When I was four-years-old, a classmate and I got in front in front of our kindergarten class and sang a song for everyone. I wish I can tell you it was “Billie Jean” and that it ended a moonwalk. I wish I can tell you that we brought puppets and put on a cute little show. And I really wish I had brought in a photo album with pictures of me as a flower girl at my uncle’s wedding. But that would not be very exciting. We rehearsed for hours in my tiny room in my tiny apartment a neat little number about boyfriends. One hand on our hips while the other raised an index finger to the audience as we sang in unison: “And I’m gonna find me a boyfriend…a boyfriend…a boyfriend. And I’m gonna find me a boyfriend…today!” We thought we were hot shit, she and I. The next day, my teacher, who was friends with my mom, had an impromptu parent-teacher conference in our kitchen. “Come on, V…sing the song again!”
“NO!!” I screamed and stormed out. Why must they make a mockery of my search for true love???
As silly as that story is, the point is this: when you’re young and naive to the world, all you know is that you want something. You don’t know why, but because you’re impressionable, your instinct is to desire something that make other people happy. Why? Because I want to be happy, too! I just learned to spell my whole name and already I wanted to have a boyfriend. Thanks, “Three’s Company” and Shasta Cola for making me envious of things that I had no business envying.
As a child, you’re very basic in terms of prioritizing your needs versus your wants. Water, air, food, and shelter are all things that were readily available to you. Except during the summer I turned 18 and I had to fend for me and my brother by depleting the cans of corned beef in the garage, a time I fondly recall as “The Unintentional Corned Beef Diet Incident.” But that’s neither here nor there. For the most part, you’re given the basic necessities of life and don’t even give it a second thought as to where it comes from and if you’ll get it tomorrow or the next day. You’re completely oblivious. For me, I wanted a boyfriend. I didn’t care if he picked his boogers in class, I didn’t care if he threw sand in my hair during recess, and I didn’t care if he just could not sit in my carpet square like a good boy. I just wanted a boy to like me, to smile at me, to share his crayons with me if mine broke. It was that simple.