There’s something surprising and cathartic about sifting through all my old papers, photos, diaries, and books.
At this point, I have much less attachment to them, so I view them through a lens of ‘do I need this?’ or ‘do I love this?’
As I’ve started a big cull, anticipating a move to a different house or a different place soon, the question seems more and more urgent.
I used to need to root, to anchor myself to the person I used to be. I refused to step out of one skin and into another. I carried those earlier incarnations of myself and those possessions from place to place, as though they held the power to hold me to the surface of the earth, to keep me from figuratively floating away.
Now, I realize that my essence is the soul that inhabits this ephemeral body, not those outer accoutrements.
Our bodies are just vehicles allowing our souls to incarnate here and learn whatever we have come to learn.
They are temporary weigh stations, at best. The body houses the spirit, but it cannot contain it. (Something that vast cannot ever be contained).
My girlhood is long past.
However, I still harbor that girl’s essential spirit. I fan out her photos on the table in front of me and she awakens. She peers out from her perch.
She lives in a well-hidden corner of this body, protected from the clang and clamor of adult life, but she’s there. And I am fierce in my need to keep her obscured, to nurture her chameleon-like ability to blend in, to soak up the surrounding decor and appear to be one thing when she is definitely another.
She’s wise, that little one.
She keeps me on the right path — on the honest, true, intuitive path.
She doesn’t let me stray into bullshit that doesn’t serve me.
And I keep her spirit safe because her spirit keeps me sane.
This part of me, this lost soul, struggled mightily in a world that hates women. She lingers on me, like the scent of blood oranges or Tea tree oil.
She always felt out of sorts and out of bounds.
Although she clearly saw every ruse, every grift affecting others, her ability to see her own life wasn’t so sharp.
She was loyal to a fault. She walked the plank for those she loved, only to watch them drop her into the sea as bloodied, shark bait, time after time after time.
She expected fairy tales, poor, bruised thing.
Instead, she got a brutal, taxing, almost unrequited love affair with words.
Words didn’t keep her warm at night, but they did what they could. They gave her a voice.
And often that was more than many of the women around her had, so she took their graceful blue notes and gave thanks.
This Face. This Face is Mine.
My hairline is silver now.
This summer I plan to shave all the color in my hair off, and do my best as a kick-ass, writer-version of Carol in The Walking Dead.
I will embrace my inner Furiosa.
Part of me longs to have more time to wear all my previous incarnations.
And part of me knows that’s not part of the gig.
I am raw and newly born.
I am travelling into unknown, unfamiliar territory.
What made me attractive as a young woman won’t serve me here.
In this place, you wear the face you deserve, the face you’ve earned.
It is a place of incandescence and transformation and pain.
It’s taken me a long time to realize that’s a good thing: a gift, an honor.
The searing pain of letting old skins go, lingers, burns.
But I am here. I am still here.
So, I am asking myself, ‘Do I love my life?’
‘Do I have what I need?’
And the answer is yes. Yes, a resounding yes, yes, yes.
So, the letting go is good. The letting go must be right.
© 2015 Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved
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