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one day when i grow up.

there was supposed to be a marker
a date i could put my finger on and say
yes-this is when i will grow up
yes-this is when i will let go
yes-this is the day, hour, minute that i will no longer be a child.
i will know
and when it happens
it will be so

but it didn’t happen like that
no longer feeling like a child but not quiet a grown up
it didn’t happen in agony or pain
not in a gentle sorrow
but rather
faded away
no longer feeling excitement for christmas mornings
an exasperating tiredness
every time i woke to greet the sun
growing fatigued from chasing the patriarchal perfection
caring too much about others and not enough for myself
an insipid emptiness
waiting for a great catharsis

revelling in a loss
doesn’t do any good
waiting for a great catharsis
doesn’t mean one won’t come
rather that you will miss so much
while you wait.
and i did.
spending an eternity in a purgatory
masquerading behind a suggestion of maturity
all the trappings of the elusive adulthood
but none of the required experiences to handle it.
a damage brought upon by an age of lolitas and lana del reys.
a damage that took so long to repair.

and it wasn’t until
i laughed as loud as my heart desired without caring when the people turned to look
until i danced until breath escaped my lungs
drew pictures for my friends
until i mourned the death-even though i still cannot comprehend what that means
fed off the sun and gave myself over to playfulness
that i could say goodbye to that child
heal from that damage.

not quite in an exact manner
no date, hour, minute to mark the occasion
but i know now
i can put my hands to the sky
in triumph
in splendour
in love with who i have become
and say
i am no longer a child-i am a grown up

but i still take that little girl with me
goodbye does not mean death
for i still cry when i graze my knee
on the rude concrete
for i am still overcome with a paralysing shyness
when another grown up talks to me
for i still love the sea collect seashells and rocks for no particular purpose
and run from waves that no longer tower above me
for i still have big dreams for ‘when i grow up’
unashamed of having no backup plan.
for i still have no idea how the big wide world works
but i am eager to learn.

goodbye does not mean death
not death
never death
it just means you must take those little lives
little lessons
proudly into the future
so play!
do what you will
but do one thing
never loose sight of that little one that still lives within you
for they are waiting
in a book
arts and crafts
ice cream
grazed knees
to be lifted and loved on high.

by Ellie Waddingham.


Ellie's poem is featured in our Summer Zine #6 (free with every order in Summer), in response to the topic "play". 
Follow Ellie on IG here.