Asking myself the hardest question
I have unconsciously navigated myself into an unfamiliar frame of mind. It’s a very good thing that I’m out of my comfort zone because maybe, for the first time, I can break the primal pattern that went wrong in infancy.
And yet. . . breaking primal patterns never goes smoothly. I don’t mind fits and starts, since many of my creative processes are inherently iterative, but. . . I’m scared of where this might go.
I’m scared of where I am already.
When situations become terribly uncomfortable, in the back of my mind I know I have a nuclear option available. I tell myself it’s unthinkable, but obviously it isn’t.
I tell myself I don’t want to do it. I tell myself it’s a last resort. Only if I’m pushed to the wall.
But . . . I’ve now realized, stepping off this cliff feels oddly safe. In a bad way.
What if the scariest option imaginable is not fleeing the scene of recent disasters? Not burning the place to the ground, while running ahead of the flames?
What if . . . standing my ground, and truly and deeply being a bricoleur [using materials that are easily at hand] . . . is one challenge I have always dodged?
After all, if I’m still crossing a bridge I myself have torched (but no one else knows the identity of the arsonist), no one can blame me for doing whatever I must to survive.
Complicating my thinking process today, sometimes in the past, I really did need to leave, to save myself.
But today, right now, I feel/think my greatest challenge may be to hold firm. While yet continuing to evolve. To stake my claim, as, essentially, a person who is complete, is whole, is worthy. And therefore — for the first time — I don’t need to run away from my self/selves.
I don’t need to torch my own life because it’s me living it, so obviously it’s horribly flawed. Obviously I am inherently unlikable.
After all, I’ve written about my vulnerabilities enough that my neighbors know who I really am. That’s dangerous. That’s (potentially) fatal.
But maybe not this time.
Maybe I don’t need to evolve away from all those personas inside.
Maybe being a girl is allowed. Maybe being a boy is allowed. Maybe being no gender is allowed.
Maybe being 6 years old, and a baby, and 10 years old, and 21, and 47, and everywhere in between is allowed.
Maybe being someone who wanted to be so many things that I couldn’t figure out how to make happen . . . doesn’t mean that I’m a failure, a monster, an alien being.
Maybe the pernicious idea of “having potential” that I’m somehow not using correctly . . . is part of how I’ve been terrorizing myself.
- Who am I to write about Chesapeake Bay?
- Who am I to translate poetry?
- Who am I to write poetry?
- Who am I to write essays about anything at all?
- Who am I to think anything useful can be gleaned from my life?
- Who am I to try to be happy?
- Who am I to dream big dreams, even still, after failing at so many earlier dreams?
Who am I?
I don’t know.
Maybe all my previous lives had to dissolve, as they have, so that I would be forced to confront that fundamental question, without the shield of thinking I know the answer.
Who am I?