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Childhood Friends June 2, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Family, What I Wore, Wordy Business.
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One of the advantages of living in a small and relatively quiet neighbourhood is the fact that, as of yet, we haven’t descended into a fug of anonymity. My local corner shop recognises me, people smile at each other in the mornings, and children still play in the streets. Just the other day I was lucky enough to witness a group of 10 years olds clambering through the hedges collecting “pet” snails, and this evening I sat reading my book in the rec ground as a small crew of young teenagers played a little kick around.

The presence of children playing is, of course, absolutely lovely. However, what struck me in particular was that the budding footballers were made up of a team of brothers, and of a third boy who wandered over during play. He didn’t know them, just saw the game and came to join in. There wasn’t a hint of worry or shyness, he just started in, introducing himself as he went. Unhindered by the restrictions we feel when we are “grown up”, he just went out there and made friends without blinking.

As a child, I didn’t have that courage. In social situations, although I did generally make friends, I needed prompting. I was awkward and unfamiliar, standing quietly observing on the outside of a group before getting involved. I wasn’t crippled by shyness, but it certainly put up a barrier, a division that I had to try to breach quite consciously. A deep dive into my imagination could blow the barriers away like dandelion seeds on a breeze, but otherwise I had to consciously force myself away from inaction.

In many ways I still feel like that absent individual, standing on the sidelines trying to work out how to fall in. A room full of unfamiliar faces can, for a brief moment, cripple me. The difference is that as time has passed, as I have grown and changed and come to like myself, the move to dissipate the fear happens faster.  I smile at someone, or make a joke, or comment on something they are doing. Sometimes, in unfriendly situations, I can feel myself tagging onto people who are “nice”, scanning the room but always choosing to come back to that friendly face. I am chatty, I network, I am brave. In my head I may question whether I am left out, whether people even like me, but on the outside I am the friendly gibbery one who will chat to strangers and start conversations. A shy girl in an un-shy body.But still, watching those children, it is amazing how free they are. Innocent, unassuming, unhindered by the assumption that the person they are speaking to, playing with, won’t let them join in.

Pink legs!

Anyway, totally unconnected, an outfit shot from yesterday. Pale pink tights aren’t great if you want to have “thin” thighs, but they are fun for feeling like a princess – or as Cie said, like Alice in Wonderland! I also seem to be having trouble finding a decent face too, so you’ll have to settle for slightly awkward poses – but I wanted to share the dress nonetheless.

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