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[personal profile] erda
The summer that I was seven we went through a period where we played house every afternoon with a couple of the neighborhood kids. We would meet on our back porch and divide up the roles. There was always a short struggle over who would be the Daddy, the Mommy, the little sisters or little brothers, all of which made me intensely uncomfortable for reasons that, at the time, were a complete muddle in my little brain.

Every time we played I would end up asking if I could be the dog, since none of the other choices felt right to me. Everyone would have a laugh at my weirdness, but my brother would insist that if I wanted to be the dog, they had to let me. The role of dog seemed okay in theory to me, but it never quite worked out the way I wanted it to. I thought as the dog I would be loved and petted and included in all the family activities, but instead, I ended up ignored and forgotten, which, lol, probably was a realistic portrayal of the average family's attitude toward their pet.

But one afternoon, having given this whole situation zero conscious thought, I didn't ask to be the dog. I remember with great vividness, that I was standing gazing out through our back yard and beyond, feeling so jangled and confined and confused, and I said, "I will be the mountain lion who lives in the nearby hills and comes down to the town now and then to visit with the people." I'd like to think that I said this in a firm, assertive voice, but in reality, it probably came out weak and tentative, as is my way.

Nonetheless, weak and timid though I may have said it, I didn't wait for their permission, but bounded out through the yard and up the street on my mountain lion legs, all the way to and through the playground and into the woods, alone and finally feeling that I had gotten it right.

I've been living in the hills ever since then, and sometimes, when the loneliness gets to me, I still come down to visit the people in the towns, but I can never be comfortable there, and I can never be the Mommy, the Daddy, or the little sister or the little brother.
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April 2014

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