AMBIENT THOUGHT – EPISODE Two Hundred Nine: Not Just A…

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.


Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

Winston Churchill

I’ve only told my wife and daughter this and no one else…until now…

I felt like a lonely child. When I was in elementary school, I always felt like I was a loner. Yes, I had friends and kids I laughed and played with but inside, I felt lonesome.
This was the beginning of the world(s) I created inside myself. I had imaginary friends and they stayed with me wherever I went. It didn’t matter if I was at school, riding on my bike around my neighborhood, or alone in my room. They were with me.

At home, it was much easier. I was surrounded by my toys and stuffed animals. I had given them all souls and they gave me comfort. They had become my talismans. (see episode two hundred five)
I could take them off the shelves and hold them, talk to them, hug them, and they gave me comfort.

But, at school, I wasn’t allowed to bring them with me. One: I might lose whatever I brought. Two: It might get stolen by somebody. Three: A teacher might take it up and I may never see it again. (I once took a Hot Wheels car to kindergarten and a few kids and I were rolling it on the floor and a teacher took it up and put it on her desk. The lunchroom workers would bring a large cart and our lunches to our classroom. As I walked by the teacher’s desk, I quickly grabbed my car and hide it under my tray. I still have it.)
So, at school, I had nothing to help me feel safe.

Then I found a pencil.

It wasn’t just a pencil, it was a used pencil. It was so used, it showed only half-inch of yellow between the point and the almost non-existent eraser.
We were having a nap time (this was the second grade and the last year that we got nap time) and I was laying with my head toward the bottom of a bookshelf and I spotted the pencil under it. I reached out and was just able to pinch it between my forefinger and thumb. I brought it up to my face, blew the hair and dust off of it, and studied it. It was so small and I thought about how lonely it was under the bookshelf.
It hit me: this pencil was like me.
I felt small and forgotten and here was a representation of how I was feeling.

This little pencil became my best friend at school.

I gave it a personality and a name (which escapes me right now; forgotten over time) and I carried it in my pocket. I mentally talked to it when I couldn’t talk to it out loud, which was rare. I would put it in my pocket first thing when I left for school and I always placed it next to my nightstand when I got home. Though I didn’t play with it or talk to it when I was home (I had my other toys, thank God), I would make sure it was still there.

Then, one day came that I left it at home. I worried about it all day. And when I got home…it was gone. I looked around my room and saw it had been cleaned. I couldn’t tell you what else might have been thrown away, only that little pencil. I started to cry and ran for the kitchen garbage can. There was gross coffee ground and eggshells inside, but I didn’t care. I finally found my pencil just as my mom and dad came into the kitchen to see half of what was in the trash on the floor. I was yelled out and I tried to explain through sobs. I’m sure they thought that their child had lost his mind but they helped me put the trash back into the trash can and I rinsed off my little pencil.

I heard my dad say to my mom, “It’s just a pencil.

I remembered that for my whole life.
It’s just a pencil.
Just a…

I know my mom and dad didn’t understand the impact this little pencil had made on me. I’m a parent now and watched my daughter go through that stage where everything she owned had a soul that she had given it. I’ve seen her have those reactions with throwing something away. Because of my experience with my pencil, I asked her what this particular thing means to her and she would tell me something close to my experience.
Over time, most of these things serve their purpose and we go eventually throw it away, give it away, or let it slide out of our memories.

When it comes to a child, nothing is just a…

I look back on that moment and, oddly, it warms me. I think about that pencil (that has long been thrown away… by me) and how it made me feel safe at school. To everyone else in the world, it was probably a nothing thing. But to me, it was a friend I could confide to, a world that I could escape into when I felt so damn alone.

But those things didn’t just go away as I got older. I have little things that I find or see and give it a soul. I think we all do, in one way or another. We do not go as far as talking to it (mentally or out loud) but we have these things to bring us closer to feeling safe or closer to someone we know and love.

At that moment for me, it was a little, used-up pencil. That little pencil was never just a...

Nothing is ever a just a…
Remember that.

-Loyd Elmore Jr
November 19, 2021

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.

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