When I was a kid, I hid my heart under the bed because my mother said "If you're not careful, someday, someone's gonna break it." Take it from me, under the bed is not a good hiding spot. I know because I've been shot down so many times I get altitude sickness just from standing up for myself. When I was a kid, I could fill a bookshelf with every different way they would tell me how not to play. They'd say "It's time to start putting childish things away." And I was like, "f** you! This is Skeletor." But more and more they made me believe that our hearts are like door knocks, and that's where we get the sound of a beat. And I'll never get to meet the man inside me if I can't stand still long enough to be there, I'll never make it anywhere if I keep running away, I'll never know myself if all I ever do is play nikki-nikki-nine doors, don't wanna be a man. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a man. I wanted to register retirement savings plan that'd keep me and candy long enough to make old age sweet. I wanted two left feet so I could dance circles around important issues until way past my bed time. I'm not saying I don't have opinions, just that others were less likely to argue if they were as tired as I was, fatigued as to amen what a good night kiss does to kids, it puts weights on our eyelids and returns us to a place where reason and imagination lace together shoes who's tongues stick out at stillness and beckon us to move forward. As a kid, I was always drawn toward moonlight, despite an armada of adults who insist I must set my days according to sunlight. I would lay in bed, and fight sleep, believing if I shut my eyes, even for an instant, I would miss out on something amazing. Turns out I was right. I have seen stars stamped into the night like cookie cutter designs. Drew lines in-between each one, inventing new constellations so that when somebody asked me, "What's your sign?" I could point to mine, the one hanging over the first door past the finish line, and say "It's right there. The one marked exit." Because one day all this getting ahead bullsh** will be over, and people will start looking for me, and I'll be there. I'll wear my best flashing red and you, you will stand winner circle thorough-bred I will un-thread the screws that would put you throughout this life, then smile and say, "You made it." When I was a kid, I traded in homework a**ignments for friendship, and gave my friends a late slip for never showing up on time, and in most cases, not at all. I gave myself a hall pa** to get through each broken promise. And I remember this plan, borne out of frustration from a kid who kept calling me "yogi". Then pointed to my tummy and said, "too many picnic baskets." Turns out it's not that hard to trick someone. And one day, before cla**, I said "Yeah... You can copy my homework." And I gave him all the wrong answers that I'd written down the night before. He got his paper back, expecting a near perfect score, and couldn't believe it when he looked across the room at me and held up a zero. I know I didn't have to hold up my paper of 28/30, but my satisfaction was complete when he looked at me puzzled and I thought to myself, "Smarter than the average bear, motherf**er." When I was a kid, I slid love letters through the slots of lockers that belonged to my secret crushes, built paint brushes from the tiny hairs that stood on end every time I saw them. My brain stem finally blooming with thoughts, I connected dots and made masterpieces, each brush stroke a thesis dedicated to the explanation that you, not knowing who I was, was only because anonymity made it easier to be brave. I dipped my brush into a tidal wave I hoped that would one day wash over me. I can guarantee, if you've ever had a secret admirer, it was someone very much like me, who loved someone very much like you. It was someone who wanted to tell you how much you meant, how every second we spent thinking of you was simply the cost of getting us through the hard times, we saved nickles and dimes hoping our first date would be with you. So with the disappoint of love, we gave up comic books and video games, I promise you, every guy I've ever met remembers the names of the ones they loved first, then our thirst for love continues, as we cross the deserts of maybe, believing we will find an oasis of yes. Acquiesce, yes... We probably should have just said something, but we were chicken sh**. We let the fuses of our hearts explode every time you walked on by. When I was a kid, I did stupid sh**. Ripped the woman's underwear section out of the sears' Christmas wish catalog, and blamed it on my granddad. He did end up covering for me, and had only this to say. "You're only twelve! So I'm impressed. But take it from experience, don't hide that under your mattress." So I didn't. I hid it in the empty box of a board game that I never used to play. And on the day that my grandmother eventually found it, she reamed him out for hiding p**nography in his grandson's bedroom. The impending doom of the truth set upon me like a dying sun sending its last ray of light over the horizon, and aimed directly at me. He didn't say a word. Incurred the full wrath then laughed with me later, saying "It's like your heart. It doesn't matter where you hide it." Lovers are like little kids lifting up rocks, looking for an insect, they will find that sh**. When I was a kid, I trusted myself enough to know that one day, I'd be a man. One day I would have a childhood for a past and a future for a backup plan, that every gauntlet I've ever ran was a potato sack race, in which time would chase me further towards an ending, I am bending myself back to the beginning, reminding myself there's no winning any race against yourself, slow down. And when the kid in you falls, turn around, pick them up, dust them off, then continue. Trust me, you are gonna need that kid. You are gonna need someone to remind you that every weed is a flower, just trying to make sh** work, that every jerk you ever encounter is just another someone who somehow forgot that it's okay to need a hug. It's okay to be afraid. When I was a kid, I played hop-scotch with the lines they drew in the sand, landed on the conclusion that second hand clothes at least to the benefit of experience, and I've got one hundred and thirty seven hand heart, broken apart and stitched back together at the seams. I've cartwheeled across balance beams, made from the broken finger bones of people who could not let go of this life. I still love the night. I love the fact that if you squint your eyes just right, stars look like porcupines of light, stumbling across the dark dipping their quills into the night, trying to write apologies for all of the unanswered wishes from the times we once wished upon them. Sometimes, I still wish. And most times, I wish I didn't have to. I wish I didn't have to wish. So I guess what I'm saying is that I hope, I hope I never forget that kid who grew up inside me. He just seemed to laugh a little bit louder, smile just little bit longer, loved a whole lot stronger, world's first official awesome monger, taking awesome from door to door, "Take as much as you need. Don't worry about me, I got more. I've got a candy store filled with whatever it's gonna take to make tomorrow sweet." I got two left feet and no bed time. I'm still not brave enough to have an orgy, but I rock the slumber party, come nap with me.First one to fall asleep loses, first one to fall asleep wins. The race stops at the start and the finish line is where it begins so this time first one to lose wins. I know we never meant to turn our hearts to garbage bins. It was an accident. I know the headlines of us giving up were a misprint, and really just bad reporting. I know we've been boarding up the windows from the outside in, we've been doing it ever since they told us to start letting things go, and I know we got into the habit of throwing everything away, but your heart is a door knock. And every time it beats, it's just that kid's way of asking, "Can you please come out and play?"