One of the things that really struck me during my recent conversation with my dad was the notion that I should be doing creative things. I agree. That is part of why I am drawn to blogging. This of course leads to another excellent point... My father said that he noticed that I often use this blog to do battle with myself. He is absolutely right. I work out my thoughts here but I also spend a great deal of time beating myself up and feeling anxious, guilty and sad. This takes the blog from the realm of pure creativity, into personal therapy but not always the good kind. Too often, my posts perpetuate patterns I would like to change in myself and a good dose of self-loathing as well. I think in the spirit of creativity and stress-management, I need to change the direction of my writing a little. My blog does not need to be a stage for fighting with myself, but it can be a good place for finding myself. With this in mind, I find myself returning (at least in thought) to my long neglected memoir.
My father suggested that I was 14 or 15 when the foundation for the MS was laid in place. He said that at this time I lost touch with who I really was and began the long battle with myself. Whatever the case may be, I do remember losing a lot of my spontaneity, creativity and joy around this time. I became a perfectionist, a performer and a critic. I started to see myself through the eyes of an imagined, outside observer who constantly tracked both my accomplishments and failures. This was around the time I first experienced anxiety and depression. Slowly I left behind many of the activities I loved as a kid. I eventually quit both dance and gymnastics (things I had always loved). When I was little, I was an uninhibited choreographer but by the time I was about 16, I was stifled when I tried to just listen to music and dance. Sometimes I have vivid flashes in my mind of the girl I was. Now, whatever comes of this, I want to remember that girl and draw myself closer to her, not for my dad, not because of MS but because this may be the key to a brighter future for me.
I remember a story that I was once told that inspired me to great leaps of creative thought.
Once upon a time there was a little girl who journeyed with her brother into a tomato plant. They became tiny and traveled right into the veins of the plant. They did this by concentrating on the plant with their eyes until they were absorbed into the stem. Once they were inside the plant, they seemed to float along in the liquid center of the plant. They journeyed from stem to limb and then eventually into a giant, ripe tomato. There, they had fun playing until someone plucked the tomato from the vine and then they had to find a way out quickly when a giant mouth threatened to consume them.
I may have gotten the story wrong but that was the kind of tale that inspired me as a child. Like Tinkerbell from my favorite childhood play, "Peter Pan" said, "You just have to believe." I used to think that if I believed enough and looked hard enough, I would see the magical things from story books.
I would sit in the garden and stare at a plant for a long time, just waiting to be drawn inside. Sometimes, I would hide among the flowers and imagine that soon I would encounter a fairy. I would even dress up and pretend I had become one.
Once, when I was about 3, I saw a unicorn. The strange thing is that to this day, the image of the unicorn across the pond is still cemented in my mind. She glows white in the moonlight at a distance and despite what my rational mind says she is there.
Today I am grateful for this chance to remember...