When I was in high school for a time I did speech and debate. It’s not what you’re thinking, I wasn’t there to sharpen my argument tactics and skills, I was there to let a part of me out that had a hard time existing in the confines of an upper class high school. I did forensics, it was a form of debate where in ten minutes you performed characters and voices and told a story. I loved telling those stories and I could perform parts of me that were goofy, silly, nervous, over the top, incredulous, funny, nerdy. I could inhabit a space, if only for a moment, where a part of me could shine, or sometimes a part of me that doesn’t really exist could exist in that fleeing moment. Leaving a resonance in time, continuing forward, leaving it’s mark on the universe. It’s not so different from what we do here, in our social media. I send a message to the world and while it only resonates with a reader for a moment, it leaves parts of itself and becomes a part of the fabric of the network.
Those resonances, in concert with each other, change us, heal us, give us hope.
I’ve been short on hope lately. It seems the horrible decisions of surgery and radiation are left in the dust of more emotional undertakings. My head still hurts and I still feel pain, but the pain has transformed from something that scares me into the grateful realization I am alive each morning, giving me hope and resilience to think I’ve made it another day, into something a little less glamorous, something mundane and domineering. It’s habitual and it’s chronic. It’s a part of me just like my arms and legs are parts of me. It’s boring. It lost it’s uniqueness and the gratitude that came with it. And with that loss and that formation into habit the whole part of me that I thought would always stick in my mind as the hardest part of life has faded into the background and become such a commonplace part of my narrative. In it’s place it is replaced by emotional turmoils that are much less straight forward. But the resonances of those “brain tumor moments” are there and new moments are created everyday. And still are the resonances of my time performing parts of me in forensics.
When I did forensics I performed a collection of poems by Shel Silverstein and I was reminded of the resonances of that today when a friend reminded me not to silence the innocent dreaming girl inside me. I’ve been short of hope lately and this gave me hope. It was the poem I started with, and the only one I still have memorized from that time 12 years ago. The poem is Where the Sidewalk Ends and I can still here the echo of my young voice thoughtfully, slowly reciting it in such a measured way…
There is a place where the sidewalk ends and just before the street begins
There was a cadence to the way I spoke each word, a wisdom, a sense of peace.
and there the grass grows
It was steady, I steadily left a mark on the universe, a little piece of me, performing a little piece of something else, and it would go out into the world and there, it would mean something, to someone, somehow, in some way.
There is a place where the sidewalk ends, there is a place for us to imagine, there is a place for us to inhabit with all the light and love that this world doesn’t always honor.
Peace and love,