© 2018 by James Encinas

jAMES eNCINAS

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Jun 18

A Certain Uncertainty: The New "Story" of My Life

9 comments

Edited: Jun 20

The new story of my life is neither new or a story. It’s truth.

 

In the shape of my new days I’m now filled with easy love where my labored lungs are able to exhale without effort. I’m singing the song of play, and joy, and bounty.

 

The story of my life is not a script that needs to change. I’m done ripping at roots, transplanting flowers, and finding new seeds. Now, my hand are in the dirt to feel and remember that the nutrients are already here, were always there - nothing is missing.

 

My life is not a syllable-filled story. It is muscle, bone, and matter. It is blood and cells and heart-bursting life force.

 

My past is not just tragedy, fiction, or a police report where my self is overpowered and I am made a stranger or character actor in my own home.

 

I'm no longer burdened by intrusion, insensitivity, or violation of others - which does not mean I forget or am not impacted.

 

I recoil at the notion that my life is a story I just need to describe differently, as though facts and history can be glossed over with happy thoughts or different words. What of accountability, facts, and justice? What of clarity as the rock-hard foundation and truth-telling as bridge to building new pathways where moving over and moving on is possible?

 

There’s nothing wrong with me.

 

The story of my abuse does not bring up shame in me. In fact, it’s not even my own. It belongs to my abuser, and their abuser, and so on. I’ve been impacted. I understand that and complexity.

 

People are sometimes careless, cruel, messy and criminal. People can be tie dye shirts in the washing machine bleeding out onto anything and into everything in their shared orbit.

 

Sometimes tragedy is the result of sharing the same cycle as someone spinning out. It’s not always personal.

 

Humans are the ones who wash and the ones to be washed. We are the ones who dirty and the ones who get dirtied.  

 

I’m not an either or an or.

 

I know who I am, where I am, what I’ve lived, and lived through.

 

I also know people can change.

 

I take no responsibility for what was done to me but that does not mean I don’t remember it all or take responsibility for creating a world filled with less pain.

 

I will not forever be at war with my life, my symptoms, myself or my past.

 

I'm tired of scribbling out the same lines, crimes, deeds, and stains left tattooed in and on me.

 

I'm also aware that I have left marks and scars on others, that I am a person who has, in m pain, left scar on others.

I’m going to give back the pain that does not belong to me. I'm going to return the pain that was acted out on me and let it go. I'm going to take up the pain I have caused others and tend to that. I'm going to own myself, even my own mistakes, but not more so that my soul can soar.

 

I'm more than old or new, broken or healed, weak or strong. It's not a new me I need to be.

 

In my dreams, I am fluid, flexible, and free. I am running out towards the light and unafraid to be seen. Even the pen as my sword I can sometimes put down long enough to dream new dreams.

 

Today, I want only a spoon to feed myself with. Today, I’m hungry for a fork sharp enough to stab the dreams on my plate. Today, I want to feed on hope so I can savor, delight, devour and taste it all without leaving behind crumbs, juice, or regrets.

 

There is bounty enough for all of us. I want my biggest stress to be about where and how to share abundance.

 

I have always been and will remain - underneath it all. Dirt is older than pain. The soil, the land, the earth, my soul is ever present for the returning to.

 

Note: This free-write was posted yesterday on my Heal Write Now blog and here today. The title of this piece came from a writing prompt given by Donna Jenson during one of her online writing circles in which I've been an eager student.

 

I've been in a strange and new place where I've felt my own voice changing when it's always been clear, strong, and singular (even when I've not felt those things). Now, my voice is a bit wobbly as my center feels more firm. It's not writer's block as much as it is writer's unblock.

 

My feminist fury, rage at injustice, and my mid-life spirituality are all figuring out how to co-mingle and co-exist in my psyche, soul, and skin. And there's also more space. Maybe forgiveness, compassion, confusion? I'm not even sure. I still don't totally sound like me, even to me, and I've decided to share the writing anyhow because it's writing in transition. We don't have to be all the way to wherever there is to say where we're at right now.

 

This image is of a bag I bought at a store recently. Five years ago, when I started Heal Write Now, "be the author of your story" was my tag line and it seemed radical to me. Now, those exact same words don't speak to me the same way.

 

Here's where I am today. I am uncertain about certainty. I am certain about uncertainty.

 

Dearest, and most priceless, Cissy ~~~ thank you for your eloquent, insightful, and wise post! Your innate gift of bringing words to life and creating visions through language is profound. Inspired by the depth of your words, you've captured "transition" with grace, courage, and kindness.

You really are so kind, loving, and supportive Dana! Thank you.

Cissy, Cissy... your post conjures so many thoughts for me! I remember when conducting the Full Frame Initiative workshops and asking people - women for the most part - about a moment of joy in their lives, and their often surprising responses that they had assumed they would be asked yet again to tell the story of their abuse (not focus on a positive, happy moment in their lives). How they had been asked so many times to tell that story of abuse, as if the story was who they are. Your post reminds me of these women as more fully human - and your post makes me think that even the stories of happiness can be mistakenly overblown because they are mere words, too.

 

"People can be tie dye shirts in the washing machine bleeding out onto anything and into everything in their shared orbit." Now THAT is a metaphor with some traction! Not one I will forget any time soon. You describe so powerfully the ways in which people often have an uninvited and "can't get it off of me!" impact on our lives that we are forced to have to deal with. It takes some kind of strength, dogged determination and stubborn will to wash it off, or better yet, find a way to blend to something more resilient and yet something still genuinely you.

 

I rejoice with you and I mourn with you, Cissy - we live with and in both, don't we? Thank you so much for having the courage to speak authentically from you soul, so powerfully! I/we hear you. I/we see you.

Audrey: Thanks for taking the time to read, and to comment, and to react. It touches me. We do rejoice and grieve and grow and know things we often wish maybe we didn't. And YES to the joy questions, to the hope, to the dreams questions and the questions that assume deep wisdom already available that we ALL have.

Warmly, Cis

Jun 20

Cissy, thanks so much for your beautiful words and insight. I love the way you capture the human condition in all its light and shadow. Yes, people can change and do. Yes, hurt people hurt people. In the end, though, I am the only one I can change. I am the only one who can change my own story and not allow my pain to define me. I am the only one who can vow not to hurt others the way I have been hurt. There is so much hope and truth in the following: "I have always been and will remain — underneath it all. Dirt is older than pain. The soil, the land, the earth, my soul is ever present for the returning to." Thank you for sharing your "wobbly" changing voice with us!

Garrett: Thank you for tender reading and sensitive commenting. I was telling James that it's lovely to share writing in this form for this very reason. Thanks for sharing what resonates. I too find dirt being older than pain hopeful, and had my hands in my own dirt this weekend weeding! I'm grateful for this community James has helped create. Cis

Dearest Cissy - As I've shared with you, this piece for me is poetry. It takes us to places that only poetry can, that only the language of the soul can reach. I've read it as I've learned to read poetic work - finding a line that resonates, sitting with that line and allowing it to inform me. "I have always been and will remain - underneath it all. Dirt is older than pain. The soil, the land, the earth, my soul is ever present for the returning to." So beautiful! A truth that helps me understand that I am more than the sum of my experiences. That the moments of sorrow and joy in my life have informed who I am but don't define who I am. That I am, that we are, so much more. The great Japanese writer Haruki Murakami said, “Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.” Thank you for sharing your soul. For helping us to see that life is complex, that it can be brutal and often is, but that at the same time it can also be, so beautiful as to leave you, in wonder.

I know we've talked James. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS line. I love it and have never heard it or read this writer (so thanks for that as well).

 

Japanese writer Haruki Murakami said, “Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.”

 

Oh, you dear people, you! I'm having to hold back tears of gratitude in the public space of a terminal at the airport in Austin, TX because of a re-read of this post...and all your wise, kind, insightful, supportive comments. The love I feel in my heart right now will carry me (better than Southwest Airlines) to Washington, D.C. When I get to that city, I will do whatever it takes to plant with each step the energy of that feeling...the feeling of love for humanity...that you all have assisted in creating. Thank you, all. And, thank you James. (An aside: When I opened a glass door at a Hudson-type of shop in Phoenix to purchase a bottle of water for my immediate journey, that door swung wide! It completely folded back over the next door--one where a man was contemplating the beverages there. I said I was sorry...but he smiled wide and said, "You're stronger than you think you are!" My friends, we are stronger in love, stronger together, than we ever were before.)

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