The title of a rather cheesy song by a Swedish girl called Emilia that was a big hit somewhere in the late nineties. More than ten years down the line it still pops up in my head every now and again. In spite of being a big girl these days, it still is a big, big world too. Which I find hugely fascinating yet intimidating at occassions...

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Running Away With The Gypsies

When I was a little girl, I liked to hide my head between the pillows of our sofa. Usually I did that when I wanted to be somewhere else and someone else. It allowed me to shut out the rest of the world, kind of like an ostrich. Thoughts such as “If only I were a big person!!” would shoot through my mind. My memories of feeling limited to be my own person are still very clear, however small I still was. The urge to go out there and discover the world my way was often nipped in the bud. At least that’s what stuck with me.

In the end I did get my adventure all right; it was just a bit in a bookish way! Looking back at my childhood, it seems to me I read my way right through it. At least once a week I frequented the local library to get a new stash. During school holidays, that would be at least every other day. My preferred choice of books as a young girl was invariably adventure books. Those were the ones I liked to get lost in. The world could stop spinning for a moment without me noticing it. It grew to be a habit of mine frowned upon by many around me, family as well as friends. If my mother was calling me to do a chore for her it would usually end in a small drama. She would call and call and call, but no response till she snatched my precious book from my hands. Family and friends sometimes called me bookish and boring. If a book had me in its grip there was no stopping me: I had to read it right to the end.

It took me a long time to figure out I had to adapt to the social rule that reading in company was not done.
By then I had hit puberty and my choice of books had shifted to reading about other peoples lives. Part of me was longing to travel to far countries, get a lover, be kissed and have sex, experiment with drugs and alcohol. The other part of me decided that all of that wasn’t for me just yet and I simply kept on reading about it. I have fond memories of me exploring those departments of the library that I wasn’t supposed to be in just yet…

Leaving home aged eighteen I was still as immature as can be. But I had big plans for myself. “My life is going to start right this minute,” is what I thought. It did in a way. I moved to another country, became an ‘independent woman’ and lost my virginity. Besides that, life still seemed quite tame to me. It wasn’t as if I was running away with the gypsies or anything. It was all quite organized.

When I moved back home after a year, I quietly and slowly settled into an adult lifestyle. Went to college, met a guy, moved in with him, had my first real job, and so on. All quiet serious stuff.
Was I happy? I really wouldn’t know, especially in hindsight. One thing’s for sure: I was displeased with what my life was evolving into. I did the one thing that I thought would make a difference and broke up with my partner. Isn’t it so that a door needs to be closed before another one opens? That’s when the waiting started. I took a risk, now I wanted my reward. That didn’t come: my life remained pretty much the same, only now I was alone.

It was alright, because I always have and always will be one for the anticipation of something new. Quite a few years passed by. Boyfriends came and went. There was always an insatiable hunger for traveling. Not to travel to new places per se – though that was nice from time to time - but to go somewhere that was totally different from home.

Until there came a point in my life where I felt everything was coming to an accumulation. I found myself in another country; lonely, broke and scared. It seemed to me the universe wanted me to move back home. As soon as I did, I got sick and I had to admit I was in the best place in the world I could be.
These days I still find myself in the situation where I want to go and run away with the gypsies every now and again, I do. There’s an itch, and that itch makes me want to scratch. To do so, I go back to my first love time and time again.
I pick up a book and start to read.

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