"We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them." – Kahlil Gibran
Today, as I waited in the lunch rush, I pondered as to why life must jade the innocent & vulnerable heart.
When I was a small child, — let’s be serious, I came out of the womb at a fierce 5’ 10 3/4” (my poor mother!)— I would create and engage in a new club or empire to nurture on a regular basis. My childhood best friend, Jennifer, whom I met at the mailbox when I was 3-years-old, would partner with me and we would practice the basic project management principles of business long before learning of the 4 D’s (Discovery, Design, Development, Deploy). Such talented and innovative little dreamers!
We were very thorough in the various activities pursued, covering a wide range of job titles:
Avid Olympic Athletes—Practicing our Shannon Miller inspired Olympic gymnastics routines in the sweltering Summer heat. Believe it or not, I was once a fairly decent gymnast. Then, I grew 7.294 inches between 7th & 8th grade—which ruined my dream of being Barbie when I grew up—yes, the doll. So quite naturally, I had to revamp my entire life plan to instead be a Victoria’s Secret model. That was of course until I grew horizontally from a Size 2 to a Size 6. Damn. This encouraged my plan to migrate towards being in PR for the Victoria’s Secret Models—which later turned out to be meant for one of my current best friend’s lives instead! Hey, at least I scored a bestie out of the concept!
Adolescent Activists for Botany & Green Living—Researching the various mid-western tree families in an educational book I begged my parents to buy me from Sam’s Club so that we could promote ‘Green’ awareness. We built a tree fort where we would host our very-important status meetings. We spent hours collecting litter and cleaning “the earth”..aka my 3-acres of backyard. In fact, on one of our charitable afternoons, I slipped while climbing a tree to collect ‘the very last piece of litter on earth’ and a rusty nail dug into my side, leaving a not-so-cute scar that I still have to this day. Please recycle (lol). For the record, I have since shifted my efforts towards eating clean and daydreaming of not-so-thrill-seeking palm trees and beaches made of brown sugar.
Arctic Gemologists—One winter, we had the most incredible ice storm that I have experienced in my entire life. Clearly, it was a snow day and we didn’t have to go to school (Score!!). Each blade of grass was frosted so perfectly it was like diamonds had coated the ‘entire earth’ of Columbus, Ohio… Jennifer and I decided we needed to collect as many diamonds as we possibly could—and we did just that. Did I mention, I am not a fan of adverse weather?! But it was for the greater good to ‘secure these precious gems before the warmth stole them away’. I must say, my mom may or may not have raised an eyebrow at the sight of the various frozen pieces of wilderness in the freezer— ”Mommmm, we are protecting the assets! Look at all of our diamonds—We are richhh!!!”
Catastrophic Pyro-curious Event Planners with a dabble of Birthday Cake Boss—At a very young age, we learn of the “it’s your birthday, make a wish” concept when the candles are lit on a birthday cake. One afternoon, we found the candle lighter…and decided to put it work on some of the decorative candles in the living room, in an effort to play “Happy Birthday”… Much to our dismay (as well as my mother’s) this game ended far before we had anticipated, due to a small house fire we had started…(whoops!). Seemed like a GREAT idea at the time filled with a number of birthday wishes!? One year for my mother’s birthday, we decided that we would bake her a birthday cake and throw her a surprise birthday celebration. We have that little problem called “emmm, cake batter is so good—what’s self-control!?”. Needless to say, we ate more batter than we baked. EVERYTHING about that cake tasted like rotten eggs by the time it was iced and served. Tummy aches are not a good look! Not to mention, we had chopped up an entire value-pack of construction paper to have homemade confetti…loaded up the ceiling fan…and BOOM! Hit the light-switch, confetti was everywhere—we were instantly thrilled—only to be reminded that we had to clean up the entire mess (mess is an understatement). Freakin’ freakity McFreakerson…this game sucked!
We were Runway Stylists & Wedding Advisors—Style Me Pretty would be lost for words by some of the looks that we pulled off! I’m talking hair, makeup, multiple 80’s bridesmaid dresses—mind blowing. We would essentially “marry” one of my brothers and Jennifer’s baby sister atleast once a month. I’m pretty sure both little siblings sustained long-term traumatic attachment disorders from this frequent ceremony; They were really good sports though! Perhaps, they grew fond of how much satisfaction it brought for the hopeless romantics (Jennifer and I) in the room.
This list goes on……….pushing me to consistently fulfill the innate desire to utilize my entreprenural spirit in the little things that I commit my time towards. Life may always be in flux—good and bad may try to stifle the ability to make the most of everything and remain optimistic about what life has in the cooker—but staying true to the childlike nature inside is what will keep us authentic, compassionate, and endearing to the world.
Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.