This has been a week of looking in mirrors, both physical and mental, and rubbing my fingers along the reflections imbedded in each and choosing to walk away.
Walk away from the little demons of my past that are still shrieking at me from the backside of the mirror that wants me to come back and pay homage to their shrieking voices.
Walk away from the little neuroses-children that are scattered on the floor like dominos, all on their sides, all collapsed by one action or another that I have taken and regretted or should have regretted or should have never regretted.
Walk away from the anxieties and fears that are spider-web stretch marks perforating the glass.
No, I’m not crazy, delusional, or unhappy. I am currently curled up in my recliner, one of my favorite places to sit, and thinking…reflecting on who I am and who I could be and who I want to be.
I am 42…will be 43 in three weeks and I’m still not certain about any of this. I thought, when I was in my 20’s, that I was supposed to know all of these answers by this point. Surely, a woman of 42 going on 43 is supposed to know all about herself and have all the answers to life and would be certain of all the fragments of her personality so well that she could sweep them into a dustpan and toss them into the garbage.
I know I am a teacher. A woman. A daughter. A mother. A wife. A sister. A sister-in-law. I own a mountain, a dog, a cat that I refuse to actually believe is mine but I feed her and let her sleep on my bed when it’s cold outside. I own a car. I’ve written a novel and plenty of poetry that I don’t share because I don’t know how to edit it. I have two degrees, two endorsements, a certification from the nation, and a lot of knowledge that may or may not really be accurate given how we go back and re-examine history and realize that maybe the textbooks are not always accurate since they are written by the winners.
I look at some of my colleagues and realize that they seem to be put together so much better than me. But, then, when I scratch past the patina of cosmetics and strength and I see that they are a lot of like me, unsure and wondering about the next step.
This comforts me and un-nerves me.
I hate being unsure and insecure and sensitive and fragile. I hate the fact that I want to be strong and can be incredibly strong and decisive but, in the end, I feel guilty that I stood up for myself and said the cataclysmic NO which may or may not cause people pain.
But this is who I am. In the end, as I wipe away the smudges my fingerprints have left on the mirrors, I can still see the good parts of who I am, the good elements that the inner demons and the neuroses and the anxieties have not been able to eliminate or obliterate.
And I embrace those parts of my personality as well.
Yes, I embrace all the broken and flawed parts of myself. I have an incredibly short temper which can be incredibly explosive. I do my best to swallow my cruelty and frustrations and pour them into words that people will never see because they are my inner angers that are nothing more than me caving into my malice. See, I’m not an angel. If I were, I would be a fallen angel who will not go into hell because I refuse to succumb to that level of evil.
It’s amazing the amount of regret that can be spawned by two fingers and a lot of desperation. It’s amazing the amount of sadness that is held within an inanimate twenty-pound rock. It’s amazing the amount of joy that can be inspired by dozens of fragmented rainbows that was a path from a broken home to my own home. It’s amazing the comfort that can be offered by a pair of woolen socks that were given to my by my husband so I could be warm when I was on our mountain or in our house or on our bed and I was cold because I am cold all the time..except right now.
One of my favorite novels that might have been left off of my favorite books list is Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn. At the end of the novel (don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil it for you), one character talks about regret. You see, one character causes another character to change, even when the second character didn’t want to change and the change would be devastating but also cause incredible good in a world sodden with malice. And the character who caused the change apologizes for the actions taken and the character who unwillingly changed acknowledged that the change was, indeed, needed and good but was layered in purple-bruises of regret.
I have made choices that have had results and consequences of which I love some and regret others. And this week has been when I have looked at the results of some of those choices and have chosen to release the regret because the regret was adding nothing to my life but was truly detracting from it.
I still feel the residual weight of the regret. It is there and, at times, almost palpable. But I also know that to truly divorce myself from my regret could mean that I would doom myself to repeating the same exact mistakes which I refuse to do.
They were damaging enough the first time.
As I come to the point where I am moving towards the full-circle of this post, I guess, in some way, I have found parts of my Peter-Pan-ellusive-shadow. I can see who I am. I do know who I am. I guess that by stripping away all those fine and ugly points that I despise, I can still see the ever shifting parts of me.
It’s spring. It’s time to awaken. It’s time to be re-born, yet again, and go through another year of life that will enable me to make more decisions, some of which will be wonderful and some of which will bring about another cycle of regret.
I think I’ll stop wiping my fingerprints off the mirrors. And maybe I’ll stand here for a little longer, looking at the reflection that is smiling a little.
“It is well….[it is well]….With my soul…[with my soul]. It is well…It is well….With my soul.”