Now that my grandma has been gone for almost 7 years I realize that I do not know much about the stories of my family. I don’t know the names of my grandparents’ parents. I don’t know the little things—the oral traditions of who we are. How they suffered. How they loved. When they met and married their partners. I want to share the stories of my family with my children, but I only have mine. I want to give my kids some thing to hold onto. I only ever knew my grandma on my mother’s side—my father’s mother was distant and died when I was 10, and both of my grandfathers were dead before I was old enough to remember them at all (in fact one of my earliest memories is my maternal grandfather’s funeral). As I age, I feel like knowing “where” I came from and my lineage would open up some deeper understanding about my identity. I wonder if I have similar mannerisms. I wonder if I like the same things they do.
I wish I asked my grandma more questions before she died—maybe I just assumed she would be around long enough for me to inquire. Maybe I was too scared of awakening some hidden trauma. I always had the feeling growing up that many things were left unsaid. Many stories never told in order to protect us. I want to ask my mother and father questions too, but I am scared of doing so because of the same reasons. My maternal grandfather changed his last name and I always wondered why. If it was for convenience or if it was a way to disconnect from his own history.
History can be an ugly thing. I know in the family I grew up in there were so many times of both love and terror and pain and laughter. So many stories. So many lives. I wish I could trace back deeper and see where those roots sprouted. See the weeds within myself and learn how to tend to them without having them take over.
How many stories were never told to me? I am making my own stories, but I always wished there were at least a couple I could share with my own children. Lifelines that remind them of their own strength and challenges and power and responsibility. Failures and victories all leading up to now.
I’m going back to my old job as a part-time counselor. I’m so so so grateful they are willing to employ me part-time so it won’t disrupt the family schedule too much. I can’t wait to get back to helping others!
It’s been such a journey these last 6 months–LOTS of reflection: about my goals, where I’ve come from. Over the last two months I’ve been really struggling with letting go of a few dreams that seemed heart-crushing to lean into. I’ve always loved the quote “if the door doesn’t open, it’s not your door” and for the last 3 years or so I feel like I’ve been banging my head against a door that won’t open, while others have easily invited me in.
While loss is real, there is hope, and the smoothness of this new opportunity unfolding is showing me that it is ok to let go of some of my “creative career” pursuits. I’m being vague here, but what I mean specifically is that I have been wanting to jump back in to performing and turning that into a career, but I am understanding now, slowly, that it is time to let go of the “need” to perform and compete with others. There are so many wonderful things I have experienced as a spoken word artist—I’ve traveled so much doing that! I’ve also tried to force myself into a public speaker role that has always felt awkward and anxiety-filled. There was a time when I wanted a spotlight…but lately all I’ve been feeling moved to is one-on-one. Is non-verbal. Is cerebral. Is going deeper and not having to pry myself open.
Being a counselor and in the role of healer is what feels “right” for me now. As a performer, I took my own healing process and put it on display. Said “LOOK AT THIS” and made pain something I could learn from. I have indeed learned so much at this point in my life—so much I would like to share with others…just not as publicly.
This is probably the last year I will be performing regularly. I’d love to return to writing more books, to visual art, to quieter expression. I roared for so many years, and it has always felt like what I had to do to survive. Now I want to grow like a tree. I want to take my time and savor. I want to listen more.