Monday, March 27, 2006

A Life Left Behind

The me I know awoke when I was twelve years old.

I cracked open an eye and saw shaded sidewalks, warm summer days, and history so strong it walked the streets beside you.

Then, my family moved far from that place, and I packed a life, an identity, away. I wonder who I would've been if I stayed.

Maybe not better. Loss is more powerful than having. And in that pain, I learned.

Memory is precious, and words are memory shared.

(Question: Has a place or time defined the deepest parts of you?)


anne said...

Beautiful picture...
I lived "abroad" most of my life, growing up and otherwise, and "constant motion" has been a major influence on the me I - sort of - know.

Jay said...

I often wondered the same thing - when I was 13 we were on the cusp of moving, and then the deal fell through and we stayed - this changed my future friends, where I went to school...funny how quickly the whole path of your life can change.

Bernita said...

Sometimes loss begats memory; sometimes one hides loss in the deepest parts of the psyche like an animal in a cave.

Cate said...

Two words: gym class.

That experience defined me for the longest time. It became the scapegoat for all of my insecurities: learned a degree of humiliation and inadequacy. Felt contempt for always "losing" the games for team. Learned what it was like to be openly mocked and ridiculed. Which evolved into me telling myself that I had no value and was unnecessary.

Wouldn't trade the experience for the world, but I wish I had had more of a sense of humor about it at the time! :)

Sandra Ruttan said...

Oh, that was powerful.

The answer is yes. Certainly. And all it takes is a smell, a song, a glimpse of something that reminds you of something to take you across time and space to that one moment...

beadinggalinMS said...

Time and place that changed and defined me was last year. I made a trip to my twin's on my own. No kids and no hubby. We were on the verge of splitting up. I told myself I need to get things settled so I could move forward. I know it is silly but I told myself if I found something really neat on the beach it would give me strength to say what I had bottled up for many years. I wanted out of the marriage. I found a starfish. I got home and told my hubby all my feelings. All of them!! We briefly split up then Katrina happened. I went back to my sister's while they restored my electric. A month later I came back home and he told me he didn't want me here. He left for work and I cried my eyes out.
When he came home that night he apologized for saying it. He wanted me here if I wanted to be here too. I am still here. We take one day at a time. A starfish and a hurricane has changed me. I noticed my faults and what pain I have caused my hubby and that he has feelings too.

Melissa Marsh said...'ve got me to thinking now, Jason.

I lived in the same house from birth until college. And that house holds a lot of memories - my brother lives in it now and when I go back to visit, there's a mixture of sadness and joy - sadness at the bad times, joy at the good. Not terribly original, of course, but growing up on the farm defined me. I learned so much - the meaning of family, of working together, of working hard, of walking out in the fields right before a thunderstorm hit, the smell of the rain in the air, of the bustle of harvest, so much.

Antonia said...

Jason, that's beautiful...these are the Proustian questions....there is so much to answer..
looking forward to what you all will do in the future...
and the Robert Schneider book...guess you can get it at amazon or sure you will enjoy it, it is a nice story...

Bailey Stewart said...

Very evocative post - and the question is a great one.

We moved from Iowa to Texas when I was almost 9. That move did change my life and not always for the better. I often wonder how I would have turned out had we stayed. I know that the move was one of the catalyst to my turning into a introvert. I wasn't one in Iowa.

Rene said...

Tough question. We moved around a lot when I was a kid but I've spent most of my life in Southern California. I think I'm very much a product of my surroundings. I'm casual both in demeanor and emotional expression.

Kelly Parra said...

So peaceful and beautiful, Jason! Thanks for sharing these!!

Sarah said...

Places and times have always had a strong effect on me. When I was a kid growing up in a small town, it was the fallen tree across the creek. It was quiet and peacful, and I could be alone with my thoughts. When my parents split and we moved, it became the green solitude of the neighborhood cemetery. When I became old enough to drive and to make trips on my own, it was the journey and discovery of secluded spaces. Now that we've purchased a home it will be the forming of a sancutuary and the creation of new strong memories and emotions.

What a great topic. Thank you for getting me thinking!

Anonymous said...

First, let me say that I appreciate everyone opening a window into the protected corners of themselves. That act is a gift to all of us.

So far we have:

Motion and adaptation--Anne

Seeing the cliff, then stepping back--Miss Jay

The power of brooding loss--Bernita

Treated as different, as an outsider--Cate

The ever-presence of the past--Sandra

The quiert and rebuilding after destruction--BeadinggalinMS

Family and purpose and the value of hard work--Melissa

The power of the question--Antonia

The hard lesson of change. From comfort to painful self-consciousness--Eve

How deeply a place can infuse you--Rene

A secret place where your pure self unfolds--Sarah

Thanks again to all!

Anonymous said...

Kelly, you've helped me hit a milestone! (More on this later. You'll get your own post.) =D

mermaid said...

'history so strong it walked the streets beside you'.

My folks still live in the house where I spent some time growing up from 4th grade to high school. Now, when I take my daughter there, my tears become part of the salty air and fog. I can't wait for her to walk on the beach, and see the look in her eyes as she wades in the ocean of her mother's dreams.

Terri said...

Great post, Jason, and first I must say I love that photo.

"Loss is more powerful than having."
How true. I lost my father when I was 7 and when he died we moved back to my mom's hometown and I guess that whole experience defined the deepest parts of me more than any other single thing. Oh my, I think this subject deserves a post on my own blog. Sometime.

Dana Y. T. Lin said...

You know, Jason, I've moved so much growing up that now that I am writing, I am finally remembering some of my childhood.

Jeff said...

Great post, Jason. :)Sometimes when I'm stressed, I take a mental trip back to my great-grandmother's farm where I used to spend nearly every weekend as a child. So many fond memories. Her name was Alta, and she died when I was thirteen. After she died the farm was sold from the family. She was my "buddy" and I still miss her and the farm.

Anonymous said...

More windows:

The desire for a child to share childhood mysteries--Mermaid

The vulnerability of losing a father--Terri

A calming of the whirlwind--Dana

The eternal comfort of the matriarchal homestead--Jeff

Thank you, everyone. :)

mysfit said...

:) lovely post, jason

time and space, huh? ah well, it's all just Time Soup anyway - i've spent long nights on this very question and unfortuantely the only answer i have for you is somewhat of a cop out and not so beautiful nor sharing as many of these responses, but it's the only conclusion i can reach: there's no space without time and no time without space. and so my answer is yes.

Anonymous said...

Misfit, your response reminds me strongly of a theory I came up with (probably not original, of course) on why time travel is not possible. I'll have to tell it to you sometime.