Hiding in Plain Sight

Another belief of mine:
that everyone else my age is an adult,
whereas I am merely in disguise.

Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye
My sister Lisa (left) and me, around the time I started first grade, age 5.

I share Canadian writer Margaret Atwood’s belief that I am somehow the same me as I was at the time of my first memory, when I was a 5-year-old girl. I feel exempt from easy categorization and the stereotype of who a person my age is supposed to be. I will admit to being an adult, thank heaven, but in many ways I feel the same way I did as a child. I felt my opinion should matter, I wanted to learn and know the truth for myself. I wanted to make a difference with my life. I wanted to love expansively and joyously. And I did not fit in easily among the other children. I was afraid to be myself in public. I was shy. In many ways I was hiding.

Here I am still hiding in plain sight, camouflaged as a mild-mannered, white Southern woman with many ideas and dreams.

Disguises are very big during the Halloween season, and adults and children in costume are walking outside our house today on their way to Halloween parties. Masks are important not only for Halloween but in order to protect us from Covid with more than wishful thinking and misinformation. Yet masks have become a battleground as has so much else: Vaccines, school board meetings, city and county legislative meetings, social media, airline flights, cities and rural areas, red states and blue states.

The sunset over the River Thames in London, 2019. Photo: Kurt Weiss

What is it like to live now? It feels as if we are living on the edge of a precipice overlooking a great expanse of sea and sky. There are craggy, jagged rocks far below, and the fall looks particularly horrifying and unforgiving. I try to stay away from the cliff’s edge and look to the horizon where the sky and earth meet with color and possibility.

Lincoln on his 4th birthday.

The sky and earth meet with color and possibility in the eyes of my grandson Lincoln and granddaughter Penelope. They do not hide in plain sight. Who they are, what they are feeling, and what they want are clear from their words and actions. They instinctively want to learn new skills such as jumping into the water from the wide of the pool or lake into the arms of the people they love and trust. They learn new words, whole sentences, complete paragraphs. They emulate what they see us doing around them.

Lincoln, age 4, loves dinosaurs. At some point Lincoln will learn that dinosaurs were once alive, but became extinct 65 million years ago. Yet their skeletons and where their bones were found have been guideposts for us to learn what they ate, how they lived, and where they died. We still learn from creatures that dominated our planet for 165 million years and then, for the most part, died away. Lincoln loves their dominating, mysterious, and wild ways.

Penny, age 2-1/2, at Lincoln’s birthday party.

Lincoln’s younger sister Penny, age 2 and 1/2, loves cats. Felines are mysterious and elusive animals who live with us as pets, but they will not be led on leashes as dogs are. Cats make their own rules and are still in some ways as wild and undomesticated as their kind ever were. Penny loves their dominating, mysterious, and wild ways.

In your eyes
The light, the heat (in your eyes)
I am complete (in your eyes)
I see the doorway (in your eyes)
To a thousand church (in your eyes)
The resolution (in your eyes)
Of all the fruitless searches (in your eyes)
I see the light and the heat (in your eyes)
Oh, I wanna be that complete
I wanna touch the light, the heat I see in your eyes

Peter Gabriel, English musician

My goal is to aid and abet Lincoln and Penny in their adventures to become themselves so they will not have to hide in plain sight when they are adults. My wish is that they can be independent, think for themselves, make their own way, and learn from the creatures and ideas that inspire them.

May they each seek and find a habitat that will support their life; may they seek and find fellow travelers who will accompany them as they make their journeys; may they have the freedom to find their bliss and fulfill their passion; may they find what stimulates them and makes them feel gloriously alive. May they not only survive, may they thrive. May they not perch on the edge of the abyss; may they fly from it.

May they not only run–as Penny especially dearly loves to do–but may they fly.

~ Anna – 10/31/2021

About aamontgomery

Seeing new possibilities in everyday things
This entry was posted in Autobiographical, Family, Freedom, Happiness, Ideas and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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