When I was 6 yrs old and in the first grade, I decided that I was no longer going to get on the bus that would take me to the after-school program. The program was called Little People and I hated it. I had had enough and decided NO MORE.

So, one day after school, instead of getting on the bus, I simply walked myself home. Alone. Across big streets, navigating the “walk now” signs like a pro. I continued through the big open field, and then the creepy shady park, and then down my street that had deep ditches and no sidewalks. All of these years later, I can totally see my ponytailed little self, strutting her stuff down the street, a mixture of rebel and naive confidence leading the way.

I must have made the aftercare program leader panic when I never arrived on the bus. They went searching for me and found me one house away from my home.

The bus driver demanded I get on the bus. I declined. Somehow I convinced her that I was perfectly allowed to walk myself home and that I’d no longer be needing the services of their after-school program. There was a lot of back and forth and hesitation on her part. She watched me walk up to my door, unlock it with the key that was in my pocket, and walk in. She drove away.

I remember feeling exhilarated. I had just won my independence. My mom was at work, my older sister with her friends, and I was home alone. Free + happy. I made myself a snack and watched a Spiderman cartoon.

I never went back to the Little People after-care program.

I think it’s important to go back and remember those early moments when we did something that seemed natural to us though may have scared the adults around us. This is often our superpower, our access to our own brand of bliss.

All of these years later, I still crave freedom, self-sufficiency, and independence. Sometimes it presents in shadow form, but mostly it’s been my superpower and a guide.

What childhood trait still supports you today?

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