Gaia guides me, helps me value my memories and my Self — through Her kind and loving eyes I see the me of my story before memories and moments are stolen; She grounds me through the trees nodding in affirmation and recognition, and the path welcoming my footsteps, and the dogs looking to me for guidance and love. Full Circle. When I step into woods, I feel Her embrace and Her love holds my memories as sacred, as mine; my soul is nourished, our spirits are One. Gaia sees me as me. And She tells me to write into my own infinity …
If I don’t make the effort to tuck away my treasures, the essence of each moment’s quenching of thirst, the healing well, can be drained by those who presume to know what I meant … they steal the memory and put their own spin on it and I wonder if I’m crazy — ! Did I recall a fantasy, a story crated in my mind or was it real?
To write is my way of putting a lid* on the memory, to wrap it up with a ribbon so that I can say: this is what I felt, thought, sensed, knew. No matter what anyone else may say or think, the memory has become real — it is my memory, not someone else’s.
I have barely any memories of childhood, of being part of my family’s life, of my socially active early twenty-something years — all the people around me sucked my memories away and made them their own, and I wasn’t quick enough or mature enough to realize I needed to write it down, that I needed to be the scribe of my own life or it would appear that I was merely a footnote, an addition, an accessory to someone else’s life and memories. My wispy memories are of a solitary child playing in the barn with cats, of watching roly-polies for what seemed like hours, of twirling alone on the green grass in an old square dance dress until, dizzy, I drop to the ground in my Gypsy fantasy.
Later, the longer I lived alone, the more memories I have retained, through writing in my journal and scripting the story in my mind — consciously pausing to write my story before someone snatched it away and said “no, you aren’t remembering right — it happened this way.” The space, a pause, a few moments of solitude and stillness are needed to set my memories firm, to establish their home in me.
They didn’t intend to steal my memories, or my innocence, or my identity. They simply assimilated the events into their own story — like The Blob in that old horror movie — and I disappeared, became a mass of bone and flesh without a sense of Self. And I do own my part in giving away my self away. But who was I if my memories weren’t here? Most people set such store by the importance of past — of memory — and my past was someone else’s footnote.
Only a discipline – writing – within solitude’s grace, the solitude I again came to know as my long lost identifier in a deeply rooted core of being, only then were my recent and new memories allowed to remain with me — they weren’t stolen away by good intentions of control or a foreign persona of deception.
Write, write it down, write everything down before someone can abscond with my experiences and create their own version of my story, my life. I hear it revised and rewritten whenever I visit family, so hard to hold onto it. Who I am disappears into someone else’s memory of who I was and my young nieces don’t see or know me — they only know the person I was supposed to be or the me who disappointed authority. I disappear into someone else’s memory — I don’t recognize that person they talk about, that me in their memories. But since my memories of the early years are gone, I cannot contradict, I can only shrink a little further into the bubble of my dimming aura, contract in so that no more memories are extracted. If I don’t speak, my voice cannot be stolen. Write it down; become the story in the pages, preserved a little while longer than would happen if the fire blazing through vibrant personalities made me disintegrate.
Now in my fifth decade, when I am with other people, silence preserves my voice from being distorted … I listen, feel, think, and then later write into wholeness of Being. Not to be chained by ego, but to recover and know my own soul in the world.
Are there other people with stolen memories?
Without abundant water and earth, is is possible I fear the desert fire and air will try to steal my memory — my identity — if I let go of my resistance to its intensity? I nearly lost it once in the desert already …
The desert is another face of Gaia. I’ve always trusted Her loving presence. Maybe it’s time to have faith that even in Her most fierce form — the Fiery Desert — She will keep me growing, safe, whole. She has nurtured as the North Woods, She has inspired as the Rocky Mountains — what is Her gift to me as the Sonoran Desert? She’s never stolen my memory before, why would She do it now? Unless … would She do it to teach me that I am more than my memory?
*The portal for the above was Emily Dickinson’s poem (#1266), drawn at random:
When Memory is full
Put on the perfect Lid —
This Morning’s finest syllable
Presumptuous Evening said —
I have also been reading When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams, and I know her essays influenced my direction toward contemplation of voice.