Walking in your Child's Shoes

lens shift May 24, 2022

Let’s say NASA has made strides and they’ve found a new planet that’s habitable. Aliens who’re pretty much like humans, already live there. They ask people if they’d like to move there since Earth is getting crowded. “The aliens are excited to have you there and will welcome you!” They say.


You decide that’s exciting and get into a rocket ship and arrive at the new planet.


After a few days of a warm welcome and the aliens there being very nice to you, you suddenly wake up every day and get smacked on your bum. You’re very confused but decide it’s probably an accident. But then someone comes and yells in your face three times a day and you’re still getting that smack first thing in the morning.


You start to question arriving at this planet and you’re also wondering what you did wrong. When you ask the aliens, they say things like, “You got off on the left side of the bed.” “You put sugar first in your coffee instead of milk.” And you’re like, really confused.


You didn’t know those things were wrong and no one explained to you what they were when you arrived. Also, despite the yelling and hits, you keep forgetting these new rules. Your brain is overwhelmed. You’re starting to feel like everyone here hates you. This adds stress.


The overwhelm and stress combine to put your brain in a perpetual fight and flight mode. Now even if a little alien comes near you, you hit them before they can hit you because you’re not sure what the heck might happen next.

Yet other aliens never hit you but look at your weird when you simply walk from the room to the kitchen. You’re not sure why their face takes on that hostile look but it does.


They don’t even say anything.


But that face.


You try to laugh and joke. Maybe they will mellow down? But your laughing seems to trigger them more. Now you’re starting to feel scared.


Also, you have tasks. There is another little alien in the house you’re supposed to share your belongings with. What?! No one told you THAT!


Also, you’re supposed to carry a bunch of bricks every day back and forth in the front garden. You have no clue why. They explain something about yikyak but what is yikyak? You don’t know. But you promise to try.


Sometimes a brick falls and you get a smack on your bum again. This makes you more afraid. You don’t want to carry the bricks because you’re afraid you’ll get more smacks. Also, the little alien is taking your things and you’re supposed to smile and give it hugs. But you don’t feel like hugging and then you get more of Looks, Smacks and Yells.


What the heck is going on? You were told these aliens want you here. They will take care of you. You’re terrified now. You finally decide to say something.


“I don’t wanna be hit. Can you not hurt me please? I understand words.. if you can show me how things are done, I’ll do them. I might need more reminders because my thinking brain is now deactivated because of the fear and stress but I promise I want to learn. I do want to carry the bricks even though I don’t fully understand why but I will. But can no one smack me please?”


The alien you were speaking to smiles. You’re relieved. Ok, maybe she understands.


“Did you know that before you arrived- we had even different rules? We were smacked with a shoe, locked in a room and sometimes not given food. None of that is happening to you. We are not even doing that to you. Be grateful. And yikyak is important. How will your survive here if you don’t do yikyak?”


You’re super confused now. Wait, what? You’re now supposed to be grateful for not being hit with a shoe? Or being denied food? Or being isolated like prison inmates?


You start screaming and then there’s another smack. And another. Until you learn not to scream.


The aliens do give you good food though. It’s better than Earth. They remind you often. Sometimes you say thank you but other times it feels hard.


Also, their houses are gorgeous. And comfortable. Sometimes you can forget the Looks, Smacks and Yells (LSY). Sometimes you smile and you can even do the yikyak and then the aliens smile back and you feel good.


But the longer you live there, the more random rules keep popping up until you just can’t keep track of them at all. It’s just not possible with your brain going haywire.


You are used to the LSY now. You’ve accepted that something is wrong with you and you’ll never belong on this planet. And it’s a pain permanently lodged in your heart like a big rock. and the fear in your brain is like an itch. Hard for the brain to do anything else besides the itching, making it hard to focus on yikyak.


But you smile at the aliens when they smile at you. You do the yikyak because it makes the aliens clap for you- something that never happens otherwise. It’s all you have. So you take it.


And live with it. And say to yourself day and night,


“I’m grateful that I’m not being hit with shoes, or being locked up or denied food. I’m grateful. I’m grateful.”