I like this image. A lot.
I often refer to the young girl still within, still waiting by the window.
The one who has, up until recently, been a primary force behind my decisions, thoughts, and feelings.
It’s OK, sweet girl. We don’t have to wait anymore.
This image, to me, is freedom.
I started reading a book about the Wright brothers. And in it, mention was made of a two cylinder engine built to power their glider.
I texted him: What are the cylinders for?
Well, how does the air get in there, I inquired.
He responded again.
And then I thought, I want to learn.
I ordered a working model of a V-8 internal combustible engine. 250 parts. Transparent to see the pieces in operation. It’s a way for me to learn how an engine works.
I am excited for it to arrive tomorrow.
When I mentioned it during a phone conversation with my dad last night, he asked, “What, you want to be a mechanic now?”
No, I just want to learn.
I was insatiably curious as a little girl. My mother bought me a globe as I kept asking about where news stories took place. She also bought me models of the “Invisible Woman,” and an eye. She bought me a subscription to a kids science magazine. She let me enter every science fair. She recorded, answered, and helped me research a 1,000 questions I often posed to her just before my bedtime.
Do horses get sunburned?
How hot is hot lava?
Do flies poop?
And now, thirty years later, it’s: How does an engine work?
And now, in writing this, I recognize that this little girl within, who has waited by the window for decades, is also the little girl whose insatiable curiosity is driving me forward today.
It’s her. And she is me.
And maybe that’s why I find this so exciting. It’s not just learning something, but it’s a moment of Aha! There you are! I’ve been looking for you!
When I was a little older, we lived in a mobile home park in California. And occasionally, we’d get tornado warnings. There was a widespread belief that tornadoes “targeted” mobile homes. When I was home alone one afternoon, a storm blew in. I had been playing outside with my neighbor when her mother mentioned that it looked like tornado weather.
I went inside my own home and panicked. I was alone.
At some point, soon after, I became obsessed with learning about tornados. The cloud patterns, the scale of intensity, their movement, and how to protect myself.
A tornado never came to my childhood home. But one did to the second house my husband and I owned. And without panicking, I took myself and my oldest, who was only months old at the time, and we sat together in the safest part of the house–a windowless bathroom. I did not panic, and neither did she.
When we emerged, the roof was partially damaged, and some garage windows were broken, but we were ok.
It was as if the years of fear-conquering learning had worked when I needed it the most.
It was as if the fearful little girl rolled up her sleeves and said, “I’ve got this.”
And she did.
Which means I did.
And I’ve got this now.