Nightmare as a Child
Helen Foley, a school teacher, returns home and finds a young girl named Markie sitting on the steps outside her apartment. Markie speaks to Helen as if she knows her and tries to get Helen to remember her past. While talking to Markie, Helen is visited by Peter Selden. Peter used to work for Helen’s mother and was the first person to find Helen’s mother’s body when she was murdered. Helen mentions she was just talking to a little girl named Markie and Peter tells Helen she used to go by that very nickname. Peter happens to have a photo of Helen as a child (creepy) and shows it to her. Helen is shocked to see herself as a little girl in the photo looking exactly like the little girl she has been talking to.
Peter leaves Helen’s apartment and Markie explains to Helen that she is her from the past and she is trying to get Helen to remember the day her mother was murdered. As Helen begins to remember that day, Peter comes back into Helen’s apartment, confesses to murdering her mother, and states he has been following her around all of this time with the hopes of one day killing her as well. It is at this point, Helen pushes her way past Peter, pushing him down a flight of stairs and kills him. Once she is finished talking with the police, Helen sees a young girl in the apartment building. She looks at the young girl and tells her she has a lovely smile and to never lose it.
Hopefully, not many of us will experience the type of trauma Helen went through as a child witnessing her own mother’s murder but we do go through our own traumas. Those traumas force us to grow up and grow up quick, often leaving our childhood behind. Even with little to no trauma as a child, we are forced to leave our childhood behind when we enter into the realm of adulthood. Who we were as children is left behind and we are asked to become, at times, people we don’t want to be. We try to become what society and others want us to be, rarely asking ourselves “who do I want to be?”.
In this Twilight Zone episode I chose to focus on Helen’s rush into adulthood and never looking back. She, like so many of us, when we leave our childhood behind, we leave behind our curiosity, our creativity, our lightheartedness, and our willingness to play. We take on the burdens of adulthood and responsibility and before we know it, we are living lives that are not fun, don’t represent who we truly are, and ones we really don’t want to live.
So how can we change this? Think back on your childhood, what are some of your fondest memories? What is it about those memories that made childhood so fun? Who made your childhood fun? What did being a child feel like? What did you dream for adult self when you were a child? What can you do to feel those same things as an adult? How can you bring curiosity and creativity into your everyday? How can you introduce play into your life? Who can your surround yourself with that makes life fun? People who make you laugh. People you can be yourself around and explore new ideas with. Life is an adventure. It isn’t supposed to be all fun in the beginning and then serious for the rest. It is up to you to make the life you live one worth living.
For me, the best times of my life were hanging out with my three best friends. It didn’t matter whether we were playing, talking, walking the neighborhood, or watching a movie. Just being with them I knew I had all I needed to be happy and fulfilled, to know I could truly be myself and be accepted was the happiest I could be. We goofed around, made up stories, dressed up, and played pretend. We all grew up and stayed in touch. Every time I see them, no matter how old we get, it is like we are children again. Sure life gets heavy sometimes, but somehow being around them, makes being an adult more fun.
You only get one go at this thing called life. Life is too short not to be happy and too long to be miserable. No one said being an adult couldn’t be fun. You are an adult now, you have the power to create the life you want, so do it. Don’t blame others or responsibility for not living a fun life. Stop looking to others for their definition of who you should be and what adulthood should look like. Have fun, create a life that is colorful, playful, and happy. You are the only one who can create a life what represents you. Don’t disappoint the younger version of you. Be everything you thought you would be when you were a child. Be your own hero.