We were born, little miracles of life, pushed out into the world (against our will?), trembling, gasping, screaming, (against our will.) bits of flesh, blood, bone, sinew. We were cradled and cooed over; we were tickled and taken care of; we were fed and fawned over. We were magic.
We could do no wrong, as we pooped in freshly changed clean nappies, as we peed on $500-suits, as we slobbered over fancy pieces of technology. A laugh, an exclamation of surprise, perhaps even a huff of annoyance, but nothing more, nothing more. We were magic.
We learnt to roll over, sit up, crawl, stand, walk, talk. In fits and starts, each at our own pace – time would take its time, time cannot be hurried. The spilled oatmeal, the walls streaked with crayons, the first cuss word uttered were met with stern looks, time outs and hard slaps on the cheek. But as woeful eyes filled with tears, and dismay dashed across chubby, crimson cheeks, so anger melted and we were gathered back into the arms of those who loved us, returned to our rightful places in their hearts. We were magic.
Send her to playschool, they said. Send him to a childcare center, they said. We needed to learn to share, they said. So we learned to sing nursery rhymes and colour inside the lines. We learned curiosity was less important than sitting in rows and counting to ten. We learned creativity was less important that colouring trees green and people cream (even when our own skins were brown and yellow and black and white and every other colour in between). We learned that mummy smiled at gold stars on penmanship worksheets, and frowned at B+s on artwork. We learned that daddy loved when we kissed him on the cheek, but hated when we kissed Jimmy or Candice or Taylor. We were magic, but we learnt that there were rules.
Days bled into weeks, into months, into years. We spent more and more time inside concrete boxes – face forward! sit up straight! do your work! – and less and less time among plants and people who loved us. There is only one answer, they insisted. Do it my way or no way at all, they demanded. I am right; you are wrong, they asserted. We were cowed into silence, heads bowed till called upon to be lauded for fitting the mould. Were we magic?
Creativity crushed and curiosity quashed, the concrete boxes we spent so much time within spat us out by the hundred, thousand, million – faceless drones ready, moulded to fit the cogs of the machine. The machine didn’t tolerate high margins of difference and if one didn’t fit, the next would. Or the next. Or the next. We were beaten and broken to feed the machine. We were not magic. Not anymore.
But you, my friend, you – you who laugh at the spray of rain on your face on a warm summer day. You are magic. You who dance with wild abandon, your cheeks rosy from one too many drinks. You are magic. You who weep at the funeral of a mother, a brother, a lover like your tears will never stop. You are magic. You who shout, who pray, who lie, who love. You are magic. You who breathe. You. Are. Magic.
You see, we are magic. We were born magic. And as we grew, that magic got lost, hidden, buried somewhere deep within us. But it was never lost, never lost. We never stopped being magic. We just forgot that we were magic. And when we remember, we embrace it; we become it. You see, my friend, you were magic. You are magic. We are magic.