I thought about it the more it bugged me, since I had absolutely no reason; I just did it somehow. I’d never thought much about thinking why or why not before. Mom gave me a lecture on the importance of thinking before doing dumb things like that and I was so embarassed. I was happy when she quit talking. I just wanted to think about it by myself and if I couldn’t figure it out, then I’d ask my monster family when they visited me in my crib that night.
As a kid, I tried capturing fog in sandwich bags and setting it free in
the house. This didn’t work too well and drove my mom crazy since it involved a lot of running in and out of the front door on a cold November day. I tried filling an old mayonnaise jar with fog so I could at least have some in my room, but this didn’t work either; the fog always escaped, oblivious to any borders.
On overcast days I imagined luring clouds to the ground and enticing them into the house. I wanted a pet cloud that would follow me around. This cloud would rain on thirsty plants and zap lightning bolts at mean people; this cloud would hide me when necessary and carry me to magical lands.
While staring out the window on a long car trip, I realized that clouds were actually dream factories. That is why people see figures and faces in them; those are people’s daydreams and nightdreams coalescing. Storm clouds, of course, house the nightmares of the world, while thin, fast-racing clouds hold those precious, but rare, dreams of flying. Big, thick clouds make vivid, action-filled dreams that are easy to remember, while wispier clouds create elusive dream fragments that refuse to come into focus for our waking minds.
I wasn’t sure why clouds sometimes strolled the earth, curiosity,
perhaps, but I did know that was the best time for getting ideas. If you walk silently through fog it whispers secrets to you. You don’t hear these secrets in words, however, you hear them as fleeting ideas and inspirations.
And who knows? Maybe I was right. I still love the rain and the fog
and feel my most inspired on overcast days.
God and Santa Claus
I remember a time in the bathtub when it dawned on me that there
were two old bearded men in the sky watching my every move; God and Santa Claus. Not only that, but those two old men were judging everything I did. It made me feel creepy and embarassed. I couldn’t even fart without those guys knowing. I wondered if they could read my mind, too, in which case they’d both know that the real reason I was suddenly washing myself with such zeal was because Christmas was around the corner and I wanted an Easy Bake Oven.
But then I thought, God and Santa are busy guys. That’s why Santa has helpers and God has angels; so they can delegate. This meant that I was probably only being watched by an elf and an angel. And if it was a girl elf and a girl angel, then it wouldn’t be so embarassing having them see me naked.
Of course, I could ask about this at Sunday school; but it seemed like my questions annoyed our teacher, Miss Davis. One day, she even took me aside and said, “You know, Gael, a little sarcasm goes a long way.” This was confusing, because I didn’t know what the word “sarcasm” meant.
That was the day she told us the streets in Heaven were paved with gold. “Do they have cars?” I asked. “Or are they still driving chariots like in the books? If I were an angel, I’d just fly around.”
Then there was the time Miss Davis explained that even though Jesus was dead, he was everywhere. This was an interesting new concept to me, so I began applying it. “So, Jesus is in my shoe? And in my pencil, too?” I asked. Other kids joined in, “Is he on the moon? Is he in my ear?”
“Yes, kids,” Miss Davis told us, ” He’s even right here with us now.” A hush fell over the room until I blurted out, “Is he in Hell?” But that one seemed to bug Miss Davis, and I never got a clear answer.
The thought of the devil scared me, thanks to hearing about movies
like “The Excorcist” and “Damien”, but I had a hard time believing in Hell. For one thing, eternity was a long time; I couldn’t even stay mad at my sister for more than a day, so how could God stay mad at me forever? And if I pissed him off so badly, wasn’t it his fault? He made me, after all, so he must’ve made my faults, too. It just didn’t add up.
On the other hand, Heaven sounded as boring as hell from the descriptions we got in Sunday School. I didn’t care what the streets were paved with, floating around in robes and playing the harp for eternity seemed like it would get old after a while.
I did like the Bible, however; at least I liked the pictures they had in
the one that was chained to the stairway at the laundromat. I’d sit quietly and study those pictures while Mom sorted clothes. My
favorite illustrations depicted skies with stunning shafts of light
coming out of them, Angels with halos, and horn sections in the clouds (which I always pictured sounding like my Dad’s Herb Alpert records).
But there was one picture that gave me the creeps. It showed Abraham about to plunge a knife into his son, whom he had bound and placed on an altar. The first time I saw it, Mom explained the story behind it, reassuring me that, “God doesn’t do that any more, honey. That’s the old testament.”
Life sure was different in the old testament; people lived for centuries and knew God on a first name basis. He was so accessible back then; that is, until Jesus came along. That’s when God – in a typical middle management pitfall – became more remote and lost contact with his people.
When you think about it, God was not exactly mentally stable in the
old testament. He certainly had an anger management problem, the way he was smoting people left and right; poor Onan got it just
for masturbating. In fact, if you read the Bible with the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in mind, you can find a
lot of behaviors to classify.
Then again, what do I know? My family quit going to church when I was 11 or 12. When I asked Dad why, he told me, “I gave up Church for Lent,” and although I didn’t quite understand, I left it at that.
. . .
. . .
. . .
As a child, there were times when I would lay awake because I was
too scared to fall asleep. Was I worried about the boogie man? No, what really got me frightened was the concept of infinity.
I never knew when I would have one of these “infinity attacks”, but
they started shortly after my older brother told me about negative numbers. We were learning about the number line in school and, so far, all we’d talked about were positive numbers. So when Steve told me that the number line went the other direction, too, it blew me away. I asked him how far it went the other way and he said, “Forever.”
So that’s what would get me going. I’d be snuggled in bed, surrounded by my favorite stuffed animals, and the cat and dog if I
could coax them, and I’d start thinking about the number line. I’d see all the positive numbers stretching off to the right forever… and ever… and ever… and I’d feel like I was moving along the number line with them, faster and faster and faster until I’d have to thrash around just to stop the sensation.
Other times, I would think about the infinite bigness and the infinite
smallness of the universe. I would start by imagining outer space
going on and on and on, and how it must have no end, because what would be on the other side of the end? While thinking this, I’d feel as though I were expanding beyond my body, beyond the
house, beyond the planet… And then I’d reverse it, and think about how small the universe was, and how it had no end in that direction, either, just like those negative numbers getting infinitely smaller
on the number line. I would feel like I was shrinking and shrinking
and shrinking until I was infinitely huge and infinitely small at the
same time. Eventually, the sensation would get so overwhelming that I’d have to turn my light on just to feel my own size again.
Now that I’m an adult, I still get “infinity attacks”, only now the
sensations are relaxing and I feel comforted, as though cradled in the middle of infinity.
©2000, gAel & jef, including images. Printed in the December 2000 – January 2001 Issue of the Conscious Creation Journal. http://www.consciouscreation.com (Feel free to duplicate this article for personal use – please include this copyright notice.)
gAel has been interested in consciousness, well, ever since she’s been conscious! She recently created a forum dedicated to the Study of Dreams and hereby invites all readers to swing by and join in. (You are welcome to post comments and dreams as a guest if you do not wish to sign in.) When not writing, gAel plays various woodwind instruments, composes quirky tunes and cultivates dandelions. If you enjoyed her writing, she would love to hear from you personally: [email protected] More of Jef’s wizardry may be explored at http://www.snarg.net/, stop by gAel’s site for more of her artistry: http://www.snarg.net/jng/writing.html