I have been creating a world of different characters as I grow my blog'ality series Look At My Fabulous Life! and I have truly been enjoying the process. I have noticed though that recently I haven't been engaging that much with me. Of course I get up each day with an intention and most times I follow it through, but I'm not tapped into the most center of myself. I know why too.
I do not resemble the person I thought I would be at this time in my life. If I look too hard and too long I might start to nit-pick, analyze and dissect why the image in the frame looks so very different than the one I painted of myself so long ago.
Let's back-track a little. Picture a shy, wide-eyed girl carrying an over-sized backpack. In it were way too many books, a Sony Walkman, packs of Now and Later candy, notes from boys scribbled on legal pad paper, pencils of all shapes and sizes, a pen that burst which created a super-sized ink stain at the bottom of the bag, a diary with a purple cover and a red and black heart-shaped charm.
The book-bag hung on the shoulder of a girl who wrestled with ambition and often got body-slammed by her inner emotional condition. Debate team member, editor of the school paper and yearbook, drama club standout and choir girl. I was on the radio as a teen and wrote articles for the local paper. I was what you called gifted. I even took a test that gauged my gifted'ness and put it at a high level. Proof.
On the surface of my life I was set. I had a loving boyfriend and was college-bound. Cue the afternoon movie music. But there were secrets, some known and others hidden. Only my close friends knew that I was adopted and the horrors I sometimes faced at home. I hid my feelings about my biological and adoptive families. Stuffed them like cotton in teeth whose fillings had fallen out. My smile was effervescent. I walked with pride knowing that despite my fragmented existence my intelligence would take me places.
Years later I would move to the Big Apple and become a college graduate and work in journalism and public relations. I still carried a book-bag of sorts, but it was more fanciful and paraded as a purse. The questions I had about family would slowly be revealed over time and are still being answered. I learned more about how I came to be, looked into the eyes of the woman who gave birth to me and to this day she is still a mystery. The woman who raised me who once was my tormentor has now become a comfort and a friend. I had searched for so long for a substitute for my "substitute" mom as it were and the original has not lived up to the hype. Life is funny that way.
I know I am strong and a survivor, that I have proved many times over. I know I am a writer of merit and getting better by the day. I know my value is worth more than my paycheck and my legacy is still being written, but I can't help feeling that I've fallen short of my goals. I was supposed to be a published author, an accomplished actress, a wife and mother and a jet setter by now! What happened?
I am a writer with a blog that I cherish, single, no children and a unpublished novelist. My last "date" was on a park bench with a "enchanting" stranger whom I lost interest in the very next day. I pray each morning as I wake and it gives me peace, but I still feel the pangs of being incomplete. I know I am a work in constant progress and that fact is also a comfort. I see myself as a whole package, not in parts and know that I am very close to my destiny. I can feel it so strong on some days.
When I see myself through others eyes I'm reflected nicely back to me. Although I feel the sting of unspoken questions in their expressions. Why is your book not yet published? Why are you not married? No children? Why? Who are you living for? If you have no family, how do you spend your day? What on earth do you do? I know the economy is bad but why haven't you found a job yet?
Here are some answers to the questions that linger in my mind and those of others:
Even though my portrait looks a lot different than expected after it's development, I walk with confidence from the dark-room. The frame is still beautiful, youthful and sturdy and the contrast of my curvature is vibrant and strong. The shadowing and contours of the lines of my life jump, stop, fall and rise just as sun and shade reflect their rays and darkness over the world. My angles are ambient and my tint has great tone.
I can be anything I want to be at any given time. My photograph will be measured by it's depth and ability to extract feeling and provoke passion and thought. I don't mind being a multi-layered question as there will always be the possibility of an ultimate answer.
Who am I?
Each day I discover who and what and why and how. Today I am breath, light, air and song. Tomorrow I may be texture, stone, feathers and clay. I am in this moment defined and undefinable. God's ink blot. Pixels and colors on earth's canvas. Me.