I Don’t Wanna Grow Up
Tomorrow is my birthday. I don’t know if I can adequately express the degree of difficulty which accompanies that day for us, from both a mental and an emotional standpoint. For one thing, it makes us think back to our childhood, and relive some painful memories. But more than that, it forces us to face the future, and that is something we haven’t learned to do yet. I’m going to try and explain this as clearly as possible, but all of what I’m about to tell you is, to the average person, completely far-fetched and outlandish and makes no sense at all. It is, nonetheless, my reality. Ready? OK, here we go. Try to suspend your disbelief for a bit here. This post will seem delusional and screams “batshit crazy”!
Time, for me, K as a whole, is not linear. It doesn’t follow a clear-cut path from past to future, but rather jumps around, backwards and forwards, rarely going in the proper order as others see it, that is to say, in a progression of years. Time for us is more circular, waxing and waning, repeating itself in overlapping cycles which recur every few years. Everything happens to me over and over again, my life comes full circle every 3 years or so. Now here’s where it gets really weird. K has been the same age since birth. Not our physical body of course, but mentally and emotionally. If you ask our mother, she will tell you that I was “born a 30 year old woman”. During my childhood years, I preferred and sought out the company of adults, and in fact found children my own age to be quite annoying. I was irritated by the immaturity of the other kids around me in kindergarten, I remember that very clearly. I’ve always preferred to socialize with people in their late 20’s, regardless of my own physical age. How did I manage to do that? As a youth, I just hung around my older siblings’ friends, or older relatives, and with the adults at church. As I grew up, not only was I mature beyond my years, but I also matured physically at a very young age; by third grade I was being pursued romantically by high school boys (NO, I did NOT date, until the age of 13). Throughout the years, sometimes I was believed to be younger, and sometimes older, but always I remained roughly the same age to the outside world (about 25). I NEVER told anyone how old I actually was, and I never maintained relationships long enough for anyone to find out my true age; to this day, most of my friends aren’t sure of the number. After a long while, I actually forgot my “real” age, but it didn’t matter because I knew in my mind that I couldn’t really be that old anyway. The doormen at local bars and clubs knew me, and let me in without question, beginning when I was about 14, because my dates were always about 26 and it was just assumed I was about that same age. I don’t know how it is that I came to be that particular age, but it fits me, and I’ve just always felt like an older twenty-something. K also looks like an older twenty-something, or so I’m told, and have for decades. This is where the torture comes in. As time goes by, other people around me age, and I can’t help but witness this, even though I have no concept of time and can’t tell that time is passing. All I know is that now and then I’ll run into a friend and that person will be much older than they were the last time I remember seeing them. As in MUCH older. It always takes me aback. I look at myself, I see one thing, but my birth certificate tells me another thing. Now we get into the part that’s even weirder still.
Sometimes K, or one of us at least, is a little girl. She usually comes out in times of extreme stress, and most often when we are sick or with our mother. It happened often in the days before our father died. She also appeared while we were hospitalized in Intensive Care, fighting for each breath, in the hospital two years ago. When the little girl takes over our mind, there is no reasoning with her, as she is just a child. She’s scared and needs reassurance and attention, but she also loves to play and likes shiny objects. She’s very difficult to control once she’s out. We positively cannot concentrate during these times-we are easily distracted to a fault. We try very hard to keep her locked deep inside me, but if the pain is too much, I’m powerless to stop her from emerging. I can, however, become mute, and thus prevent the outside world from learning of her existence. If someone gets close to the truth, I lie, and I run away. I’ve lived like this…well, forever.
So. Birthdays are hard for me, because I can’t accept the fact that time is passing and we are aging. It’s beyond me. Since not all of the K’s are aging each year, I just can’t grasp the notion that I’m getting older. My biggest fear is growing old. I still feel just as immature today as I felt at 15. There is a K who still shops for funky clothes in the junior miss department with pubescent girls. I still feel more comfortable talking to 20 year-old’s than I do to any other age group, regardless of the subject matter, just as I did when I was a teenager. I seem to be stuck in time, frozen in a place in my history, floating somewhere between the past and the present. Around me, I watch as my niece goes from an infant to a college grad in a matter of months, or so it seems to me. Now and then I’ll see a picture of someone I went to school with, and I’m always shocked at just how old they are. I’m certainly not that old, so it just doesn’t make any sense to me. But it’s as though I’ve been given a gift from the heavens, the gift of youth. It is our belief that I’ve been touched by higher powers and given special abilities, such as the ability to float through time in circles, never really growing older, just existing on a different plane. Different K’s, different points in time, but none of us are very old. Birthdays represent growing older, and that is something that we, the K’s, just will not accept. We can’t. It’s just not in us, we cannot wrap our brain around it. Growing up is a foreign concept to us.