Innocence, I miss you

Mari Brown, Staff Writer & Featured Columnist

Innocence. A word that correlates heavily with being a child. Something that you lose as you get older and go through experiences that opens your eyes to what the real world is like.

Working with kids every other Sunday makes me wish I could go back to my elementary days when I didn’t have a care in the world. As I ask these kids what exciting things happened for them over the week and they tell their recess stories, I think of the piles of homework that I deal with everyday. How I have no slide to go down on or monkey bars to hang on.

I’m too worn out by the pounds of homework that I have to go outside and play or to even just talk with my siblings.

I’m not going to lie – it’s depressing coming home from them and just thinking about all the things I miss about being a kid. It was a time when boys were disgusted by girls and girls avoided boys at all costs. When I wasn’t so self-conscious of what I wore or what people thought of me, homework was nearly nonexistent, I knew everyone in my grade, and there wasn’t any social media around that kept us trapped inside. I played outside with my siblings nearly every night whether it was a crazy game we made up or a simple game of tag. Childhood was when playing with your neighbors was something that people did often as we bonded over games of Four Square and Knock Out.

Now what I’m going to wear tomorrow is something that actually occupies my mind as I’m left without my mom to pick out my clothes for me. I hardly recognize the people that walk down the halls of the school and everyone is preoccupied by some form of social media. My neighbors and I have a distant relationship where the memories we made as kids seem to have been forgotten. I’m too worn out by the pounds of homework that I have to go outside and play or to even just talk with my siblings. I just let the drone of ongoing TV shows fill up my brain as I lay in my sweats dreading the next school day.

Graphic by Anna Villano.
Graphic by Anna Villano.

I don’t want to say that it’s no fun being a teenager due to the freedom and independence we’re given, which I do cherish, but all the aspects of the life of a teenager has a wider and more complex range than that of a kid.

I remember always worrying about my house catching on fire while I’d be sleeping due to all the visits we got in elementary school about fire safety from the firefighters. Their constant visits made me feel like it could happen any day, and that it would happen to everyone eventually. As I’ve grown up, my worries have shifted towards the more mundane aspects of my life. This includes my grades – that may or not be plummeting, my plans for the future, relationships, jobs, college, money and if I have enough gas in the car to make it to my next destination.

When I was younger, it seemed like I only worried about little things such as hoping dinner didn’t have any veggies so that my parents would let me eat dessert afterwards. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still worried about my house catching on fire, just not as much as getting my schoolwork done and what college I want to go to.

I feel like losing your innocence is inevitable though – we have to grow up eventually, whether we like it or not.