Friday, May 15, 2009

Becoming Sarah

I recently joined the Floyd Wordsmiths for the first time, a talented group of folks who think the dictionary makes for good reading. The prompt for the meeting was related to our thought heritage. Below is where that idea took me.

You know that camera effect used in art movies and incontinence commercials? The one where one person is frozen, say on a New York City sidewalk at 5:15, and pushing past her are people, thousands of people, moving with such speed and determination that they look like little more than swirling slivers of color? Welcome to my childhood.

I was not stranded on a sidewalk, however, and certainly not in place like New York where both art and oddity are embraced. I was stranded at a kitchen table, a rustic oaken affair, long enough to accommodate seven children of various legal and genetic descriptions and casual enough that the inevitable gouges, scratches and crayon streaks only enhanced its beauty. The seven swirled around me on their way to jobs and dates and sports practices, draped in Truth, with a capital T, that special knowledge about life that allowed them to say the right things, wear the right clothes, make the right grades.

Whatever that knowledge was, they weren’t talking.

I spent years trying to jump into the current, trying to read their actions like Braille, perceiving but not comprehending the truths that lay in the space between their words. I accepted as just their reprimands for remaining frozen.

Still, I tested the waters, wondering if I could pull myself from the current, wondering if dry ground would be lonely, or lonelier. It took years, years to slowly pry myself from the table and nearly a decade more to push my way to the edge of the crowd.

And it is occasionally lonely here. But it is never lonelier.

Mostly, though, it is peaceful and calm, home to a quiet where discoveries can more easily be made. It sometimes seems as though I have found myself at the gateway of the collective unconscious that Carl Jung described, a place where everything primal and of true importance is stored.

But more often, it seems as though I have finally begun to stop fearing the gray spaces in my understanding, accepting them as being as vast and constant as the dark matter holding our universe together.

I have finally begun to realize that there is no capital T and there is no need to watch them any longer .

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