Friday, July 16, 2010

Now I Become Myself

Now I become myself. It’s taken Time, many years and places,

                        I have been dissolved and shaken,
                         worn other peoples faces,            

Run madly, as if Time were there,
 Terribly old, crying a warning,
“hurry, you will be dead before ——”
(What? Before you reach the morning?
or before the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)

     Now to stand still, to be here,
      Feel my own weight and density…..
      Now there is time 
       and time is young,

O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move
I, the pursued who madly ran,

                   Stand still, stand still and stop the Sun!
                                            ~May Sarton~

I feel like this is the perfect poem for my life now. For so long, I've been tormented by anxiety and depression and I'm not fooling myself that those won't be constant companions on my journey. But, I love the lines  "Now I become myself. It’s taken Time, many years and places."
I'm forty-six years old and I sometimes stop believing I was ever a "maiden" in her twenties, excited, always running to something new, and then I was married at age twenty-three, which I shudder to think about, because at that time, I still had dreams of the perfect family. I was going to have one no matter what it took because I was denied my dreams of a fantasy childhood. I mean really, who has had one? I'd like to meet them. But from my marriage I was given the most precious gift I would ever receive . Even though I became divorced three years later I had my son. I became the "Mother." Full of abundance, a new type of sensuality I could never have seen in my twenties and yet full of sorrows being a single mother. Along with the wonders, I also gained a new anxiety for the safety of my son, that most mother's develop when they have a child. 

Whenever I imagined, my son, Alexander hurt in any way, I would be thrown into this deep, dark, dry well of fear and stay stuck until I somehow climbed out. Much like "Cassandra from Troy" I started to "run madly, as if Time were there, Terribly old, crying a warning, hurry you will be dead before...." My son and I struggled together emotionally with him projecting all his anger and sorrow from an alcoholic, unavailable and unstable father onto me. It's only lately within the last few years that I can forgive myself for not being able to provide what he so desperately needed and wanted,  for his idea of a perfect childhood. He also acknowledges that I did the best I could and he told me, I was one of the only constant things in his life and I continue to fulfill that touchstone for him.  I haven't learned to stop the sun, but I'm not burned up with fear and paralyzed that I'm eventually going to be a crone. Being a Crone will bring it's own wise and wonderful rewards. That's why it's so important to have mentors and to be a mentor to others, to remind yourself of all the blessings and lessons it took to be where you are today.

Where are you in your life? Are you running or have you finally been able to catch your breath and know that life is good?

  May Sarton one of my absolute favorite poets, so if you love poetry full of images and magic, check out her works.

And if you have any poets that you like, please let me know as I love poetry!
Blessings to you all....



mxtodis123 said...

Oh, how I can identify with this. I'm older than you...63...and don't even believe I was ever a maiden in her 20's. After living my early 20's is a state of rebellion I married a man, not out of love, but out of fear that I was failing to make it on my own. All in my head, of course, but I believed it at the time. My two wonderful sons came from that marriage so, as much as I look back on it as a bad time of my life, it was, in fact, a gift.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

What a wonderful poem! I read one of May Sarton's novels once, but I'm not overly familiar with her poetry. You've encouraged me to check it out further!

Lyn said...

Wonderful post, Wendy. My 20s were really turbulent and like you I had a gift of sons from a failed marriage. I think I'm finally catching up with myself - coming to a peace and an understanding with what's gone before and what I can become now. Not always easy - ghosts of the past seem hard to exorcise but I'm getting there (and isn't that what counts?).

JJ Beazley said...

This is all familiar to me, Wendy. Different circumstances, of course, and maybe a different, male perception. But fathers worry like that about their daughters, too. And the idea of a 'stolen' or 'lost' childhood is very potent, but I don't think it need be. It's all relative.

You're at exactly the age I was when I went through a massive change in my perceptions about life. But is one life the whole picture anyway?

A lovely post.

Wendy said...

Mary, it's never too late to embrace the "maiden" aspect of each of us, no matter how old you are and I'm sure you were a maiden, just in a different way. Thank you for your comment.

Debra!! It's so good to hear from you, I've missed your blog posts and definitely check out more from May Sarton. I've never read any of her novels, so I'll have to check one of those out.

Lyn, thank you always sweet friend for commenting and your sharing your life with me. We've both been to the school of hard knocks and have a few bumps on our heads to show it, but as you said, "isn't that what life is about?"

Jeff, I'm always flattered when you comment as I value your insights and peeks into your soul. You're absolutely right, this is not gender specific and the archetypes for the male in some schools is the "knight" "king" and "wizard" instead of the "Maiden, Mother and Crone." And yes, some fathers definitely have that same fear and concern. My father being one of them.


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