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  • Due to my dad’s job we moved a lot when I was growing up. My brother being 14 years older than I was had left home years before. It was like being an only child. Painfully shy, very tall for my age with older, strict parents, finding friends and gaining their acceptance was torturous. It took decades to get past that “on the outside looking in” feeling. Today I’m 65 and most people who know me as an outgoing, if-it’s-in-my-head-it’s-out-of-my-mouth kind of person would never recognize that awkward, mousy little girl.

    Interested in finding a writing community, I innocently joined Cowbird. Out of nowhere, I’m about to post a story and there it was again, that 12-year-old, shy, gawky, loner, everyone is going to make fun of me, knot in my stomach! For so many years I just wanted that little girl to go away and be quiet. But this time I see that she’s only trying to protect me from hurt. This time I thank her and tell her I don’t need protection. I tell her I can finally care for her. It’s her turn to be safe. I remind her of the fun we had playing make believe and she reminds me of the first story I wrote, Duffy’s Dilemma. I’m laughing out loud, no more knot and I’M REMEMBERING.

    Due to multiple sclerosis, I’ve had memory problems for years. It’s usually short-term memories; names, recent situations, routine tasks. As for memories of my childhood and early adult years, I have no or very clouded memories. For a long time I felt I was living as an amnesiac. But Marina S’ story, Pushing the Boat, got me in touch with the feeling these last few weeks that I was getting ready to give birth to a new me.
    Who knew I’d have so many midwives??

    A spotty memory sapped the joy out of writing. But Jaga’s posts let me know I wasn’t alone. His gentle spirit and creative whimsy showed me a writer/artist always finds a way to manifest his/her gifts. And Jean Claude’s tender concern and ability to use language like a painter’s knife, precise and simple but what profound images. B’s journey, so like my own as a young woman and, well a list too long. Accepting that I would probably never regain my memories, I chose to live in the margins of the page. What a thrill when after reading Barbara S’ story about stereotypes and a new homeland, I remembered working as a volunteer over 20 years ago at a girl’s reformatory. Details are a little sketchy but the memories are flooding in. I loved riding horses, took 14 years of classical piano, wanted to be a ballerina.... I am just giddy grateful.

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