~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~Lyric of the Day:Offer up your best defenseThis is the end of the innocence.- Don Henley~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I was trying to remember the moment my innocence ended this morning. I don’t mean in the carnal sense, you sickos. I mean that point in time where a person’s mind and reflection shifts from dwelling exclusively on the musings of unjaded youth to those of more serious, grown up matters. A point of harsh no return.
My immediate thought was my first heartbreak. I was 13, he was a couple years older. He’d told me from the start that if his previous girlfriend would take him back, he would go back to her – but that he liked me and would like us to spend time together. I agreed to the arrangement and took it for what it could be. It still hurt when he went back to her, though. I thought my heart would never mend.
But that wasn’t really it. The year before was pretty rough. My brother, who had always been there, went away to college – and though we drove each other nuts I missed him a lot. I got my “little friend”, which is always earth shattering (sorry for TMI, my male readers). Before that a boy in my class had been killed in a fire. And before that my grandfather, my favorite person in the world, passed away. It was the first time I had to process the death of a person I loved on a cognitive level.
But that wasn’t it either. A year before that, John Lennon was murdered. I had thought everyone loved John Lennon. It was very difficult to wrap my head around that. Around that same time, my best friend was from a family which observed a very strict faith. It was a real experience, learning and trying to remember that she could not eat animal products or celebrate any holidays. Pretty heavy for a grade schooler.
The year before that a great pal of mine moved away. It was the first time I had to say goodbye to a daily figure in my life.
Even before that I remember a gruesome news story. My folks were very careful to protect us kids from traumatic topics. My first 5 or 6 years were during the Viet Nam War – I remember many things from those years but have no recollection of war images from the television or discussions. I’m sure my folks kept that stuff at bay while I was around the tv or the radio. I was not allowed to go to R-rated movies until I was officially old enough, and my parents didn’t have cable tv – so my exposure to the evils of current events was limited. But one day there was a story that rocked my city. A woman had murdered her 3 little girls, chopped them up and placed their parts in dumpsters all around town. I don’t know when that was, but I remember the oldest girl was my age. I also remember that while I could sort of read the article, I had trouble with the big words. I knew that killing existed, because it was important enough for God to make a commandment about it. But that was the first time I realized that people actually killed other people and it wasn’t all in Bible stories. It was also the first time the thought ever entered my head that a mommy would ever hurt her children.
I can still see the photograph, a family portrait, as clear as day. They were all wearing yellow. The youngest, still a baby, had platinum curls. They all looked so happy.
It’s a crazy world, isn’t it?
Do you remember the point in time when you first took on awareness of the world’s darker, more painful side? Was it a heart breaking? Was it the death of a president, actor or social figure? A divorce?
Do you even remember living in a mental state of complete innocence?