December 20, 2017

The Self-Made Woman



That day twenty years past had seemed at the time to go on forever. She remembered. She had opened her heart to each moment, letting the summer light and the sea fragrance fill her; she had looked and looked at the world until her eyes hurt. And even when she closed her eyes, the speckled darkness was so beautiful, it too felt like a blessing. Afterwards, when everyone had gone home, even the moon, leaving only stars like speckles in the dreaming eye of God, she wrote down as much of the day as she could. Words did not come easily to her, but that barely mattered for she knew she would always remember that day and all the happiness of it.

But memory is not stitched on the brain. It is speckles in the dark, flaring and then melting into ghosts of long ago light. Over twenty years, she recalled that day in little bits, some of them misattached to other days; she knew the words for how she felt, but no longer held the actual feeling.

And yet, it was not lost, not one moment, not one ribbon of laughter. For each experience had contributed to the marrow in her, the rhythm of her pulse, the way she held her mouth, the timbre of her voice. She did not remember that day so much as she was that day, along with all the other days of her life.

She grew herself every moment.

And she knew it. Which was why she was always so determined to embrace the light, the sea, the salt-tanged breeze of any given day, of every blessed moment. She wanted to be made of joy and peace. She lived her life to be it.


6 comments:

  1. "For each experience had contributed to the marrow in her, the rhythm of her pulse, the way she held her mouth, the timbre of her voice. She did not remember that day so much as she was that day, along with all the other days of her life."

    Oh, I love this thought, that we embody our experiences, that memory becomes molecule, sun- and moonlight become our blood, that we are taking what we love into our very bodily substances. Thank you! <3

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  2. i like this too...the idea of our selves being the reflection of our lived experiences. no wonder some people are beautiful beyond the sum of their features. and no wonder that some are off-putting, or sorrowful, or even monstrous, beyond the givens of their body envelopes... we must keep our faces (and hearts) turned to the sun and stars, yes. and be very gentle with otherd, whenever we can.

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    1. The important point to remember is that although we take on the actual experiences, by far the greatest influence on our bodies and minds is our impression of experiences. If someone hurts us and we take on the toxic shame of what they did, making it our shame, then we are wounded. But if they hurt us and we see the shame belongs with them, and perhaps even feel compassion for them, then the lingering effect on us is going to be very different. (This is why I think teaching children about kindness, compassion, boundaries, and all that social/psychological stuff is way more important than any geography lesson.) If we walk along a road and feel only the roughness of the ground beneath us we're going to be left with a different result than if we joyfully breathe in the fresh morning air as we go.

      (I'm not saying we should be all Gratitude and nothing else. I'm highly opposed to that. I'm just saying we can choose what and how to remember.)

      Did you know studies have shown that stress doesn't actually harm us one jot? It's *how we feel about stress* that can kill us.

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