When I was six I wanted to be crowned princess of the world, and while that’s probably not the most original childhood wish for a little girl, it would do you to note that in my head I was that princess and I ruled the kingdom of my bedroom with honor and good will. The surrealism of this desire became apparent when I was voted the class princess twice by my peers and I got to wear a pretty dress and was central to a special assembly. From then on I think I was convinced I should be a princess. Watching Disney movies had shown me that every girl would eventually find her prince, and so I quickly endeavored to discover mine, and at the age of six I was convinced that Thomas Ruling would forever be my love and that I would marry him, and, even though I didn’t understand how, together we’d have lots of children. I wanted the latest Barbie, and My Little Pony, and I wanted Christmas to come more often because that seemed to be the time when such things manifested. Once I made it my mission to meet Santa, and I waited a while on Christmas eve, and headed back down stairs where my grandmother caught me in the living room and sent me back to bed. The damage had already been done though and I saw my parents wrapping presents in the playroom behind her, and while I wasn’t really sad or disappointed about suddenly learning the falseness of his existence, I remember for a time afterwards I wanted Santa to be real again.
Saturday mornings were spent downstairs eating breakfast in front of the Disney channel, and I always tried to be the sister who got to open the new box of Wheetos, because I wanted to find the toy concealed inside before either of my siblings did. My parents would come down a little later and end up changing the channel, and while I never understood what the anchorman were talking about, I noted that most adults ended up listening to them and repeated to each other what they said, and so for I period of my sixth year I wanted to read the news so people would always pay attention to me. In fact I remember thinking that if I could just become a ballet-dancing, news-reading, animal-saving, magical princess-of-the-world then I would be happy for ever. I don’t doubt that if that had happened I would indeed be extremely satisfied with life, and if the opportunity for such an employment came up I would definitely submit an application.
For the entirety of my primary schooling I remember wanting desperately to be smarter and to prove myself. I was so far behind in my comprehension of things that I was designated a year behind, and placed in the special needs classes, and while I tried to work extra hard to get more intelligent, the only comments I seemed to get from anyone was that I was an extremely good worker but I still sucked at almost every subject. I wanted to be smarter so badly that sometimes I would take the old Disney cliché too seriously and I would wish on every star I could see as well as praying to something I didn’t understand. This never helped me however, and eventually everyone got so worried about my development that I had rigorous tests done to ensure there wasn’t a problem with my hearing or eyesight underlying the overall limit of what I managed to learn. I wanted these tests to prove I wasn’t stupid even though that is what I believed. However, I distinctly remember wanting to not be in class so much that while I stared at the teacher and appeared to be listening, I often day-dreamed to the point where nothing penetrated and when I look back it’s that which probably accumulated to the lack of my intellect.
I wanted to be like my elder sister because she was everything I wasn’t, and she was brave, and she was gifted, and at the age of seven she was already fluent in two instruments, and so I bothered her a lot by trying to copy her. I wanted to be able to do the things she did, including playing an instrument, but when I was given the opportunity I wanted to be great at it straight away and I abandoned the ambition almost as soon as I picked the recorder up. I wanted to walk down a staircase and dance with a boy like Belle from Beauty and the Beast in the gold dress my parents gave me. I wanted to have an adventure, and meet an animal that could talk. I wanted people to stop calling my invisible friend imaginary, and I wanted to always have Big-Bunny, my large beige stuffed rabbit with me when I slept. I wanted to be someone important, and I wanted to be someone as good as all the heroes I saw in cartoons, and I wanted to get all the answers to questions I had like ‘when I’m not somewhere does everywhere just stop until I get back?’ and ‘if heaven is in the clouds then what happens to heaven when there are no clouds in the sky?’
I wanted to speed up time and be old enough to go places without my parents; sometimes I wanted to be old enough to move out, and I don’t know why, but I had a romantic idea about being sixteen when I believed I would just be beautiful and smart and be one of those girls whose posture was so incredible she could balance books on her head. The desire to be older is strange to me now because, as I’m sure is the case for most adults, at twenty-two I would like to feel the freedom I did when I was six.
Despite the fact that six-year-old me didn’t get most of the stuff she wanted, I think she got what she really needed, and she’d be excited about the way things were going to work out for her.