The Eternal Question
To the question
‘Who are you?’
I might say,
‘I am me.’
But what does this mean?
My body is a portal,
My mind is a rabbit hole full of things.
Seeds of Kindness
Of course we all know that hindsight is 20/20 – and what a year for reflection it is! – but boy if I only understood how great I had it as a kid. I’m not sure it’d have made a difference at the time, I think that despite my obsessions over the pieces missing, I have always been generally grateful for all the pieces that were present. In as early as first grade journals I frequently share love and gratitude for my friends. It’s actually a major constant. Which is what triggered this sadness in me today; a pang that I would love to turn to passion, into a mission to help plant a brighter, kinder future. I am so, so lucky for all the kind souls that adorned my childhood. Great example after great example, I know kindness exists because my childhood is painted with it. From kind teachers to patient, fellow sailors that allowed a bored and overly curious child hang around and pick their brains for hours at a time. How gracious they were to make me feel special and welcome and wanted. It makes sense now, that it has always been noted to me as a major turning point in my self-image when I first was made to feel unwanted or unworthy. It also makes sense that since then, when I was knocked off my happy perch of naïveté, that the alternative realities of societal norms continued to delude me into haziness and uncertainty. I began to second-guess everything that came naturally to me. I was already a very courteous child, considering others before myself as much as I can tell; turning down offers for things that I thought the person offering probably rather wanted to keep. I became more concerned with my place in any situation, developing a strong desire to be helpful and to especially avoid being bothersome, which eventually lulled me into lazy habits of people-pleasing which have become second nature. What a wild ride all this is – to be myself one moment and the next thing I know, I’ve spent the last 24 years trying to understand who I’ve become and how I even got here. Who helped mold me into this and what did they ultimately have to do with anything? Is it possible to ever be again who I once was? Is that something I even want as I think I want it? Is it really just a corner reflection of what I dreamt it to be? What is reality and where does it live? I believe it is only ever in the now; in the present moment. In order to be future it has yet to arrive, and to be past it must already be gone, so this immediate pin-point of an instant is all there ever really is within our reach. All else is quite possibly and very simply madness.
I always loved spending time with my friends. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always sought the sense of belonging, being part of. Gatherings, kindness, 🌻activity, gentleness. I always hold interest in being part of something. The irony is that along the way somewhere, I stopped knowing how to be a part of the situations I was in. I would somehow find myself more and more lacking in presence and awareness. Instead of embracing the moment in its fullness, I was judging one thing or another, something about things not being quite “it”. What’s “it”? You know, that elusive missing piece to really take something up that one extra notch. It became a bothersome search from moment to moment. A more modern term might refer to the “hype”. I’m coming to see that hype as the black hole of a wanting mind.
I am a bit cross-eyed at the moment, contemplating my polarity (one of my many) of longing to be part of, while always seeming to feel out of place or uneasy when being a part of. It creates this supremely frustrating tug and pull inside myself that baffles me to no end. How can I want to be part of something, yet insist on finding all sorts of things to dislike when I do get to be part of something? It’s not that I don’t try to be less finicky. I do. I just don’t know always how to halt it when it starts. It often feels quite in-your-face and obvious, 👀shared between me and whomever else is in the experience. Then sometimes I find out they “weren’t anxious at all” even though I was feeling all kind of tension which didn’t feel entirely from myself. Where do these energies come from?! So often it feels outside myself, yet thoroughly running through me, so which is it? How do I navigate that? How do I recognize each and others? I’ve always had so many questions that no one seems able to answer. I don’t know what it is, to not ask questions.
This transition from being in the moment to being in my thoughts has had detrimental impacts on my social life. I have pulled further and further from others, limiting myself more and more due to hapless judgments and oppositions to the things that I deem uncomfortable or stressful, where I’m likely to feel out of place or embarrass myself — all based on harsh assumptions and judgement of myself and others. It’s all been such a sorry way to spend my time, especially knowing what the alternative can be like. It hurts now to look back at the people who embraced me fully – and all the ways I shut them out only to run toward people who made me feel less-than. Such a wayward path we follow when we know not where we’re going. What a beautiful tragedy that the lot of us are all wandering around our own glass labyrinths, seeking the light which we shut off inside ourselves, wondering why no one can find us, ourselves included. We seek to belong, but we keep our doors locked and guarded. I constantly fight my own reactions to that which I am unfamiliar. Looking back at my nine-year-old world, I contemplate what creates that environment. Were all these adults as content as they appeared to be to me? Were some of them just really great at hiding it? Was it as much to do with my rose-colored glasses and fresh, new view of the world? Was it my generation? A generation that was still reaching toward those “cheesy” ethical and moral messages through the likes of Mr. Rogers and Bob Ross. How grateful I am to have been born on one of the many cusps of technology; reaping its benefits while also being able to appreciate all the patience that came with life before the internet, cellphones and wifi. I cherish so many little pieces in my life, from the toys I had to the homes I’ve lived. There’s a special, echoing love that comes from certain years and items. Things that will never be again. Things that are so far different from this age that they seem almost in another realm. Things that I can remember as if I was there in this moment. I can feel the textures of the toys, the couch, the carpet. I can see the colors and hear some of the sounds. Ironically most of these moments are in solitude. I don’t necessarily remember nights with the family or a lot of dinners or doing anything really with the siblings after dinner or on the weekends. I know the moments are there, but for whatever reason, they didn’t stick in my memories the same.
I can’t help but laugh reading that last note of solitude to the first and remind myself that I’ve always been a bit outside the pack. Sometimes I’m more ok with it than others. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s confusing. And so the cycle goes.
I find pure contented happiness mixed with heart aches when I am in the midst of lazy, sunny day moments. These timeless moments that never seem to require context. The moments which have been recurring for eons beyond comprehension. They are transforming, insightful, treasure-filled moments that elude all falsities and put me square in the heart of what “is”. They make my heart do flips. They echo in my thoughts, like mirrors looking in on themselves.