The louder you scream, I matter into a void, the further it reverberates. The longer and fainter the echos get. Until, merely anemic whispers, you may feel like you're screaming but your mouth opens and closes and all that's left of your, once, furtive cries, is silence.
Bleeding. Unending. Empty.
When I was a child, I believed I was the protagonist in my own story. And, even though it often felt like I had no control, I dreamed of a time when I would be able to grasp at the reins of my own story, untether my life from lives that weren't mine, and pave my own way. Those are a lot of different metaphors, I think, but they all look like the first real stage of the hero's journey. And, after decades as Dory in Finding Nemo, I was finally going to be Dory a'la Finding Dory. Finding me. Finding my way.
I'm proud to say I did. It took my longer than my contemporaries--we are all given a lot in life--but I did it. I struggled with normal human behaviors and still think back to my most awkward growing-pains and visibly shudder. But I've learned from every choice, every strange behavior, and every miscalculation. And, for that, I am grateful for how miserably self-aware I am. Grateful for the nights I dissected three minute conversations until three a.m. I'd like to tell you that I never make the same mistakes twice but that would be a farce. I am only human; constantly growing changing, evolving, asking questions...exploring the very depths of who I am and how I want to be. This, I feel is a gift. Wide-open, thin-skinned, doing the best I can.
Lately, I've been hiding from myself. Fully aware, as is my curse, that I am no longer the person I planned to be. That I took a miss-step, lost my footing, and lost my spot on the hero's journey. Fairytales end when the princess finds her prince. They don't teach young, aspiring princesses that they are only as untethered as their glass slippers. You get older, you make pro/con lists, you make promises, and you take the reins you worked so painstakingly to unshackle from decades of heartache and latch them to a new life. A life you chose. A life you promise your feeble heart is built like you imagined.
But what if it isn't?
Are we just kidding ourselves to imagine, for a second, that we have the power to steer our own ships? Is it all a big cosmic joke that we are doomed to relive our traumas through the eyes of another? Do years of therapy just prepare you to see patterns but have no control over how to end them?
I always thought I would build the life, the family, I deserved. I wrote it in my vows. I etched it into my palm like lifelines. And as the world I thought I held in my hand (the whole wide world, like the nursery rhyme)
And so now I ask the void, the same one I have yelled into my whole life through, is this all that I am? Collateral damage for generational trauma?
This is Me:
My name's Melissa. I'm the girl with her hands in her journal. Married to my best friend and planning a lifetime of adventure!