I remember in my twenties feeling there were two me’s. The true me and the false me. I can’t describe now the difference except to say when I was in the “true” mode I felt as though nothing else were with me. No material concerns, no jealousy, no desire. Just me.
I don’t have that feeling now, twenty-some years later, of being two people. I write. I work. I mother. I love. I do many things but each thing informs every other. Some of my vocations I love more that others. But if, for example, I am in the heat of a meaty project at work, something that takes me to an exotic country, I can be happy. And sad, for the week or so away from my girls. And sick, for the long trip overseas squashed in economy class. And exhausted and overwhelmed and awed. Nowadays I bear the flood of every emotion that comes with doing what I do and being who I am.
When I was in third grade I went to a new school. My first friend was Kim Bay. She looked like her name sounded, short and cute with freckles, a button nose, and reddish brown hair she wore in pigtails. We were on the playground at recess when a group of six boys came to us and said they wanted to play chase.
Kim and I started out together, two little running bundles, screaming with mouths open. Such fun and glory! Boys had never chased me in my life, never at my old school, and here we were. It was great having the attention of six boys. And then Kim veered right, I veered left, and as if I were up in the sky looking down upon the scene I see all six boys move like a cloud of bees after Kim.
My screams disappear into the empty air around me, my little legs come to a slow stop. Why run? Where am I going? My fun game is over almost as soon as it started. At that moment I suddenly have this thought: I am Kim and Kim is me, we are the same person.
That scene sticks with me like an out-of-body experience of sorts, a realization that the molecules that formed to create me are the same as molecules that create every other thing. All through my twenties I searched for myself, and now I wonder if it’s because I saw the truth once but couldn’t find it again no matter how hard I tried. Do I know it now?