I saw Inside Out yesterday.
I sat in the dark theater, crying, of course, because who didn’t cry? I cried for Riley, but like most of us, I also found myself crying for me.
I watched the story of a little girl encounter pain for the first time. Separation. Anxiety. The end of good things. And I cried because I know that childhood ends, and some islands you lose and never get back. Core memories become blue, and purple, and red.
I’m getting my islands back, slowly. My brain and personality islands crashed and burned right after high school. I was emotionally dead, isolated, afraid, and Joy and the healthy kind of Sadness were lost somewhere, hoping to get back.
It’s this thing called becoming an adult. What am I supposed to do with this? Because it looks dark and spooky like the subconscious. It looks painful. Are the green, red, and purple memories rolling into my brain a permanent thing, now that childhood has ended, or are they a phase as I build new islands and discover what being an adult can mean?
I’m not an adult yet. I’m not a child either. One is gone and one is still forming. Who am I as an adult? Will I like her very much, or will she be cranky, boring? Will she live the life I was certain of as a little girl? Or is that lunacy, and do I need to get bitter, get cynical, and accept that life is pain?
As I ponder it, I know it comes down to choice. What makes me Neville Longbottom instead of Peter Pettigrew? Joy can steer this ship: hope, imagination, and adventure can flourish. Or I can curl up and let fear and disgust steer me into a garbage dump.
It comes down to me, what I decide I believe about life and myself and God. The soil of my life feels blank right now, as I wait for new seeds, a brand new way of existing, to form. I’m waiting for those islands to restructure into the new version of me. And will life as her be as wonderful as my childhood? To the adult part of me, as the little girl forms into something new, I have this to say:
Take her to the moon for me, will you?