Friday, February 3, 2012

A Year With Myself - Week 2

I do not want to write this post. All week I watched myself avoid and avoid and avoid, fight an (almost) irresistible urge to jump ahead, skip this question. It can't be that important.

Unless resistance is a giant neon sign pointing to the very thing I need most.

I don't even have answers for the first set of questions. I have not found my soul's compass. Calling anything more into my life than I already have makes me feel selfish and ungrateful (every birthday and shooting star since high school has passed with only a wish for world peace). I have a singular inability to envision my own future 5 years or even 5 days from now, something that fills me with anxiety about how I'm going to manage to arrive when I have no way of recognizing my destination. And I only see myself as a goddess in the way that I see all women as goddesses, although I'm probably one of the lesser goddesses history has mostly forgotten.

This is the point where I decided I wouldn't do the Week 2 assignment. I was frustrated and sad to be asked to produce the very things I was hoping to have help finding.

I should have learned from Week 1 that there would be more. It was this assignment from Chapter 2 of the Full Adventure Kit:

"Take an old childhood photo of yourself and study it for a few minutes. What do you see in your childhood face? What do you feel?"
I've kept a childhood photo of myself on my dresser for a few years, an attempt to remind myself to cherish the little girl I was. I found it under a pile of books, reminding me of nothing except all the reading I keep promising myself I'll do.

I am a few months past my 9th birthday, posing on the front lawn on what must have been a warm spring day. It is Easter weekend, and I remember getting that large rabbit in my basket. I carry a purse and a stuffed rabbit - caught between childhood and my own desire to be grown up.

I see so much joy in this girl. She believes she is beautiful and smart and worthy of every adventure she craves.

And all I feel is a deep and aching sorrow, an unspeakable grief.

In only a few years that joy will begin to be etched away by self-loathing.

I know, in my head, that I am supposed to embrace all the bad things that will happen, all the bad things that did happen. Everything - the good, the bad, the indifferent - everything in my life has led me to this point. And since I love my life now, to wish for any different past is to wish it all away. Yet still.

Still I cannot stop myself from wishing something else for her.

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