I used to try to catch my shadow doing something different from I was doing.
I’d avert my eyes, pretend interest in something the opposite direction from my shadow. But secretly I was watching at the periphery for suspect movement and unexplained behavior from my flatter self.
Surely there had to be some independent quality about my shadow. How else to explain its shorter stature at some parts of the day and its odd stretching reach at others. I was too young to understand the correlation between where the sun was in the sky and what my shadow chose to do. To me it was simply a mystery, explained by something I didn’t have the ability to understand yet.
I suppose I was only five or six at the time, although I could have been older.
I was a child that desperately wanted to believe in magic and in happily ever after. I was certain that if I only believed hard enough that I could wriggle my nose just right and a candy bar would appear. I knew if I practiced long enough, holding my arms just so, and blinking my eyes with a nod and a smile that I could travel through space instantly and be somewhere new and unusual. I even figured that if I stared into a mirror long enough I’d see my friends looking back at me.
What I’ve found over the years is that all that is true. It’s just not true in the way I thought it was.
There are explanations for what I and my shadow do, but they can’t usually be explained by magic or by the sun’s movement. There’s usually a deeper reason behind the logic of my choices and the emotions of my day. I may not understand those reasons, but the explanations are there, somewhere hidden in my psyche, my history, my fears and hopes.
Although different from my youthful variety, believing, practicing, trying, studying can all bring about change. A much slower process than I wish it were, results are still tangible and distinct. Looking back over the shortened span of my past, the changes that have happened really are miraculous and amazing.
Who I am, who I’ve become, isn’t vastly different from the child me. I think the believer in magic is still there, beside me, like my shadow. She is part of who I am. In fact, the magic believer is my shadow.
There are days, weeks, months and years that I move forward in spite of all reality tells me is impossible. I keep moving along the path I set for myself, wishing, hoping, trying, studying, working. Somewhere in all that the magic formula will occur and the transformation will happen. I may not understand it. But I’ll keep on until I do or until I find a more logical, more hopeful, more intriguing path to take.
Yup, me and my shadow, we’ll just keep believing and see what happens next.