I used to think I was myself. I thought ‘self’ rhymed with elf and that worked for me because I felt easy around elfish thought and elfish being. But I was wrong. Whom I thought I was didn’t fit with city life around a mum who wanted to fit in and I did not. Oh, I am not saying I didn’t enjoy the cityness of city, I did at times but there was always a longing for what, for something I did not yet know, nor understand. I watched my friends happy (it seemed) in their environs, around the lifestyle their parents had forged and fought for and I turned green at their easy joy. Like an elf.
Moving on, because this is not about me at all. My baby sister is famous for her internal bubble and fizz. She is still just herself as she always was, but I do admit my watching her was through binoculars as she turned from girl to woman. Nonetheless, she was herself. You might, had you been there as we grew and flew, observed that, as the youngest of five and as a very feisty pint sized girl, she retained her identity, when others of us higher up the line might have bent and bowed in order to avoid parental judgements, admonitions and flying hands. I wouldn’t know. I wasn’t there. I was firmly married and dealing with all the upsydowns of such conjugality. She was not afraid to speak her self out, stand her ground but always gently, not like me. I doubt she ever slammed a door or tantrummed out or performed any other such taradiddle. Maybe she did but it isn’t in her eyes, not when I look. And those eyes are still brightly focussed and merry, ready for a twitch or a lift or a dance or a spontaneous hug.
Over time and troubles we have learned each other as grown women. Although we shared parents, her memories are not mine. I remember one evening when the three ‘Little Ones’ remembered something. I knew nothing of what or whom they spoke, their happy voices and smiles lifting like birds or butterflies into the room. I had gone by then, moved away from self and it thought me, thinks me now on my peregrination to self and it is as wavering and wandering as the word because if you have bent and bowed for most of your life, how can you easily find your own self? It also laughs me and fill me with chuckles because I know Self is out there somewhere and she will find me too, one day.
I digress. Sorry Birthday Girl. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for being so beautifully wild and strong. You little pipsqueak, you tiny powerful woman, you know your self. And I think I always loved that in you.