My Childhood: Me, the Vet, and the Spider – By Natalia Oparka


Lately, I’ve been doing absolutely everything to postpone the remote possibility of womanning up and doing whatever needs to be done to finish the God-forsaken to-do list of mine. So after hours of careful reflection of exactly how dirty my window pane really is, I moved on to some serious existential stuff to avoid  thinking about my dissertation (or any other important task on my agenda). I recalled my childhood dreams (and yes, they did involve having French fries for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also wanted to be a vet (a dream magically disappears whenever I see a massive spider…) and started wondering if I’ve become a person my childhood me would be happy with.

I also wanted to be a painter, a writer and an athlete. Needless to say none of these have ever come true. I grew older, my tastes changed and eventually most of the dreams I had faded away. With all due respect to the kid I was, I believe I became a completely different person from what I’d thought I would be one day. What is even more outrageous is the fact that every encounter in my short life (yes, I insist on calling myself “young”) had an immense impact on who I am now. Would I still be myself if I haven’t met certain people, lived in different places, and/or experienced certain emotions?

I like to believe that all of this was essential for me to become who I am now. Even the darkest hour of my life gave me some insight into my character. Emily Dickinson took it even further and claimed that it’s the pain that defines authenticity of our lives. Either way, experiencing loss and despair is a given in our lives. What’s vital, though, is how we react to it, how we face the enemy and carry on living. So, whenever I think of my childhood me – yeah, she must be pretty upset I didn’t become a vet after all. But what is more important, I really hope she didn’t lose her faith in humanity.

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