As I sat on an airplane to a new home and a new life, I was aware of mild sadness and fear, moderate excitement and hopefulness, and there was, like an unwelcome companion, the weight of the dread of the past. How can a person dread the past? How can a young, tenacious and seemingly brave woman dread things that have already happened, especially considering that she has obviously survived the past with enough courage, at the very least, to move herself across the country for the simple sake of choosing to live fully.
Part of moving forward for me, must include the mission of traveling through the past, to all the worlds I’ve lived, and gathering all the people I’ve been. Everyone changes constantly throughout their lives. Suffering does that to people, and life without suffering is shallow. Without suffering, there can be no depth of capacity for joy, compassion, trust, or empathy. This list of capacities is by no means exhaustive, but these are the primary components of the me with which I at least am currently familiar, that allow me to thank suffering.
Let me pause to point out that in saying that there are components of the me with which I am currently familiar, I do intend to suggest that there are also components of my identity with which I am entirely unfamiliar. Let’s pretend that every event presented to us in our lives with which we may associate suffering is presented by sword. Your classmates are mean to you in first grade, and the suffering comes like a sword and slices off a piece of who you were. You, then, have a choice. You can embrace the amputated slice of you, and through the pain, re-adhere the slice. There may be a scar, but if you allow your cells to do their jobs, even though it hurts, you can be whole again. Or you can banish the slice. You can take it away to another place, build it a home, and make it stay there. Mind you, in banishment, the slice will grow a body to belong to, and you will “grow” a holographic version of the banishes slice.
Are you following me? Just imagine it. So now, there are two you’s. One is in 1st grade in are far away world constructed of whatever “1st grader you” would find comforting in response to being made fun of. The other one is partially holographic and here, pretending to be a whole person, trying to function normally. The catch to the hologram part of you is this: when someone puts their hand “on” a hologram, the picture distorts and blanks out for a second. Okay?
I have been selective about which sufferings I was willing to believe I could bear. There have been a lot of slices that have been re-adhered with depth and compassion, resilience and bravery. There have also been a lot of banished slices. A major part of this adventure will be journeying to the banishment quarters, embracing the reproductions of Allyson from those seasons, destroying their prisons, and feeling the pain that must be felt. I must find the courage to believe I can bear the suffering, knowing it will be worth it to heal.
Five days ago, as I sat on an airplane to a new home and a new life, I am glad to know that I will soon meet my whole self. I will soon find out if I have the courage to grow up and become who I really am, as E.E. Cummings said. However, it is terribly frightening to imagine and prepare for the foreign lands and planets (because I do expect these places to be different distances and require various modes of travel). It is terribly frightening to think that I may find 1st grade Allyson, and I may fail in setting her free or in loving her enough to feel the love, the pain, or the obliteration of long-constructed fortresses. I suspect, though, that my fear is only a result of the frailty of holograms, and when I find the Allyson(s) that is (or are) projecting that fear, I’ll try to let you know.