I am currently reading “bird by bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life” by Anne Lamott. It is an incredible book on writing that was gifted to me by an incredibly talented writer. There is a section in the book dedicated to the idea of going back in your mind and remembering your childhood so that you can connect the dots to spin a story so fraught with memory that it feels tangible. Anne describes this feeling perfectly in the first pages saying, “You are desperate to communicate, to edify or entertain, to preserve moments of grace or joy or transcendence, to make real or imagined events come alive.”
It’s funny isn’t it? How everything we are, some how surreptitiously snakes its way back to our child hood. Things we find joy in, our greatest struggles and fondest memories often result from the tumultuous years of our youth. Strangely enough, people either elevate their past years, holding them to an unrealistic standard in memory; the summers spent on the beach, seemingly unending, the holidays spent with the family skiing in Aspen, days spent whisking down the mountain and nights spent wrapped in thick fur blankets by the fire… ok thats not real, but you understand where I’m going. Or, for those less enthralled with yesteryear, we try to forget childhood. From the very first moment we realize that, if we try hard enough, we can escape our past, we run ever onward, away from what lyes behind.
I’m not really sure what this all has to do with anything, other than the fact that I have been thinking about why I am the way that I am a lot lately. That is to say, I have been enduring an extended course of self evaluation. Questioning my motives, why I lean one way instead of the other spiritually, emotionally, politically or otherwise. This is not to say that I am defective or broken, or even wrong for being who I am. More like doing research on myself so that I may better understand the world.
For example, I am a relatively passive person. When it comes to making a decision about where to go for dinner or what movie we should watch count me out, I won’t make the choice any easier. I attribute this to the fact that as a child I was incredibly shy and terrified of rocking the boat or having people not like me. Even more daunting still was the possibility that they would be disappointed in me and what I decided to do.
This is something I have been struggling with, on my journey to find what I want for my life. For years I thought I knew where I was heading. This made me feel secure in my small ship of indecision. I rode around on lifes currents, allowing them to take me where they may. But now, what I once thought to be so clear, so unwavering and steady, has turned into a tide that seems to fight me with every fiber of its being. What do I really want to do? Where do my true passions lye? Am I just kidding myself into thinking I can make something out of nothing?
I think Captain Barbossa said it best, “You’re off the edge of the map, mate. Here there be monsters.”
No map and monsters? Perfect. I’ll bring the snacks.