“I want to unfold.
Let no place in me hold itself closed,
for where I am closed, I am false.”—Rilke

As an adult, there are certain memories from my childhood that I can remember more clearly and readily than others. These are mostly pivotal moments which have influenced the trajectory of my life and shaped the development of my character, behaviour and personality.

One of my earliest memories is of me sitting at the top of a slide at a playground while singing made-up songs to the sun and the trees and the flowers and the birds. I am six years old and I love to sing outside. It’s at this point that a group of older children approach and start mocking me. I don’t understand what I’ve done wrong, but I quickly learn that something I’m doing is not normal.

“What are you singing about?” “Why are you all alone?” “You’re a weirdo.”

I turn away from them and then run and hide.

The soft blanket that I wrap around myself for comfort hardens to become an impenetrable shield. My simple and honest expressiveness is replaced with something false yet tough and sophisticated. I no longer sing. I am closed.

There are places within me that remain shut.

I want to unfold. To be true. To sing again.


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