I gave up all my childhood relics too early.
I refused my dolls, my stuffed animals, my notebooks full of novel ideas,
to swallow maturity instead.
I was sooner than ready ushered into adulthood,
to wear the mark of maturity ripe on my flat chest.
Every “you’re so mature” proclaimed from an adult singed it deeper into my flesh.
The scar soothed my loss.
Yet, I was not welcome in adult spaces.
I was hushed and spoken over, my emotions belittled,
contrived in the twilight zone of being a child in years, but not in feeling.
Now, I am an adult in years only.
In feeling, perhaps a quiet, old matriarch whose hands are calloused with past lives.
But I have danced for many years in the arms of apparent maturity,
surely I should be a natural?
I am anything but.
The dance is awkward and clumsy, and my teacher is absent.
I traded the precious performance of childhood for adult approval.
And now? I don’t know how to dance.