I’m not sure if you ever figure yourself out, at least for me, it’s an ever-changing landscape in here where no one else but me, knows me. Sometimes I am confused by the emotional aspect of life. Sometimes I can see things through logical and analytical thought, there are gray areas…no, not fifty shades…but there are some which always steer me away from the obvious into my own man made oblivion. Then there’s the black and white, my problem is that I always want to add color. Bland is not for me..mediocre is a waste of time, and when I’m spot on, there’s an extreme joy in my being.
I began my journey into this world being born on a couch in a small apartment in West Germany. I was raised by a strict mother who instilled in me a continence of self-reliance, strength, perseverance, faith, love, honesty, understanding, she is a powerhouse of a woman! I thank her for her steadfast approach to me becoming a woman. It never waned, and still hasn’t, although I’m pretty sure she is satisfied with me in her own right.
There are funny stories she tells about me, her eldest daughter. A few stand out. There was the time that we lived in Massachusetts in a small hamlet in the Berkshires. Down the street there was a Catholic church that my grandfather attended, as did his children, when he and they were young. It was where God was. I was two or three, I can’t remember, but one winter morning I climbed up on a kitchen chair, naked, with my little coat on upside down and I unlocked the three locks my parents had installed to keep me in…I was pretty full of it when I was little. Anyway, I got them unlocked and the door open and went on my journey. I walked my little self down to the church and sat on the steps. A while later, a nun came from the rectory across the street and found me sitting there, lips blue, shivering. She asked me what I was doing there and I told her, ‘ I came to see God’, her reply to me was, ‘Any longer here and you will see God!’ She picked me up and carried me to my house. She woke my parents and explained what had happened. We laugh at that now. Then there was the time, I was four and my sister was three, I decided I was going to take her for a walk. I unlocked the fence gate, walked out in the middle of the road, hand up ( I’d seen police officer’s stop traffic) I was holding traffic so my sister could cross the street…and jack knifed a trailer truck…oops. Then there was making breakfast at my grandmother’s for everyone at five years old, before they got up, on the stove, eggs, fire…I got in trouble, so..I decided to feed my dog, three pounds of hot dogs..my mother tells me that she looked like she would explode, I laugh a lot at stories she tells. I love her tales. Her stories of war, of escaping Nazi Germany, an eighteen year old girl, my birthplace, my relatives, life, her life, and her life with her own family. I love the funny and the serious…she will live on in me long after she is gone.
My biological father, now that’s a whole other story, I really have no good words for or about him. I guess I’m blessed to have had a mother who was strong and resilient and upright and smart and educated. I don’t believe I would have made it through my teens and early twenties without the rock she became for me. I’m sure I chipped away at her nerves and I know I disappointed her to many times, but she stood by me and lifted me up and even as an adult, has laid my head in her lap and stroked my hair and made sure I knew she was there for me. I lived because of her.
My step dad, he is a father to me, biologically not, but heart and soul. He was my saving grace when I was more than confused about what a dad was. I was 26 years old when I met him. He was a musician, an oil technician, and always had time for me. We would walk and talk and he shared with me so many stories. He was shy about love too. I have a deep affection for the way he came around. He helped me see that there will always be someone who loves me for me, and he will always be my daddy. I guess no matter how old I grow, the memories I have of and with him will always bring me back to being able to be a daughter loved unconditionally by her dad. I didn’t fear him, or doubt him, or want to disappear in front of him…it’s sad that I can’t say the same about my real father.
I find it hard to let him, my biological father, even cross my mind after the hell he created within our family. I used to cry, wonder why, and then I had an epiphany, move forward and let the past stay where it belongs. I’ll never attempt to see him again, nor do I ever want to…he can wallow in his own evils. I have a beautiful life to live.
Well, here I am, fifty-five years old. Do I know myself? I suppose to me, life is like an open pasture, things grow, things die, you cross paths, come to the end of roads, find new ways to journey through it and along the way, you laugh, you cry, you contemplate, you act, you become the consequence of the bridges you build and burn. For me, there’s no set of rules, I challenge myself in some way every day. I wake up and the day unfolds and collectively, they are productive in some way. I cherish every moment, good, bad or indifferent, and sometimes when I can find a stillness in me, there is a reminder that everything changes, sometimes with no rhyme or reason. Sometimes it changes even when you fight it, sometimes it is so much the same that it can trigger your flight response. Sometimes you have to be on your knees and sometimes you think that it can’t ever get any better; but each day is not written out on a page, there are no directions and we triumph and fail just as the next person.
I suppose I will never truly know myself, or maybe I’m still putting it all together, but inside of me there is a sort of fog and glimpses of purity and perfection, of black holes, of missing pieces, of innocence, of lost innocence, and every day there is something added and something taken away. My landscape changes with each valley and with each mountain that I scale in my spirit. I search for peace at times and find it at other times, it is like looking through a kaleidoscope and finding all the colors in the black and white, and in every gray area…my world is a rainbow of so many shades, a prism that light and dark change at whim, so I think I’ll just lay here and stare at the clouds and see what I can see in them…I think I just saw God… Don’t you just love the view..I do.