Passage from Work-in-Progress

I look in the mirror. See someone reflected. I believe it is me yet have no proof.

And worse, I am not certain of who “me” might even be.

Having become aware that I do not possess a certainty of self as others do has caused me a great deal of pain. Not a defined pain. Not the cut of knife or the break of heart, but a wide, shapeless pain. Without clear origin or ending. An overwhelming ache, everywhere at once.

There are days when I feel that I must succumb. That I can’t go on.

How can I continue to live when there is no being to call my own. No whole that I recognize. No name that fits.

And how, you ask, have I come to this despair?

I assume it is because the sense of self that others develop slowly over time, through the sensations of living, was denied me. In my youth there was no experience of trial and error, loss and gain, the testing of boundaries and limits, moving against and along emotions that arise from the body, the slow shaping of beliefs and values. This dilemma resulted from the fact that most of what is “me” was placed inside my person by others. The beat of me set already to their march. So that I never had the chance to induce and carve out a rhythm of my own.

What perhaps makes my situation more painful is that it is invisible to anyone but me. Technically, my hands are appended to my body and are therefore mine. Any objective observer would conclude the same. Yet they are not my hands. Not entirely. And I could say the same of my thoughts, fears and emotions. Even my breath.

I suppose, then, my destiny is not so much to discover who I am as to create who I am. To integrate the fragments that inhabit me, no matter their disparate origins and authors. To surround and claim them. To envelop them within a single membrane.

To embody, at last, my selves as One.

This is the challenge from which I cannot escape. Despite the agony. And unnatural curve.

The only question that remains:

Am I capable of this?

 

© 2016 Copyright Kristen Wolf. All rights reserved.

photo credit: LWS