Flashback



“Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So, what are we, helpless? Puppets? Nah. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that count. That's when you find out who you are.” ~Joss Whedon, American Screenwriter

I saw her as I was crossing the crowded parking lot here at the lodge where I am employed. She came out of the woods from the hiking trail … maybe nine years old, dirty jeans, old t-shirt, worn tennis shoes … a total fashion disaster. She was incredibly skinny with long, wild, tangled blonde hair and a look of total determination reflected in her stare. I stopped. I watched as she ran to a vehicle where she retrieved a lightweight jacket before returning to the source of the hiking path and vanishing into the grove of trees. I could not assess the color of this child’s eyes due to the distance between us, but I could have been looking at a clone of my childhood self … right down to the jumble of freckles across the turned up bridge of her nose and spread sporadically across her cheekbones.

I can not recall how long I stood there – long after her silhouette faded among the tree trunks – lost in contemplation – before finally closing the distance between where I stood and my truck and driving the thought filled fifteen miles to my apartment. Where had she gone – not the replica of myself I saw disappear into the trees today, but the one who is somewhere deep inside me … buried under years of anger, resentment and psychological abuse … lost and begging to be found? I have been thinking about her a lot lately so it seemed as though fate was toying with me by forcing me to come face to face (though brief) with a physical incarnation of the tough, determined tomboy I used to be. That tough schoolgirl grew into who was once a pretty amazing young woman. Where are the traits that carried forth from one to the other? Where are they hiding and how can I tap into them in order to rediscover the woman I know I can be?

"It's never too late to become what you might have been." ~Away from Her, Film (2006)

In addition to seeing this present day version of myself – I have stumbled across a number of different writings and musings this week that echo my sentiments exactly and also prove that I am not alone. There is Reflections by UL … a wonderfully written poem with an apt title. There is also this musing from KK about the mirror’s reflection and how it has changed. Both items are a worthy read.

“To look at a thing is quite different from seeing a thing and one does not see anything until one sees its beauty.” ~An Ideal Husband, Film (1999)

Personally, I think the universe is telling me that it is time for my inner tomboy and the hurting woman I am (courtesy of the last 10+ years) to finally collide … creating a stronger, more confident being … someone in whom I can take pride and enjoy living with again. I know it will not happen overnight, but it will happen. I also have a sneaking suspicion that I must go home … to Kenya … before my transformation can be complete. I am on a journey – an adventure of rediscovery – and the mental journey, the physical journey and the spiritual journey must all walk hand-in-hand together. I am looking forward to finding out who I am … and rediscovering the reflection in the mirror.

“I don't know if I continue even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, 'well, if I'd known better I'd have done better,' that's all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, 'I'm sorry,' and then you say to yourself, 'I'm sorry.' If we all hold on to the mistake, we can't see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can't see what we're capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one's own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that's rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don't have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.” ~Maya Angelou, American Poet

8 comments:

  1. It's never too late to become what you might have been.... Hmmmmmm.


    How about:

    It' never too late to simply...become.

    Ceallach

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  2. The typo is due to a distraction...please forgive. ;)

    Ceallach

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  3. Self awareness is half the battle already fought.

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  4. Well, in spite of all, you are a fine writer, and a sensitive human being! Take that to the Bank!

    I was just telling Vincent about my art practise, it is like life, including the mistakes and the horrors, those are necessary, as are horrible and wretched paintings in ones production of art, those are periods of learning and growth, and lessons and understandings gained unconsciously will surface in surprising ways in future works. I have learned life is like that, forgiveness absolutely necessary in order to take advantage of the value inherent in the experiences, forgiveness of yourself as much as forgiveness of another.

    In the second sentence, I recognized you in the young girl. I recognize the experience, it is a marvelous thing to feel, sense, and enjoy being in, it is quite important. It can become commonplace, but never ordinary, always a wonder of wonders, to experience yourself that way. Thank God you are sensitive enough to stop, and to be patient enough to feel it and know it.

    And you make me want to do some new self-portraits. Maybe.

    Wonderful writing. Loved the Poet quote by Maya, and the husband quote, that is something I tell my art students, some pick up on the difference between seeing and looking, others can't do it quickly. Looking is good.

    Thanks Beth.

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  5. Thank you Jim - as always. Art students? You teach?

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  6. Beth, up until recently, I had art students in my studios, private and free for those talented who couldn't afford the supplies and classes, I provided everything including 2 meals a day 3 days a week. I taught more than art, whatever they wanted to know, we got into to, had plenty of time and they always had plenty of interests that weren't accessible at home or normal school, philosophy, psychology, religion, spirituality, real world situations and morals and ethics. I had a grand old time with them and miss them all very much now. Some changes may be around the corner and I may be able to set up such a thing again, I will wait and see, I love children and their curiosities and talents, there is no greater resource, it is a shame the world is so wasteful with them.

    Thanks for the question, and interest, I hope I didn't talk you ear into numbness, lol. Thanks again.

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  7. jim - You fascinate me. What a grand legacy!

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  8. Thanks Beth, but it is not so grand, the limits caused by normal schooling and parental needs limited me and my time with the kids. Then too, I had to work for myself to make a living, so even less time.

    However, most of these kids became very close and they and their parents today are some of the closest and dearest friends I have.

    Mutual Appreciation all round and for this I will always be grateful,

    Working with these kids, and their parents, is the most worthwhile aspect of my life.

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"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman

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