I once had an ex-boyfriend say that to me. The words fell on me, crushing me with their weight.
Was it true? Am I? As my mind frantically contemplated the meaning of his words, I surged forward into the vastness of time, feeling like a truant. Questioning his words had a way of bringing about a sense of total demise, a sense that I lacked any adequacy or quality of being.
Presently, I have come to understand that the phrase, hurled at me like a thief in the night, was no longer about me but about him. But against the dark curtain of the background that was my life at the time, his words stood out like neon lights flashing like fists.
Fists full of words, used to beat the senseless dirt out of my fragile sense of self.
Shame became the gravitating force, the concept in which this action-packed statement became the centralizing thesis of my identity.
Because I was so young at the time, I was hardly aware of this process by which I had embedded and embroidered such a phrase into the dearest fabric of my heart. No, it wasn’t until much later, when I discovered what I was carrying with me, asked why, and if it hindered or helped me. Did I wish to keep or discard?
That ‘going into the bag’ of being, of questioning from which I take my meaning, gave me the opportunity to pull at pieces of loose thread and re-stitch broken pockets. Yes, this drawing together of bonds where there were none introduced reinforcement into the joists that held up the structure of who I was. Of who I am. Of who I am to become.
Dear you, dear me, dear world: don’t leave me in the desert.
I am but a parched soul, thirsting for a constellation of divinatory meaning. A dedicated observer of the spaces between the stars and the beauty in our scars.
Perhaps I am one of the many questioning, leaning on mantlepieces, the Sherlock Holmes of self-definition. But not stuck in the trenches of self-questioning, like a fly in amber.
Instead I, like a comet, reach out towards inevitable—
Like elephant journal on Facebook.
Ed: Catherine Monkman