I have been invisible to myself for most of my life. I come from a long family lineage of invisibility, so it is no surprise if you really stop to think about it. For me, this hidden quality manifested itself as a hazy and heavy cloak constructed from other people’s projections and distorted perceptions.
My parents, for example, desperately searching for their own identity, could only plant and nurture seeds in me that were reflections of themselves. They were blind to anything that did not strengthen their own search for self-hood. I understood my mission as their only child was to support this lofty undertaking and perform to their expectations. Ironically (or maybe not), we were all unconscious of this suffocating dance, and for years I was spun further and further from my own center into a dark forest of hopeless pain and exhaustion.
Gratefully, there is a brighter side to this story. It grows from my amazement at the fortitude of the human spirit – my spirit to be more specific. Even though a deep part of me has felt endlessly lonely, sorrowful and adrift for nearly three decades, I have discovered that my essential presence has been with me all along. Quietly and rather mysteriously it has remained, skirting the edge of the forest, showing itself in the secret places where solitude and stillness lie. This presence infused my existence with glimpses of peace and clues to the magic awaiting me, if only I kept going.
I have always searched for hidden spaces. Imagined unseen passages leading to light and wonder. Descended shadowed staircases, believing that the darkest corners hold the greatest truths. I embody an eternal innocence, grounded in curiosity and directed by beauty. I find that I am artistic and practical – a “rational romantic” who is deeply spiritual. I am paradoxical while making perfect sense. I am a modern day scholar.
I love the world of words. I am soothed by the crinkling of weathered paper and mesmerized by any story well told. The library was once my favorite playground – quiet enough to hear the whispers of my soul, full of infinite possibility. The intricate drawers of a card catalogue, the smell of an aging book. School book fairs and long car rides – these are sweet friends. My favorite authors, sweeping me away while always promising that there is still hope here on earth. “All will be well, if only you keep going,” they said to me. They told me that the magic is real. How grateful I am for that.
This love that I describe is one of the truest I have ever known. These memories, patiently uncovered, are a precious thread and a grand beginning to my tale unfolding.