whirling woman of colors

You’ve got as many lives as you like, and more,
even ones you don’t want.
— george harrison

I mentioned something to my eighteen year old son the other day, something that he said or did when he was about thirteen. He quickly said, "nope, nope. We aren't talking about that. Let's just pretend that nothing before age fifteen exists" He wants to erase the awkward, the misfit years, the years of growing up.

I completely understand. 

It seems that my own life is broken up into many lives. 

  • maiden
  • mother
  • crone
  • the growing up
  • the being abandoned
  • the being found
  • before my husband
  • after my husband
  • the growing up
  • the Memphis years
  • the Charlotte years
  • the Christian season
  • the leaving season
  • the wandering
  • before children
  • after children
  • the formulaic, legalistic parenting
  • the grace-filled parenting
  • before being an artist
  • the now of becoming an artist
  • living in fear
  • living in freedom

One life and many lives all at the same time for ultimately I am the culmination of all that I have lived. However it is tempting to try to erase the lives that I don't want to own any longer. When my previous personas are brought up in conversation, I sometimes say the same thing that my son says, "Let's not talk about that." Let's pretend it never happened. Let me be who I am without that as part of my past. It hurts too much to think of what I didn't know. 

I can't erase any of it though. It all matters. It all contributes to who I am today. Those are my lives, the ones I wanted for all the right and wrong reasons. Those are my lives, the ones I wanted but then didn't want any longer. Even those lives that I never wanted are my own.

Instead of shamefully or angrily pushing away the twists and turns that have brought me here, I want to embrace what was instrumental in creating my present and my future. Without experiencing it all ... the good, the bad, and the ugly ... I would be a flat representation of myself. No color, no dimension, no facets to capture the light.

i am a woman of light
i am a woman of the day
i am a mother woman
i am a women who looks into the inside of things
i am a whirling woman of colors
— from Maria Sabina - Mazatec Medicine Woman