I’ve finally come out the other side of a week-long flu purgatory with my husband and daughter, and things are getting normal again. Last Wednesday – my first day back at work after being stuck at home in a fever-haze for almost five days – I couldn’t find my shoes.
I looked everywhere. I didn’t leave the house in five days, how could I not find them?!
I knew in the back of my absent-professor mind that they must be right in front of my very eyes somewhere, but still… I couldn’t find them. After rummaging for a while, already late for work and knowing I was swamped with email catch-up, I gave up and pulled out the first pair of shoes in our closet that I could feasibly wear with the wool socks I already had on: my chuck taylors from high school. I laced them up and ran to catch my bus.
I expected them to be tighter or smaller than my presently lost shoes, but no – they fit as reliably as they always have. A little worn-out, not a lot of arch support, but they did the job.
It felt weird to wear them after such a long time – I marveled that I still hung onto them.
I recently watched the strange Adam Sandler movie The Cobbler, where he becomes other people by putting on their shoes. I was feeling like the character in the movie – that I was encountering a magical portal, slipping into my high school self for but a moment, seeing things through her eyes.
What would she see? How was I different from that past period in my life? What would I be thinking and making of my life right now?
Who was that person?
They say you essentially change personas every seven or so years. Given it has been almost 15 years since I first bought those shoes, my Self I imagined I was slipping into was two personas ago. Two whole phases of my life ago. My, how things have changed.
But not all things.
I am still too self-critcal. I still spend most of the time in the clouds, and then assume I don’t possess the analytical thinking prowess of my peers because of it. I still get freaked out when faced with situations that are not what I planned out in my head. I wallow. My main mode of dealing with conflict is still guilt-trips, self-pity and avoidance. I’m still a slob.
But back then, in these past personas, I wasn’t aware of all these things. Now, I am much more self-aware.
I am still messy, but at least I recognize it and try harder. I recognize that I’m stubborn, and in the past didn’t step out of my mind-box willingly. I was just going with the ebbs and tides of social expectation. Floating along. Now I recognize that passivity, and perhaps try to direct with intention. Interact. Remind myself to engage and step out of the box.
I am at the core that same quiet day-dreamer as I’ve always been. Unchanged. But yet, as with all things, constantly becoming.
Like an agate I have been polished by the grains of time – to proudly wear my stripes and unique striations as clearly and colorfully as I can.
I am still made of the rough rock and minerals – the same as all the others around me. Originating at the same bedrock, made of the same igneous and sedimentary stardust.
Only now, polished and gleaming, battered and worn beautiful by the elements – I can more clearly see these colors at the core and let them shine through. And I’m only just beginning.