Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thoughts on Identity



It was bound to happen - a human can't possibly move that many times in that many years and have that many major events and job changes and life transitions without, at some point, collapsing under the weight of it all.

So, I'm not sure I should be surprised at the fact that my life began to crumble, slowly losing pieces of itself out from under me like a Jenga tower, waiting for that fateful removal of the one block that was holding it all up. 

I'm not even sure I felt myself falling. 

It was more like a sudden realization that I was no longer where I thought I was. In fact, I didn't know where I was at all. What's incredibly, paralyzingly worse was the amnesia-like realization that I had no idea - in the big picture of the thought - who I was or even where I wanted to end up. 

So I just sat there. 
Unable to move.

I had once been strong. A pillar. A person who sought the deep things and deep relationships and asked deep questions. And yet there I was, standing in the shallows, and then sitting in the surf. Being hammered by wave after wave of uncertainty.

I sometimes wonder if the sea has a memory - or if perhaps it is all of our memories, pooled together and washing us through with a common sense of our own humanity. Our own frailty. I would have liked to lay down and drink the salty water into my burning lungs to once and for all soothe the ache of an undefined life, but I knew that wasn't the answer. 

And so here I am - still sitting in the freezing surf, becoming partially preserved by being in the salt for so long. Wondering. 

If my legs are too numb to walk. 

There's a part of me that knows I am planted here, becoming one with the sand, unless I choose to get up. But the part of me that has endured for so long without really knowing why is unwilling to concede the idea until I know what it is I'm getting up for. What I'm walking toward. Gone are the days when I could be content to wander in aimless circles. 

None of what has gone before seems to fit anymore. I cannot define my future by way of my past. Trying to become what I once was is absurd, for I can only become what I am not yet. 

Change is coming. 

However...

It is not a reinvention of self, but rather a reincarnation, of sorts. The phoenix, reborn out of the ashes of its predecessor - vaguely reminiscent of the same type of bird, and yet not the same bird at all. A new creation. One that must learn to fly and experience the world on its own terms, the memories of its past life more like the inexplicable wisdom of an old soul than a guiding force.  

I can just see the shape of things forming in the mist. A clear day is on the horizon.