When I was 5, I was stung by a bee in this very pumpkin, on my head. It’s how we know I’m an Oshun. We were visiting CA for my cousin Nadine’s wedding. This is the “Cinderella Party Area” of Children’s Fairyland in Oakland. My favorite picture of myself is from when I’d just turned 5. In this picture, I am, to my 5 year old horror-wearing a dress “made from towel”. It’s a terrycloth dress, in Spring pink, green, and yellow. I am seated in a field of yellow daffodils. It was taken shortly before my sexual abuse began, at Sears.
Tonight I dreamt, my adult self walked into the pumpkin and found my 5 year old self, sitting in a *different* dress I once owned, -white with multicolored flowers, and ruffles- having a tea party alone/with imaginary friends. I sat across from my younger self and asked her questions about her life. She was ambivalent about her baby brother, unsure what she wanted to be when she grew up, but knew she liked to dance. She even showed me.
I drank pretend “lilac” tea while she blew the heads off of dandelions and explained that she loved to feed things, as long as they were not people. Pigeons, sea gulls, squirrels, fish, chickens, she loved them all. She asked me if I liked feeding things.
A boyfriend once pointed out that I will feed *anything*. Many days in our 5 years together, I carried food for the critters into Golden Gate Park. When he found rats in the bird feeders, he made me take them down. Currently, I have 2 bird feeders, a bird bath, and I leave all manner of scraps and leftovers in the woods nearby. Spring will see nectars for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. My family has taken to calling me “Snow White” because I adore the birds in my yard, many of them Stellar Jays and Mourning Doves.
When I was 7, I got all my friends to bring their scraps for the black lab next door. I guilted my mom into buying dog biscuits when we had no dog. Uninformed at that age that dogs were absolute gluttons, we fed him everything we could find. He gobbled it up so eagerly, we were sure they were starving him. When his owners came by and talked to my parents, we were certain they were awful owners like step-parents from fairy tales, and still slipped him the occasional snack.
Not sure *what* the point of this rambly, memory lane post is, but tomorrow as I sprinkle birdseed on the ground, I will remember my younger self with kindness.
I may even blow dandelion heads.
But never again, will I wear a terrycloth dress.