The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY EIGHT: THE END OF THE INNOCENCE
This is the end of the innocence
O’ beautiful, for spacious skies
But now those skies are threatening
They’re beating plowshares into swords.
– Don Henley
I have wept over deaths in my life. My mother. My father. Pets that I have loved like blood family. A friend or two.
Even deaths of friendships have made me cry.
Some of these deaths have happened out of nowhere and the others have come along over time. Those deaths, even when we see them coming from a mile away and prepare for them, well, I guess we aren’t really prepared. Are we?
Have you ever thought about the death of innocence?
Maybe when you listen to that Don Henley song you might have for a fleeting moment until another song comes on and it’s quickly forgotten.
But I have thought about it for over eighteen years.
Why eighteen years?
As of this writing, that’s how old my daughter is. I have watched her go from itty bitty, too small to leave the hospital for a month to the grown woman she is now, working and going to college to become the person she wants to be. She has developed her own likes and loves and hates. Her life is her own.
I have watched her develop in this world.
And it has made me look at my own innocence and its life span, it’s beginning… and its death.
I remember when I was a kid and the littlest things made me look on in wonder. I didn’t think of the giant world outside the doors of my house. My world was my parents, my dog and cat, and the toys that I gave personalities. I created my own small world that was based in my room and the things it contained.
As time went on, that world became larger. I got older and discovered the world outside. I got a bike and the neighborhood became part of my world. Friends that I befriended in my neighborhood and at school got included. My world grew.
But thought my world became larger, innocence started to disappear. I learned about evils that lurked just outside of the light of innocence and they would occasionally show its head.
Then puberty, which I started a bit earlier than most boys. I saw girls (and women) in a different light). I sought out late-night movies on cable television for views of women’s bodies without clothes. I sought out friends who had dirty magazines who would give me some so I could hide them in my room. This was the same room that I sat and played with Star Wars figures or my stuffed animals and they were my friends. These ‘friends’ slowly became less and less important to me. The opposite sex became more and more at the forefront of my mind.
OK. I never stopped playing with my action figures or stuffed animals but doing so became less visible to other people, even my parents. I was afraid to be called ‘childish’.
The innocence that I based my world started to fall apart and change. The world around me became bigger and bigger. I tried to make out what was going on with my thinking and how I saw things.
And… that’s just the way it is. I bet it was the same for you, too. It doesn’t matter what sex you are. Even though there might be a few cosmetic differences, the end of innocence happens to us all on different levels.
I see kids now, the generation Z’ers, and I feel a bit sorry for them. The world is at their fingertips and they will never know the small worlds that people of my age used to know, their room, their home, their neighborhood. Their world is the entirety. They can search on their phones or laptops anything from how many people did that person murder that they saw on Facebook or any sexual position is.
Maybe the age of total innocence stops at 10 these days. Maybe that’s the average age limit on when to give a child a smartphone and the access it allows. Hell, it could be younger.
It’s not all evil. They have access to see the good things. I mean, how many puppy or kitten videos have you sat through? I’ve seen A LOT. And they can find things that can be helpful. It’s not all doom and gloom and given the right guidance, they can search out the positive this small world has to offer. You just have to try and steer them away from as much negative as possible.
But they will see it all at some point.
I think back when I was a kid before life grabbed a hold of me. I was content to sit in my room or outside underneath the large tree in the front yard and play. I could do that all day and be happy and blissful. It was a little world but it was mine. And as I sit here in my mid-life, I occasionally think back about how fun it was.
The thing is… if you try, and try and concentrate, even in this world of chaos, you can still go back to that little world you once ruled. It’s still there.
And, if nobody is looking, maybe you can feel brave and get down on the floor and play with action figures or your doll that you kept or a train set or your Hot Wheels. Nobody ever said you had to forget about when things were more innocent.
Maybe the innocence didn’t die after all.
And if you have kids, let them know it’s alright to hand onto that world they created. It will help later on that their world of innocence never has to die.
-Loyd Elmore Jr
May 8th, 2020
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.