visceral. you told me something last night and my reaction was so visceral, so deep inside my organs and muscles and tissues that my core ached. i know how it feels to retreat into self-sabotage, those fifteen minutes of numbness to avoid every day’s truth. and i also know myself, and how every bit of my being wanted to protect you from pain, from the things that scare you. and then, simultaneously, guilty. for things that happened in my own past that caused me to lose track of myself. for not being there to make things easier, to give you comfort, to open your eyes in a new way.
as if i had any control over anything.
as if i could save anyone.
when i came to be, i was told that to be a caretaker was a very, very bad thing. and i had grown up as a caretaker to the men around me. so what did that make me? a very very bad person.
a fellow writer mentioned being ‘in need of repair’. at first i thought, yes, that’s me, broken.
like hell it is.
we are perfect just as we are.
we must allow the good to occur…no more chasing after it…chasing something means you don’t think you have it, in you…yet it is already within you…she helped me see that and i was overcome with relief.
i am learning that i am the beloved. that i need to be brave. see, and acknowledge, the good that others see in me.
and tonight i read words that helped me breathe further, like a soft hand on my shoulder during a time where i’ve felt exceptionally intense solitude.
“I felt that I was not very good at saying what needed to be said. Sometimes, words did not come out at all, only the tears did. Sometimes I felt like I wasn’t understood. I wondered if it were me…I was a battered rag doll that had been thrown out into the elements, exposed, naked, unfamiliar with feelings and emotions. Pain .. the body had no feeling, it was feeling.”
“Om Namah Shivayah .. I AM, earth, water, fire, air, spirit .. I AM the five elements, the four seasons .. I AM the Self – the fusion of all that is.”
“But now, I realized the old ways had come to an end…I learned not to focus on outcomes, not to bind myself with the memory of the past .. because in so doing I was only robbing myself of the present. I learned not to bind myself to dreams and desires, because in so doing, I was blinding myself from limitless possibilities…Now my life was at the crossroads. I was faced with choices. What was the next move ..? Were our lives again running a parallel? She had told me to be open…Could we let go totally of all of our past, our ego, our personality, our preconceived ideas and ideals?”
~ Christopher Wynter, Tasmania
and tonight, as usual, i gathered the ripened red tomatoes in the well of my blouse, i rolled my eyes at the multitude of serranos that seem to want to stay green forever, and i looked over and saw my dog lying on the grass, big doggy grin on her mug. and i called out to her in my too-loud voice that i get when i’m laughing, and i heard it….
the voice of my father in mine.
he can see me. he is the love around me.
and i thought of how thankful i am for the lessons and the experiences and even with the pain, the beautiful things that were passed along to me. despite everything, i have these pieces of me that i owe to the past.
for me, it has become the love of growing and preserving and cooking food. generations of women canning in the summers, hair up in kerchiefs, perspiration on brows, pulling the glass jars from the boiling water, hearing the pop and sighing with relief, leaning back and laughing about all you’ve just done to have spicy applesauce in january, juicy peaches in february, savory tomato sauce for your lasagna in march. making someone happy with a little jar of pear ginger preserves. seeing smiles when i make my blueberry ricotta pancakes from what i picked last summer.
she may not have ever really liked me, but she birthed me and i tried so very hard to make up for that painful moment by getting her to like me, to say she loved me, to hear from her ‘i am so proud of the woman you’ve become’. and one day you just know, it’s not something you can expend your energy upon anymore. she has someone who loves her and she doesn’t need me. she never did. i was that leftover from a life she never meant to have. and i was no replacement for the one she lost.
the past is just that. and my world, my present, my now, is just that. it’s here. they are forgiven.
and it is okay that i care so much, so deeply, so intensely, so unconditionally. what i learned is when i did it before, i traded me for them. no longer. now, i look inside you and i see me, reflected back. the people who touch my soul in ways that draws out the protector in me, the free spirit in me, the intellectual in me, the friend in me, the truth in me…? i am peaceful in that now. it’s okay to be in my own skin.
it is okay.
everything will be