Driving to Fremont this afternoon, the hills were beautiful; all tumble down gold like pennies from a giant’s pocket. I felt the overpowering gratitude of mundane moments that has swooped me up over and over again in the last few years.
Lately however, I’ve been wanting to find a more indelible way to mark one of the most stunning eras in my life thus far. I’ve thought about getting another tattoo, but the first hurt badly enough to make that highly unlikely. I’ve even considered getting professional photos, but as my logical side pointed out, no matter how lovely those might be, I can’t see paying money to look at pictures of myself. So, for now, that leaves me with words.
What is it that I want to remember so badly?
I want to remember that at 35, I finally agreed with my Dad and entered “the best years of my life,” giving by far the fewest fucks about anyone’s judgement that I had ever given. I want to remember that some of my biggest illusions shattered, and it didn’t kill me. I want to remember that I stopped letting fear keep me consistently small, and started asking for its wisdom on what else was about to grow. I want to remember that at 37, I left a career of 13 years, something stable that I was good at, because the price of maintaining my comfort and my ego were too high. I want to remember learning to speak my own languages, all of them. I want to remember that I started spending time outside–in forests, in parks, in labyrinths, in cities I’d never been to before. I want to remember that I stopped seeing friendships as legal contracts, and started seeing them as a constellation of stars, beautiful whether close or far from me. I want to remember that I faux-hawked my hair, and that I finally understood the power of my own femininity because I chose it, not just submitted to whatever definition was in front of me. I want to remember that my body, mind, and spirit started all showing up in the same place, more often than not. I want to remember all the roads I walked to the middle of; still terrified by the mess but also intrigued by it. I want to remember that I started saying ‘no’ and ‘I’ll think about it.’ I want to remember falling in love with poetry again–writing, speaking, reading. I want to remember sleeping and waking at times that make sense for me. I want to remember finally listening to the trees that had been trying so hard to get my attention. I want to remember leading 8th graders in meditation, and how their faces looked when we had to leave that place. I want to remember my cat snoring on the pillow next to me while I write.
While getting my toes painted today the lady breaks in from several minutes of silence and says, “I remember you from before, with long, long hair. You don’t look so happy then as you do now.” And words aren’t enough for this, the fact that this is true, but I use them to continue to graft this gratitude into my skin, to continue to bring the world something that does not destroy me in the process.