“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
One of the things that I love about poetry is that in the span of just a few short stanzas and phrases an entire story can be told.
I spent my weekend immersed in stories; working on my latest poetry book; within the pages there are 125 different stories, sometimes stories within stories, and thousands of different shades of me.
Compiling the pieces- writings that range from 2013 to present day- is like watching an evolution of self. My writing style has radically changed; the things I write about have changed; I’ve changed.
The who I was and the who I’ve become are both me, yet entirely different, with several more versions sandwiched in between. Between my visible outside life and my invisible inside life, there’s a lot of distance traveled within the pages.
We tend to mark time by calendar days, months gone by, birthdays and new years. Change by external occurrences, life events, milestones. But sometimes the journeys we take inside of ourselves can cover more miles and land marks and passages than what is seen from the outside.
The person we were years back- the values we held, the perspectives from which we saw the world, the degree to which our heart was or wasn’t open, our expectations of who we thought we would be- an entirely different beast than the person we embody today.
They say change is the only constant. Most of us know this- know it’s better to try and embrace it than resist it, we are not here to stay the same. But sometimes change happens so fast you are left trying to catch your breath and catch your own sense of your time line- how did I get from there to here?– up to the present.
Within one small book of poetry: I learn to be single. I get my heart broken quite a bit. I come into a deeper awakening and awareness of self. I learn how to heal a broken heart. I meet somebody beautiful and find happiness. I deepen some more. I get married.
I think I’m finally at a resting place from all the change. My brother dies. My heart gets smashed in new ways. I grow spiritually. I change a great deal. I learn just how powerful love is.
I spent my weekend remembering that becoming even as I edited and re-composed and rearranged the words. I remembered and gave acknowledgment to the person I was who walked me through those pages.
It is one of the gifts of writing- the ability to look back on your work and realize your poems are scrapbooks. Word memories.
You read your old work and remember who you were and what you were doing and what things composed the passage of your days during that time. You realize the story behind the story and have something tangible that helps you remember how you got from there to here.
And while we can’t go back to the person we once were, the old shell of self, or the spaces we once inhabited, sometimes we can remember. We can go back and revisit our younger selves. Remember the things that happened. Look them square in the eye, saying, Thank you:
Thank you, you dear brave soul who didn’t know what it would look like or how hard it would be. You didn’t know, couldn’t begin to see, what was coming and had no idea how much strength and courage it would take to be fully human. I know you did the best you could, and, if not for you, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
So thank you, I love you, I honor you.
Now there’s no life to be found in the past- you’ve already lived that lesson and know that is why it’s called “the past.” So let’s join hands. Link up. Keep moving forward.
Keep engaging wholeheartedly with this beautiful thing called life.