When I was a girl, perhaps 6 or 7, I recall watching the suffering of others. I had a friend with Cystic Fibrosis. I watched her battle her illness. I watched people cry after losing a spouse or a child in death. I watched relationships end and the subsequent hurt that unfolded. My life was very sheltered from all of this. My mother made sure of that. But my heart longed to understand this suffering. I wanted to know what all these experiences felt like. I wanted to know grief. I wanted to know illness. I wanted to know suffering.
Perhaps in my childish mind I thought that suffering garnered one a level of sympathy or attention. But even deeper than that, I just wanted so much to feel the aliveness that these people exuded. Even at a young age, I felt so disconnected from life, from what seemed to be the reality of other people's existence. Between my mother and the religion, a bubble was created for me to live in. But that bubble also kept me from fully experiencing myself, the breadth and depth of what it meant to be human. And so, I feel as though I made an unconscious pact with the universe, a silent prayer, if you will, to understand suffering, to become real.
Looking back through the Rubbermaid archives, I am struck by the next question that appeared in my young mind. "What is love?" I would continually ask in my teen journals. How do I find it? How do I hold onto it? What does it look like? Feel like? How will I know it? Does it last forever? And it seems that once again, I created a universe within which I could explore these wonderings.
Now, I have this blog as a testimony to my ongoing journey into the question, "Who am I really?" And life, once more, presents a vista of experiences against which I test the mettle of who I am. Each day I look in the mirror and wonder about that person staring back at me. Who is she really?
As I approach my 34th birthday, I cannot say I have definitive answers to any of these three wonderings, but I can say that I have lived these questions fully. Perhaps that is enough.