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  • “There is no burden heavier than an unfulfilled potential.” Charles Schultz

    Since I started writing on Cowbird, the years have been melting into moments like bubbles in a brook, fragile unique moments bursting open. The act of naming my own tragedies and triumphs has been empowering. No longer am I a mute victim. Language is making me whole. Lately, however, where I am always seems to sit in the shadow of where I’ve been and I find myself slowly sinking into the quicksand of what no longer exists. I’m the forgotten child left at the rest stop as the family drives away toward its destiny without me, the silent sister holding all their secrets. Now and then I revisit the rest stop to see if they’ve returned, hoping to find them frantically searching for some sign from me. I wonder if they’ve missed me yet. Who will they whisper to and how long before their days are filled with my absence? It’s the story I don’t know how to end and so I step away. I wander aimlessly about, dabbling in distractions.

    My natural rhythm has always been two steps forward, one step back. Often, I ignored the one step back because it felt like failure, like giving in. I didn’t see it as the opportunity to reflect on my course. I didn’t know it was a call to deeper understanding and so a deeper healing but it never comes without the challenge of searching out the still dark places inside. Lately, my writing well seems to be going dry. Today I know that doesn’t mean I’ve lost the ability to write. It doesn’t mean there are no more stories to tell. It means I need to dig beneath the topsoil of my creativity. I can continue to scratch the dried and cracked surface but then my truth erodes. As hard as I’ve fought to find and use my voice, I am willing to rest it in the silence of a search for the authentic me rather than echo the illusions of my past.

    One of the most repeated statements in my family was “That’s it. I’m out of here.” We lacked the tools to resolve confusion, conflict or pain so we walked out but we never learned how to leave. We never learned how to let go with love. We put miles between us, years between us and we created stories to justify or departures but we never learned to say goodbye and leave the door open. The skill of moving on without slamming the door is one I’ve spent a lifetime working to acquire. For me, closure doesn’t feel like moving from one chapter to another. It can still feel like burning the book.

    It’s time for me to take a step back from Cowbird and the Facebook group. Not so hard, just stop posting, take a break. Many of us have done that. But when I try to stop, all that family baggage pops up. The little girl says, “Shhh. Don’t say anything.” The adolescent me says, “Just stay.” The adult me says, “You’re making a big deal out of nothing.” And finally, after 65 years there’s an adult me that says, “You have a chance to learn to do it differently. Try it.” So I’m going to try to take that step back and spend some time exploring rather than dabbling in distractions. And when I get lonely, I’m going to remember the Cowbird neighborhood is only a keystroke away and I can visit anytime. I’m going to try to leave for a time without slamming the door.

    This community made the page a safe place for me again. You’ve embraced my efforts and showed the most important part of storytelling is listening. If I don’t listen, I can’t hear myself speak and I’ll have little worth saying. I’m going to go to my writing room now and try to listen for that still small voice. Please feel free to drop off gifts from your garden. I’ll need healthy nourishment. If you want to share a story, I know I’ll need a break now and then. Thanks for creating a safe place to grow.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/soraya-nulliah/5387259142/sizes/l/ Flickr Creative Commons
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