Have you seen the new Disney movie, Moana? I loved it. It runs on replay over and over in my head.
“Who am I? I’m a girl who loves my island. I’m a girl who loves the sea. It calls me.
I am Moana.”
Identity. That was what the movie was about. More than ever that theme rings true to me.
I feel like I’ve been looking for me since I was 15 years old. I began this journey through an existential debate I was having with the pedophile who was raping me at the time. He made one thing very clear: My self worth is only measurable through my success. Success is defined only by my importance. And importance is only measured by what I contribute to this world. I have three generations, and then I’ll be forgotten, unless… unless I find a way to be so great as to be remembered.
In short, Unless I am as great as Beethoven, Shakespeare, or Einstein, then I am nothing.
This is the pressure I have been under since I was 15. I’m nearing 40. The tapes still play. “I have to be revolutionary, or I’ll be nobody.” It’s a quest for honorary immortality. And I have a line ready for every reassuring response you can think of.
“That’s a high bar. You can’t possibly do that.”
“Well, not if I stand around talking about not doing it.”
“I can do it. I just need to persevere.”
The lines he conditioned into nearly 20 years ago are still on repeat, and the tape isn’t wearing out anytime soon. But I’m tired.
“Beethoven didn’t get tired. Raise that bar!”
I don’t want to be insignificant. So I write in hopes that I will write something great…
I breathe in. I meditate. I still the voice in my head.
“I’m a girl who loves my island… Who am I?”
I push through the motions of Tai Chi. When you slow down, you can hear the earth breathe. When you hear the earth breathe, you find yourself. It grounds you.
“I’m a girl who loves my gardens. I’m a girl who loves the earth. It calls me. I love all living things around me. I love the rain, the sun, the birds. I love knitting, and baking. I love my cats. I love my children, and growth, and love. I love my Isaac. I love dancing in the rain. I love all seasons. I love New York! And I love the country…and I love the city. I love Ireland. I love green, and all living things. I love animals. I love peace and calm and relaxing. I love my children.
I love story!
I love the way the winds sweep across the mountains and the smell of earth after the rains. I love the smell of ozone and the taste of chlorophyll. I love learning and growing and living. I love my life.
I’m a girl who journeyed through years of pain and abuse and torture to know how wonderful this world can be. I’m a girl who saw all living things suffer and bleed out and die. And I’m a girl who knows they didn’t have to die. I’ve seen so much death, because I’ve known so much life. I’ve seen so much violence and torture, to appreciate, value, and crave peace and calm. I am a creator!
I dance with thunderstorms. I can smell the rain. I can smell ice weeks before the snows. I don’t care what people say. They look on and I don’t care. I am a girl who, when I am still, I can hear the earth breathe and I breathe with it.
This is who I am. This is what I want. To create and live and know. But to do that, I can’t be on this computer…talking to you all the time. Which means my pursuit for significance, requires that I must trade in my happiness. Is it worth it?
I don’t want to be forgotten. I want to be remembered. I don’t want to die. I love it here. *gently smiles*
This is why Christianity never worked on me. Christians teach and they believe that Heaven is better than Earth. Christians believe that Earth is an awful place…and there is someplace better. Christianity thrives on the concept that streets of gold and crowns are better than the dirt beneath my feet. It’s not. If Christ really knew me… if he were really real, he’d know me. He’d know that I already am in Heaven. That there are no promises he could make that would make me want to leave. If Christ were really real, he’d promise me I’d never leave. Promise me I’ll never leave my forests. That I’ll always grow my gardens. That I’ll always smell the rain… But god doesn’t know. He doesn’t know what’s in my heart. I don’t want him to “prepare a place for me.” I’m already here. I’m where I belong.
Like all of you, I’m afraid of mortality. I’ve seen enough of it to know. Held dying kittens in my arms. Watched suffering animals scream. I’m looking down at the face of my existence. Mortality reminds me most of what I hate. I hate endings and pain and goodbye. I hate hate.
I hate Fear. This is about what I fear… and not what I want.
Fear of being forgotten. Fear of being insignificant. It’s fear that pulls me away from my happiness. It’s fear that calls me away. It’s fear that I’m fighting for. *smiles* But I’m too afraid to stop harboring this fear. I’m too afraid to stop being afraid.
I don’t want to be forgotten. And I want to live right now. In this moment.
I want to write. But what am I writing for? Am I writing for this? Or am I writing for me?
“Please don’t forget me,” the voices scream in my head.
“Then make them remember you,” they scream back.
Over and over these words play on. And I’m missing this moment. I’m missing now because of this war that’s in my head.
Slow down. Just breathe. Breathe in…two…three…four. Breathe out…two…three…four.
I hear the earth. It’s calling. Slow down. Let go. And breathe.
Perhaps it’s time to let this go…