When I was young, truths were absolute, and there were angels above my bed. I knew I had angels watching over me because my mom’s friend had made a cross-stitch with a poem about how there were four angels above every child’s bed, and the picture showed a little bear-angel on each side. (Since my bed was pushed up against the wall, I thought that I only had three angels watching over me. It made me sort of sad.) Anyway, now it takes more than a cross-stitch to make me feel like I’m in good company.

A lot of girls in my hall at college watch Disney movies. I know because I can hear Aladdin or The Aristocats or Mulan through the walls. This was a big thing in high school, too. Kids would go through the hallways singing “A Whole New World” all the time. Friends went through a phase where they’d have Disney movie marathons at sleepovers. It always bugged me. I don’t feel the same magic when I watch The Swan Princess as I did when I truly wanted to be Odette. I don’t want to be watching the same things I did when I was a child. I want to feel grown up.

Sometimes I have these moments—they’re hard to describe, but it’s like suddenly there’s a yellow light around everyone, and for a moment I truly see how real everything is, and I panic. The yellow light disappears in an instant, and with it my awareness of total reality. I used to be able to forget about these flashes and move on, but then one day I wrote down what had happened, what I had seen and felt, right afterward, so I wouldn’t forget. I think maybe I usually live in a state of part reality, part illusion, and these moments are glimpses into a higher state of awareness. Maybe someday I will transition into that state permanently. Maybe then I will be able to understand everything better. Maybe it will drive me crazy, like Rimbaud’s drunken boat after it’s been out at sea for forever. I’d still want it. It seems unlikely, though. ♦