Thursday, January 10, 2008

Process of Integration

I am a swirls tonight.

I am past and future present.

I visit today the place where I worked when I first left college. My first adult job when I was little more than a child stuffed with too much philosophy and too much ego. Opinionated, broken, mangled girl who starved, begged, borrowed, stole to keep a job in which my annual yearly salary was less then seven thousand dollars.

I loved that job.

When I was finished I was finished and was sent away. And away. And away. I found nothing and distance. Distance. 6,000 miles between me and my past. All of my past.

Today I sit with faces that feel like friends, and family, masks not masks, real people that I see as more real now than once before. Their reality frightens me, and fills me, engulfs me. Home and not home. It is the feeling I have when I think about family. Today was my family reunion and I don't know if I succeeded or failed.

Shy, she is. Sara is too shy. She is withdrawn, where is the opinioned, the foolish, brilliantly vulgar? She is demur, she is apologetic. I watch this creature from without, watch as she casts her eyes away in conversations, bows her head at the slightest eye contact, reacts as a stranger. Her interactions are foreign and mark her as other. She is a stranger at home, afraid in her own skin. Her interactions are unnatural and forced. She has forgotten how to be natural. I don't like this Sara that I watch. And here she is. All grown up spineless.

I am not this, and I am.

There is no comfort zone here. Where is my place of being?

Force the proper cultural norm. Remember you are an American above all, vulgar, course, unpredictable.

And I'm not.

I visit today the first place that employed me seriously, the place that made my career, I see the perfection, I see the faults. I see time failing to march on. I see me failing to march on.

Why am I here?

Why will I go again?

Rain falling cold in the city damps my head and makes me uncomfortable so I pop into a convience store as I run down the streets of the loop towards Michigan avenue. The store is crowded huddle of rush hours trying to get out of the city dry. All stopping for the same purpose. I pick and umbrella, it is bright and red to counter my mood and the darkness of the storm that is falling on the city, the wind, the cold, the damp on my head.

"Bright red for the young lady," says the friendly old black teller from behind the counter.

I smile shyly and avert my eyes. I show him respect.

Before I reach the counter I know I have done something wrong. My interaction is mispaced for this now. I am out of step.

How do I mix in all the swirls, will it come with time, or will I continue insolvent?

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