I have these words in my head … so many words. These words in my head tell a story, but the story just doesn’t want to come out. I’m staring at these words, these black and white words on a page, and they are staring at me, as though THEY are the enemy, and I am the enemy, when, in fact, they are truth. These words, these same words on the page, belie both their hurt, and my acceptance thereof. My willingness to see the meaning behind the words. It’s an infinite loop – both sides tell the meaning, the truth. Each side is unwilling to see the meaning behind the words, behind the meaning.
This is the Gordian Knot – both sides have validation. However, this is my truth. My past. Something I haven’t wanted to face for a long time. Because those words tell a story, my story. And I hate the fact that my words (my story) opens the door to some ugly truths about the human psyche. About MY psyche. About YOUR psyche.
It’s Memorial Day Weekend, a time which we should spend honoring those who have come before us, and have gone – some before their time, some after it. But each one deserving of a short moment taken out of our day, to give them a nod: A nod of thanks, a nod of remembrance, a nod of honor, a nod of love, whether or not we agree with the politics that took them. It’s a time to reflect upon the past, both general and personal, a time to invite the past to sit down and have “a cuppa”, and to speak.
This should be a weekend of reflection, of intro (and outro) spection. A time and place to honor those that came before us, who allowed “us” to be. A weekend where we should allow ourselves to look at our past, at the steps that we’ve taken that brought us to this place we call “the present”. Because – past, present, and future – they are all inextricably intertwined. Our past leads us to our present, our present leads us to our future … Sometimes holding onto our pasts will make for a very uncomfortable present, which will lead to a wonky future.
Maybe over “a cuppa”, when we meet face to face with our lives up till now, we can exorcize the demons of our pasts, and allow us an open road to the future, the present. Embrace that past, both bad and good, and enmesh it with our present selves, to clear the path for our future selves.
Some people have told me I have a remarkable mind, and I don’t quite know how to react. To quote Tim Minchin, “This is my brain, and I live in it … it’s where I spend the vast majority of my time” – to me, my thoughts (logical and circular, true or false, healthy or self-perpetuating) are just those – MY thoughts. There’s nothing remarkable about them. They just … are. At least, that’s how it seems to me.
I spent most of my life (at least until a few years ago) trying to forge my own self, my own identity – something, and someone, separate from my mother, whom I never really knew.
I never felt remarkable – I was always trying to live up to some other persons’ ideal version of me, some mold they were trying to fit me into. A mold that didn’t quite fit right in the shoulders, and tugged a bit at the thighs. It was a close enough fit, but the lines didn’t fall right. And I admit it – I tried to shape myself into those odd fitting clothes for a while. Tried to tell myself that the fashion they were touting for me was the fashion I wanted.
Reverberations of, “What would your mother say?! What would your mother think?!” still haunt me. And you know what? From all I’ve learned, from all I’ve gleaned, my mother would say, “Good for her! She’s becoming her OWN PERSON!” And even though I really didn’t know her, I want to take a moment and give her a nod of thanks. Her nudist and anarchistic tendencies, they have been passed down to me. Flesh of her flesh, blood of her blood. “They” didn’t get it, but we (she and I) do.
My friends only know me as “me”, as ____, and they love me for that. And for that fact? I am truly grateful. They weren’t there (excepting a rare few) when my Mom’s family was trying to fit me into the Katie-mold. Instead of letting me make my own ___-mold.
Because of that, I judge myself harshly. I try (tried) to be the person in the corner- the quiet one who doesn’t make waves or draw attention to herself. When I tried to enact my own way of being, I was shut down. When I showed a spark of creative thinking, of going outside of the status quo, I was met with the argument of, “That’s not how your Mom was”.
Well, the stories that I’ve heard, of Mom, have told me that THAT was who she was. Always the individual. Yet, when I tried to forge my own individualism, it was shot down. Put in the parentheses of, “That’s not how your Mom was”, when in actuality, it WAS how she was. As an adult, when I met with her friends, and they told me, “Wow, you are very much like your mom”, and I took that as a “good on ya”, instead of seeing them trying to fit me into her mold. I took it for what it was – a compliment.
I wish I had the strength of character, then, to say, “Stop! Stop trying to turn me into your dead daughter! I am her, I am my father … I am ME!”
This staid person you see? She’s just a façade, a straw (wo)man. Straw burns easily, and I DO love me some fire. Now, finally, am I able to embrace “Anni”, and not “Anni, trying on Katie for size”.
Now … who has some marshmallows? They always go well over a fire.
It’s all about baby steps. This red hair, these freckles? It’s not just my mothers. It’s also mine.
There was always some sort of benchmark to live up to, and now that those benchmarks (well, the people who held them for me) are gone, I’m feeling a bit … moor-less. It’s forcing me to find my own identity, separate from the confines that were ascribed to me. I’ve been given a blank slate, and I have a pen in my hand, but the paper is still blank. At least to my eyes. Others, looking at the “paper of me”, see varying things – a scribble here, a dash of color there, a whiff of Amber (if the wind is just right). And I guess I see those hints as well, but they haven’t formed a coherent picture yet, not in my mind.
In my mind I’m still a frightened little girl, hiding in the bedroom linen closet with a flashlight and the newest installment of the “Create Your Own Adventure” book. (True story – linen closet. Flashlight. Book.)
I am me. Hear me roar. *squeak*
What spurred this emotional vomit? Tim Minchin: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDGuPp1np4o)