I am a builder.
I love to make things.
Its what I’ve done since I was a small child. When I was a kid growing up, I remember a big blue plastic box filled with blocks. Wooden blocks, some square, rectangle, triangles, different sizes and shapes. Sturdy wooden blocks, light brown wood, I loved stacking them next to each other and on top of each other.
There is a picture of me at age 8 or something, awkwardly squatting next to a ‘block city’ I had built. My little city covered the whole table, and buildings and towers and roads. The towers were topped with triangular blocks, like fat arrows pointing upward, somewhat haphazardly. I was very proud of the roads I built in that city, because they ran on the table, and then down off the edge of the table, onto the floor. I can’t remember how I did that, maybe with linkin logs that attach together, Then when the roads reached the floor, they kept going, and I built little stop signs in the roads, to remind the cars where to stop.
Years later, remembering this makes me cry.
I’m not sure why I start to cry when I think of my little child self building a city out of wooden blocks, but not too long ago I remember breaking down with the memory and saying over and over to myself: “That was me, I loved to build. I was a builder. I built cities. Thats what I love. I love to build things. I am a builder. I am a builder.”
I’m not sure if I was saying these things out loud or in my head, but somehow those words hit me very strong, and bring tears to my eyes, blurring my vision as I write this, and snot to my nose, making me need to run out of the room and grab a handkerchief, lest tears and snot drip down on my keyboard.
I think the reason I begin to cry when I remember this memory is pretty obvious.
The little girl in me who loved building cities out of wooden blocks, stacking one next to the other on top of the next, that little girl is still in me.
I’ve been ignoring her.
I’ve forgotten her.
At the moment when I remember her, and see her again, I begin to cry because I recognize that she was abandoned.
Such a cheerful small, happy, passionate wooden-block laying girl should not be left behind and forgotten about.
People talk about finding something to do that makes you truly happy, that makes you forget that time is going by, where you are completely absorbed and forget everything else. I played with those blocks in a way that allowed the wild landscape of my imagination take form and shape in the real world! We are all born with an active imagination and a desire to move our bodies, and make things.
Recently I heard: “The imagination lays the tracks for reality”
We have to imagine it before we can do it.
I’m not sure of what I was imagining as a kid when I built those cities out of wooden blocks, but to be sure, there were stories in that city. The height of the towers, the structure of the buildings, the curves and edges of the roads. The corners, and especially the edge of the table were the roads didn’t just end because it was the edge of the table, but rather kept going, off the edge of the table, straight down until they got to the floor, and then once they were on the floor, the roads kept going.
I wasn’t going to let the limit of how big the table was also limit where the roads in my city were going, heck no! The roads had to keep going, because that’s what the story called for.
Plus it added a cool special affect, a multi-layered affect to my city, and I was playing with different levels, seeing how the structures interacted with each other.
At this point, I think its time to remember that little girl.
I imagine visiting her, and saying ‘hi… thats a really cool city you built’
She’ll say ‘yea it has a lot of buildings and roads. Some of the houses and towers are bigger or smaller. And there’s a bridge right there’ and she points to a longer block supported on each side by square blocks.
‘Does the road go under the bridge?’ I ask. She nods, and points to where the road is going.
As we look around the grand city that she built, and she shows me around all the roads, buildings, towers, stop signs, and everything, I am so grateful to see what she has built. Most of all, I am greatful that I remember her again. She isn’t gone. She’s right there.
I remember you, I say. You aren’t forgotten. You aren’t abandoned.
You are a builder, I say to her. Look at what you’ve built. You should keep on building things.
What do you want to build now?
Together, we take a breath, smile, and begin building.