Ksenia Chernaya

Remember When We Couldn’t Wait To Grow Up?

Do you remember when getting high meant climbing to the branches at the top of the tree or swinging on the playground until you thought your feet could touch the sky? It was a time when protection meant wearing a helmet and when the worst things a boy could give you were cooties and not bruises or STDs. An ‘I hate you’ was reserved for a sibling over a remote and there wasn’t a problem in this world that your mother’s hugs couldn’t fix. It was an age when race issues were about who ran the fastest, not who needs to be the most afraid. It was a time when wearing a skirt did not mean you were asking for it or that you were easy. A time when the only drug I knew was the one my mom gave me when I coughed all night.

When did it change? When did the training wheels come off our bikes? Look at us now, we’re driving cars. And cups filled with water and syrup have been filled with booze and sweetheart kisses turned into mornings after, into sex. Nude is now more than just a color for tights and photos we take are for some eyes only, not developed and framed.

I miss the times when the most pain I ever knew was the day I fell off the monkey bars or the times I skinned my knee. I miss the feeling of saying goodbye and all it meant was ‘I’ll see you tomorrow.’ I miss how the world appeared in technicolor before the loudest opinions painted it as black and white. 

Do you remember how we couldn’t wait to grow up? We tried to dress older, we got those fake IDs, we talked about topics we thought would make us sound experienced and worldly. Now I know how young we really seemed. What made us think being grown is better? What lies did we believe, what truths were the only ones we were willing to see? You’d think we would have learned from Peter Pan, his message was crystal clear. But it was one amongst a hundred, just one voice against them all. I know it’s nature, it’s biology, that we age and it’s society and laws that we have more rights. The right to say whatever you want, but only when appropriate. The right to act on romantic love, but only if it’s approved by others. The right to choose, but only certain things. 

Do you remember why we couldn’t wait to grow up?