Where do you go to find yourself again? I was in deep conversation today, and I mentioned my time in England... so long ago now.
When I was there, I was free to recreate myself. I was far, far from home, and few of my close friends from my home college were there with me on the year abroad program. I made new friends, and strengthened tiny friendships from before. I bicycled all over Oxford at all hours. I went to London with groups and alone. I dated delightful people, sang in choirs, performed in a play. I ate cookies and drank tea, and spent my holidays traveling. I joined clubs and societies, saw movies, drank in pubs, and partook of ancient festivals. I visited the White Horse, and Wayland's smithy, and circles of stones. I read in libraries built before my ancestors crossed the ocean. I cooked feasts for special occasions, and sometimes subsisted on toast, marmite, cocoa, and oranges.
I was young and free and alive.
I've lost that young woman. I catch glimpses of her now and then, but she seems so far away, so shrunken by distance that I could tuck her in a pocket. Or a locket. Or a nutshell.
Where do you go, when you've lost who you were?
Even reading back into the early posts on this blog, like this one, I can see her, dimly, behind the words. But she's been drifting farther and farther away over the past few years.
And now, I am looking for her. Looking for her trail of breadcrumbs, my finger reaching out for the invisible silken thread that will lead me, I am stumbling into the forest again.
I call the voices of anxiety in my head "brainweasels," thanks to my friend Betsy. The brainweasel is a wily creature. Soft, agile, sinuous, it can creep into the tiniest corners of the mind. The brainweasels want me to be safe, but not really -- just safe from censure, safe from judgement. Their teeth are made of shame, hard as diamonds, and their lust for my attention is boundless. A fox in the hen house usually means the loss of a hen, perhaps 2, and some feathers left scattered. A weasel will take out a whole coop, for the sake of a few bites. Destruction for its own sake. The brainweasels do that, too.
I'm working on training the brainweasels to give up control of my life, but they are so convincing. They are sure they are doing a bang-up job of it. But I want that joyful, vivid young woman back, so the weasels aren't aloud to drive anymore. They drive like 115 year old ladies, anyway, and then slay anyone who cuts them off. Best to take their keys away, hmm?
Where do you go to find yourself again? Perhaps it's not a question of where, but of how, or of when?
I don't have answers yet. Just more questions. But I'll try to share them with you, if I find them. In the meantime, I'll be here, on the overgrown path into the woods.
Hi. That's me. I write, sometimes, about parenting, storytelling, and about living a life with stories.