I have a new book coming out in June.
I pushed to get it published for this particular time line, because we are leaving Alaska in 6 weeks, and since all of these poems were written during my time here, it seemed poetic for publication to occur while still here and not in Kauai, where hopefully I will have new stories to tell.
While reviewing the final proof this weekend, I sat staring at my bio for quite awhile. There are certain key phrases that jumped out at me, “is a Clinical Psychologist,” “specializes in…,” “is planning a move in the near future to the sunny island of Kauai.”
Part of me wanted to change that bio. Make it reflect the person I will be and not the one I used to be, even as I wondered how I might write about myself differently this time next year and how very fervently I want different words and phrases in that bio, “is an author and artist,” “is an intuitive and Spiritual Psychologist,” “lives in Kauai…”
It’s such a small thing, this little blurb of words that describe who I supposedly am, and yet I find that the current blurb doesn’t really fit. I still am all of those things, and yet I am not those things at all, and I have spent the last year preparing for this major transition as I have dangled in an undefined space of self: not the person I used to be, not the person I am going to be.
Transitioning between a deconstructed nebula of identity.
Last year at this time, I have a vivid memory of driving to work the day after Memorial Day. I felt stuck and inept. Ready to leave Alaska. Trapped in a ship of a private practice whose helm I wasn’t sure I wanted to be behind anymore. Caged, something inside of me really trying to free herself, me trying to help that part out, yet realizing she would never be free if life remained the same.
52 weeks I whispered to myself on that day. This time next year, the day after Memorial Day, you will no longer be in this office. So assured and devoted I was to this idea that I even wrote an essay called Fifty-Two in Lamentations of the Sea where I talked about my commitment to future change.
And now it is 52 weeks later. Turns out my 52 weeks at that office will be 56. It’s close enough, because that vow to change and that base recognition that something felt like it was dying inside of me, and would die if I didn’t free it, was what I needed to find the courage to manifest this change.
It can be hard to break your own mold. We get stuck in shapes that no longer suit, but we’ve held them so long we don’t know how to break out of our own version of self. It is taking closing practice and moving across the ocean in order to break mine. I’ve been trying to pop myself out for awhile, but have found that despite my best intentions, I fall back into the cookie cutter shapes I have imposed upon myself and others have come to expect of me.
But molds were meant to be broken after time. They are only useful to hold us in stasis and space so long as we find their shapes useful and in congruence with the shape we feel called to be in this world.
My shape changed; my mold didn’t. So I’m making a new one.
Heliotrope Nights will be out in a few weeks, I am very proud of the work, and it will be the last one that was 100% written on Alaskan soil. So I decided to let my bio stand the way it is, to honor the all of me. To honor who I was. To honor the woman who worked so hard to get life to this particular point in time.
She deserves a hug and recognition for all she has been holding inside of her. And for her determination, resolution, and revolution this last 52 weeks.
You’re almost there, I keep whispering to her. And then I promise you, oh my dear I promise you, there will be many new stories to tell.