It's been so long I'm sure I've fallen off many reading lists, but this is not entirely by chance....you see, I've begun to lose myself. The coherence of my voice has faded, my selfhood feels unraveled, my identity threadbare and fraying about the edges.
The delusion of youth is that life is a quest that leads to some grand epiphany of self-discovery. A moment of clarity, long sought after when the "aha" of recognition floods the senses. Limbs tingle, tiny hairs stand on end, and a river of peace surrounds your soul. "This is who I am."
And then life fucks with you.
You see, there is no constant. The you looking back from the mirror when you're 22 is such a different creature than the you holding the 8lb wonder of breath in your arms a decade and a half later. You, the heart and soul, the collection of scars and stars that sails the ocean of experiences, weathering the storms, beaching for a moonlit bonfire to dance and sing--and then off again only too find oneself on the edge of the Bermuda Triangle. This you is a thing of reaction and response and flux. The dancing construct of you no longer applies when the hurricane hits. After divorce. After terror and loss. The waves of the world change you. Whittle and shape and mold you....the joys that paint the universe with sunlight. The agony that dims the shadows beyond black.
Defining ourselves, learning ourselves....distilling? We all know a guy who claims to be an athlete but hasn't touched a ball since college. The musician who doesn't even own a guitar. Is there an expiration date to delineation? A margin of error for a resume? If paint is required to be a painter...
I'm a social worker now. I spend my days helping disadvantaged, sometimes damaged souls learn to live independently in an often hostile world. This is good. This is right and what is needed and I'm rather good at it......
...and I am missing me.
Shit, so selfish that sounds. I drive between clients, the virgin rain of spring dragging lazy fingers across the windshield, my mind a tumult of canvas and pigment and brush strokes that will never occur. I haven't touched a paintbrush in months. My studio is cold and dark and my days are filled with the frantic exhaustion of forty hours of caregiving, on top of three teenage boys and a husband who needs understanding and love now more than ever. I'm wiping tears as I type this, smearing them away with the back of my hand as I take deep breaths and pray the boys wont come upstairs until I can spill this out and pull myself back together again.
Rather ironic that just when my website was finished, the number of completed works froze; an unmeltable block in the midst of season's change. You can see my work here and should you be interested in one, call me quick as they may be the last. How morbid I sound. I know there is no absolute, the future is unwritten--dear Lord, I know that better than most, but I cannot seem to find the strength to balance these me's. I fear one is replacing the other.