Where to begin?
I had one of those rare brain-flipping-over-in-the-brainpan experiences earlier this week, when a dear friend offered me a rare and stunning perspective on my current existential dilemma(s). Because I have not fully absorbed it yet, I am hesitant to say more, except, perhaps, this:
1. At 52 years of age, I have not yet taken–or made–my place in the world. (Being married and having a reasonably satisfying career are only fractions of that equation.)
2. A result of #1 is that I have been living around the edges of my true self (I know that sounds hokey, but it is what it is, man), not admitting to myself that the essential me has a much bigger voice and a lot more to say than this shadow-puppet I have devolved into over the last several decades.
3. A big part of the essential me was once “out there,” and although she was long ago relegated to a minor role (sweeping the floors backstage), she hasn’t disappeared altogether. She was a brash, bold, occasionally fearless 16-year-old who dared to flout the conventions and expectations of family and society (her tribe at school was disdainfully annointed “the Radicals” by their straight-arrow classmates). And she may have been silent for a long time, but maybe that’s because she’s been waiting . . .
She’s the one who on senior “ditch day” in high school took off with a few other friends to the lake and sunbathed topless in full view of other visitors who were aghast at their shamelessness. She’s the one who started a strawberry mud fight in the back yard of her first boyfriend’s family’s swanky home, earning his parents’ enduring disgust and loathing. She’s the one who dropped acid for the first time with her two best friends on a school night, and showed up at school early the next morning, still tripping out and not giving a damn who knew. She’s the one who wrote notebooks and notebooks full of raw, angst-ridden poetry, who took huge emotional risks by telling people how she really felt about everything and everyone. She was a wild and defiant child who fantasized about growing up to write for Rolling Stone and/or front a rock band, and/or be an artist, and/or run for political office . . .
That’s who she was.
And now I’ve got to get her back.