“The ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” ~Carl Jung
There is a black and white picture of me with my cousin Crystal. I had on the all familiar romper with the strings tied in perfect bows resting on my eight year old shoulders. We were living in the city then, so it had to be in the eighties. I love the way she tilts her head and perks out her lips, she looks like a sweet child with no worries but for the need to take the picture at the right angle. I didn’t smile, I just stared into the lens leaning my body into the moment. Every time I look at this picture, I am reminded of the neighbor who could trick our innocent eyes into believing that she could remove her thumb. We would stare from her ice blue eyes to her pale thumb, as she detached it at the knuckle.
When I look at that black and white picture, it’s magic-like moments that I recall sticking in my child’s mind. We all need them, an equal amount of magic moments to balance out our days. Where would I be without the memory of how patient I was that summer when I waited by the mailbox for my black ants to arrive? I changed the sand and sifted it a million times imagining how they would burrow tunnels. When the days seemed to stretch out in front me, I grew impatient and recruited the ants from my backyard. They stood there on the top of the dirt of my ant farm moving from one side to the other. Soon the black ants would arrive three times bigger than the backyard ants and tunnel non-stop.
I stared into my eyes of the black and white photo and I can see a pinch of sadness, but how could that be? I wish I could tell my eight year old self that thirty or so years from that day she will be happier. Not because her life is full of happy moments only, but because she would learn how to use the happy to balance out the sad. I would tell her that she would grow to love being shy after years of learning how to live with it without making an excuse for it. I would tell her that Crystal, the same little girl she leans against will act as her north star.