My parents say when I was born, I looked around the room for a minute before screaming. They like to recall how big my blue eyes were as I sized each of them up, glanced around the room and just took it in for a moment. Like I wasn't exactly sure how I got here, and I wasn't exactly sure if I liked it. I think my expression was something like this (me, one year later):
This remains exactly how I feel about life =)
I observe, I internalize. Overthink and oversink myself into situations and surroundings, and generally feel as though the weight of the world is on my shoulders even though I am outwardly (and geniunely) a fairly happy and friendly person. It's a contradiction that I am comfortable with, since it's just the way I am, and I'm not sure I would even know anything else.
I've been thinking lately about the phrase "old souls" since people keep saying this about a niece of mine, and comparing her to me. Ah, says my Dad. She's just like Stephanie. This usually happens when my niece makes an observation about something completely out of her (what we percieve to be, anyway) range of 3-year-old comprehension, or becomes moody or broody, or when we notice her listening intently on a conversation that she probably shouldn't. She's an old soul--like me. (me, three years old).
But what does it mean, anyway? It's just an expression, I guess, but expressions don't come from nowhere--something at some point breathed some truth into that statement, and I find myself thinking alot about Buddhism. I may be wrong (and I am way too tired and lazy tonight to google it) but I think that Buddhism draws upon the belief that all people are connected because we've all been here before. And certain souls have walked harder lines than others, and therefore are pre-dispositioned to be more wary, more quiet, more aware of life's badness and sadness. While others are more naive, less "experienced" in thier lifetimes, etc.
And I don't know about any of that. I honestly don't know about anything anymore other than moments I've had where I know God is present with me, and experiences in which the happiest times in my life have been those when I've felt the most spiritually secure. But that's another story.
What I do know is this--there seems to be, in me and the people I love most, a certain take on the world. A way of looking at things that suggests hey -there's more to this. It doesn't matter what brand of shoes I'm wearing...what matters is that I have shoes, and that's a whole hell of alot more than some people have.
I read an article today in the NYT about how international policy is starting with the promotion of women and girls. And let me tell you...the things that are done to women and girls around this world, if you don't keep up with it, would blow your mind. We are so very lucky, and I am constantly reminded of this whenever I have a moment of doubt or a moment of "why me?" I mean, my god -I can live on my own. I can pay my own bills, I have the freedom to leave my home to get to work to pay those bills.
That ability to reflect, to re-examine, to know what it is that's important. To juggle the happy with the sad, the undercurrents of hope within the depression--maybe it is about what came before. Maybe it isn't. All I know is what I know, and that is I am a dreamer at heart. A harbor of secrets, and a walking oxymoron in so many senses of the word.
Where did it come from?
I guess I'll never know. Not until my next life.
My niece and I -two old souls, reflecting on the sweetness of life as we know it, defined in cupcakes and candles: