Dear Family and Friends, and hey, even Strangers,
By the time that you read this, it will be too late. I will have already turned 35 years old. Some things that I had carried with me to this point, will not have made it another day with me. They will have been unloaded, like a too heavy semi at a weighing point, the parts of the cargo deemed unimportant, and ultimately left behind.
You see, I have been carrying a load for as long as I can remember, that was never entirely mine to carry. My posture has suffered, and so has my spirit, from dragging things like fear and shame around with me. Those things might be free, but they have cost me plenty. I have worn the disapproval of strangers like it was the name stitched on the back of my lifetimes letterman jacket, no matter what I actually tried to letter in.
I know it sounds sudden, but it’s been building in me, for years, if not decades. Weren’t we all born to be free? Didn’t I take my first big, gasping breath out in the open, before being placed on my mother’s chest? Isn’t the song of birthing ultimately a song of rejoicing?
I know that I was tested, and compared to a standard, within the first few hours that I inhaled air on this earth. But there was more, wasn’t there? I mean, I was more. Not more than anyone else, just more than all the paperwork my parents signed actually said. I was somebody’s daughter, and a younger sister. The newest grandchild, at least for a while. A great granddaughter to someone entirely wonderful.
Doesn’t every new birth cause a little earthquake? Don’t we all take our turn making this planet shake, just a little?
We are all connected. You and I. We are connected by heart, if not by the color of our skin or eyes. We are all a part of something so much bigger than we know, something that needs us to have the courage to keep going. I knew that once. And then I forgot. But then, I had all of these children, who are helping me remember. I may be losing my mind most days, but I’m actually finding what is really important. And true. And good.
No man is born to be a slave. It is no one’s destiny to end up in chains. We aren’t meant to live in cages, or behind a chain link fence. I knew that, but still let hurt people tell me who I am. Even doctors diagnose illnesses not people. But I took so many words to heart, that were only meant to wound and undo me. And they kind of did. But I still let them come with me.
The thing about getting older is, that life gives you a metaphorical sewing machine, and you can stitch yourself back together again. You can rip out the seams that don’t suit you right now, and take in the ones that never did. You can add pockets big enough to warm your hands, or decide on a new set of buttons, or zippers. Because nothing sounds like closure better than a new zipper.
My dress form is bigger than I want it to be, that’s pretty obvious, but I’m still me. Except, I might be half done already. My family is not big on walking around this planet for much more than 68-70 years. And I’m okay with that, as long as I make my few decades really matter.
But letting others opinions dictate my actions, yeah, I’m done with that. I no longer have time to sit and stew, I am not a tomato, I am a human. I don’t have days to waste being angry at you, or my husband, or your mom’s elderly neighbor. I don’t have time to fall at politicians feet, or hair long enough to wash them with, not to mention I’ve never owned perfume expensive enough to be kept in alabaster boxes. While I’m sure that the housewives of every county are indeed entertaining, I have something else to do with the time that I have been given. I don’t have time to worry that you will reject me for being myself, or that you are being too nice, and don’t mean the sweet things that you say. I can’t give up time with my babies to focus on how badly other people drive around me. Or waste the sweet, sacred air of their one, brief childhood, festering on how I wish others would do things. I can’t, and I won’t.
Not anymore. I did, but that was before. See, I was younger then, and didn’t know, or remember, what I realized today. So. Regrets, you’ll forgive me, but you are a little too late. The cutoff for embarrassment was yesterday.
By the time anyone reads this, I’ll be 35. I’ll be living in the present, and finally allowing myself to enjoy my life.