I don’t often lose things. Keys, gloves, hats, mittens, I usually own them for life. I don’t know why that is. I tend to be pretty grounded and track on a minute by minute basis. It’s changed as I’ve gotten older. I have more spaciness. I attribute it to hormonal shifts in the brain and the body.
Last December, after I moved from an apartment I’d lived in for 14 years, I lost track of everything. I purged and got rid of things quickly, off to Goodwill and ARC and Salvation Army. Art studio items were boxed up and moved to storage. I didn’t know what I was living with and what I’d given away or stacked into the garage.
I still don’t know. I recently drove over near the lake to grab a few boxes out of storage. I ended up with about 10 piled inside the Camry, and now stacked by the piano in our living room. In two of them, I found the documents I needed. One bent box, with my scribbled handwriting of 10 years ago, contained a stack of old journals. I’m thinking I may toss them or burn them. I need to see what’s on the page.
Before I did writing practice, my journals were filled with intellectual analyzing and the day-to-day trivia of love and life. So what’s changed? A lot. I can’t stand to read the old stuff. But it does have details that I might use in my memoir. It’s just so boring. I guess this could be considered boring, too. But usually by the end of a practice, I’ve gotten down to some little tidbit that I didn’t know about myself before.
Losing face. The mask. I’ve felt a lot of shame over the course of living. It’s been a long haul to turn it around into confidence. To let go. To know that the choices I make and the things I do are not me. They are choices I make and things I do. Many women feel some form of shame. I know because I hear them talk about it or act from that place in their heart. I recognize it. If you know what to look for, no one can hide.
I often wished to be lost. To never have to grow up. The better I feel about day-to-day living, the more fond I am of the notion of adult. It’s not necessarily easy to think the way artists and writers think. To pull the grub into the heart and spit it back out in words or images that ping the feeling in others. You’ve got to be willing to take in all the crap life has to dish out.
I’ve lost my way a few times. Felt completely ungrounded. Like when I was 21 and moved to Montana. One day I was in Pennsylvania. The next I was flying into Missoula. The only ground I could find were the mountains that captured me the minute I stepped off the plane, held me, and never let go. I still dream about them sometimes, especially the Bitterroots where I spent time stripping logs and digging foundations for the cabins my friends were building.
When I see photographs of myself at that time, I have this lost look in my eyes. I don’t recognize the 20-year-old body. What happened to that? I’m staring at the camera, eyes clear and hazel blue. But where are they going?
Here. They were going here. To the place I’ve landed. The last 10 years have been more about letting go and letting in a bigger life. I didn’t think I deserved a bigger life. What do I think now? There are givers and takers. And they live side by side. I’ve given away too much. But no regrets.
The wind’s whipping through the naked oaks outside the window. I’m waiting for the contractor to come power wash the deck in preparation for sanding, shoring up, and painting. There is a wobble in the pine rails and floorboards. But the foundation is solid. The peeling paint is tinted from the green of arsenic. The contractor said that’s what they used to use to preserve building wood. He said arsenic is not used anymore. But the chemical they’ve come up with to replace it is no better.
That’s the way I feel this morning. Wobbly and solid. Not lost. Not found. I’m here on the couch beside Pants who is curled up in a pile of lime green and hot pink tissue paper. It was wrapped around the Halloween bouquet a few days ago. He quietly cleans himself. The paper crinkles under his ear. It seems to comfort him. Cats never seem lost. They know to follow their instincts. I’m learning to listen.
-from Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – WHAT HAVE YOU LOST