I’m not a Cartoon

It was 4th period in the library, and I had just finished showing the school’s daily news video to the study hall students. A young man at a table nearby said something like, “Have you ever had one of those moments where you realize you’re a real person?” He might have said the word soul. I wish I could remember his exact wording; it was such a strange, random thing to hear a high school boy say. But the guy sitting next to him seemed to get it and said, “Yeah.” I just had to butt in with “Yes, I’ve had that too!” I told them that it was a great thing to have that realization.

Mine came when I was a little girl- on a Saturday morning as I was watching cartoons. I’ve thought about it often as the years have passed, and I know I will never forget. Here’s the poem I wrote about it:

Little girl watching a TV screen
On a blissful Saturday morning.
Just the same old same old, then
A sudden freezing,
A sinking of (her very) self
Toward an abyss of meaning
A looking over the edge to discover, to see:
I’m not a cartoon.
              What I do matters.
               I’m real! I’m me.
For this moment, Who is to blame?
She doesn’t know yet-
Only something lost, something gained.

What do we call it? Reaching the age of accountability. Becoming self-aware. Being an agent of free will. Having a metaphysical moment. Whatever it is, it represents one of the things that makes us human.

If you’ve had a moment like this, when and where did it happen? I’d love to know. Share in the comments!