When I was a kid I thought all I had to do was jump high enough and I could touch the moon. I thought the clouds were soft swellings of magic that I could lie on for hours, blinking in the filtered sunlight. I imagined they must taste like candy floss, and all I had to do was stand on the tip of my toes and I could just climb up into the sky. I tried so many times; I searched for the end of rainbows thinking they were roads that would take me straight into the heavens. Maybe, I thought, when I got older I would finally be tall enough to reach. I thought, just maybe, when I got older I would be able to pluck the stars right out of the sky.
I’m taller now, but I’ve grown in more ways than that. It’s difficult not to grow when there are forces stretching your brain in every direction; they’re tugging on one side to make space for logic and reason that tell me clouds are nothing but vapour, while I’m running in the other direction trying to hold on to the scent of candy floss. And somewhere in this process of growing up, before they’d finished the stretching and distorting of my mind, I convinced myself that to undo the damage they’d inflicted on my mind, under the guise of ‘growth’, I must distort my body.
I did terrible things to my body to get back to that child-like, infantile state of naivety. If only I was light enough, I would be able to walk on the clouds. And now the two are so entwined that to be ‘healthy’ is to let go of those dreams, to say goodbye to the moon, to ‘grow up’.
Sometimes, alone in my room, I look out at the tantalizingly bright moon and stand on my toes, reaching out my hand. Sometimes, I am embarrassed, but sometimes I swear I’m almost there.