Looking in, I see the storm brewing, rising up. There is a need that will no longer be ignored. Getting the words out. Telling the story, examining the story, understanding the story. My story. How I came to be. For me.
It’s not a pretty story, but it is a true one. True in that way that I believe it to be, though others may have a different opinion. There is pain and heartbreak. There are hospital visits and abandonment. There are moments of hope and peace. There is redemption and survival and living, deep, breath-taking living.
There is a long period of self-destruction and while that phase may make others sad or uncomfortable, it was necessary. The breaking down had to occur for the re-construction to take place. It had to be that dark so I could notice the light.
And eventually the light was noticed and the reconstruction began. It would be nice to say that it was all flowers and sausages from that moment forward, but this is reality, life, my life, we are talking about. There have been rocky bits and scarey bits and rainbows and laughter and windstorms and thunderbolts. There has been pleasure and joy and beauty and perfect imperfection. It has been a whirlwind some days, weeks and months, and other times more of a quiet, gentle breeze, and other times still the air has felt so stagnant I couldn’t breathe at all.
This is the ebb and flow of life, my life specifically and I’m quite certain your life, and your life, and their life too. We have periods of destruction (hopefully) followed (hopefully) by reconstruction. And we are never quite the same after each breaking down; each new iteration of us something more than we were before. We become people with more jagged edges and softer, gooey-er centers. We become harder and softer, depending on where we are, who we are and how we view the world.
We each have our own lens that developed in those early years of life. Many of us were given our lens by our parents, grandparents, teachers and other important adults in our lives. They tried their best, I need to think, and each had his or her own lens they viewed the world through. And their lenses influenced our lens and at some point we aren’t sure where they stop and we begin.
And there is a time of seeking and searching and sorting out what is theirs and what is ours. What is mine and what is hers and what is his, where in the blurred edges do they actually stop and I actually begin?
Maybe there is no real separation. Even as I shed their stories and sort out what is truly me, I know that they are still a part of that. They still influenced all the decisions before, either in my conscious or my unconscious heart and mind. For me, the point isn’t to extract them fully from my being, but rather about being aware of them and understanding when it is more them and less me. Knowing when the fear that creeps up is the generations old story and not from my personal experience. Knowing when to soak in the wisdom and when to gently yet forcibly push out the myth that no longer serves me, or them.
Because they do live in me, the women and men before, those who make up my DNA. The ones who gave me their eyes and hips and lips and voice. The ones who passed along this love of words and writing and the ones who didn’t pass on an innate talent for drawing or painting. They and their experiences are as much a part of me as my own experiences are. And this sorting out and deciding what to keep and what to let go is like an endless cleaning of the attic, constantly finding both treasures and trash.
So now, in these moments of my 44th year of life, I feel I am in the quiet of the storm. I see the chaos that surrounded me, that created me yet I feel at peace and calmed by it. I am now in that place of being able to reject what no longer serves me and to allow myself to step more fulling into who I want to be. Their limitations are not mine and I do not need them to keep me safe. I now call on their strength and bravery to step into this next iteration, this new way of being me, being proud of me and who I am, and who I am becoming and unbecoming.