The truth about me is that I was not nearly as patient, kind, or selfless, as I acted for much of my life. The truth is that a desperate grasping extended through me from my childhood origins, drawing to me so many who also only expected darkness in their lives. I think by generous fate and no small effort of my own, my own light was not put out by that cloud, and so the hopeful ones have come along too, but often they have bored me or passed me by, not lighting the torch of my misery enough to keep me interested in their presence.
The truth about me is that I have lived many sad years. Bright and sunny on the outside, deeply doubting and unable to console myself on my deepest levels. Doubting love, feeling it to be an empty promise. And yet, throwing myself at it again and again, blindly seeing neither the object of my latest affection, nor myself.
The truth about me now is that since turning 40 I have discovered compassion for myself. Choosing a life partner and bearing children has pointed me to the inarguable existence of my own desires and dreams, my own solid path apart from where I came. I think I understand now that it takes some living to get here, to what I’m coming to think of as the Good Stuff. When some of the old voices stop mumbling in my ears and I can hear my truer thoughts. Much like it takes writing a lot of sad clown poems to get to one that sings instead of shuffling along, hoping to be good enough, it has taken some living for me to decide that it is more worth it to know myself than to remain loyal to others’ ideas of me, or who they need me to be.
The truth about me is that I was as I needed to be then, as I am now. My younger self lived a certain kind of truth, albeit one that looks more dangerous and confused to me from my current vantage point. This self that is becoming what might be called middle-age still gets confused, but I have a clearer sense of what brings me peace and happiness – and it is not the excitement of the race. The race away from everything that scared me, the race toward the unavailable. Top speed, in a dark room, racing. The truth about me is that I am slowing down beautifully, and feel the confidence of walking intentionally, able to name some of the things that I want, and don’t, and the grace in the things I have. The truth about me is showing itself, singing as she comes.