At some point in 2006, when the pain & the fear were sharp & deep, I felt an urgent urge to have photographs around me of myself from childhood. Images of that other me being happy, laughing around, playing, enjoying life. So I got some old pics from my parents’ albums, made copies, bought some photo frames and placed them with care in my bedroom & living room.
In one of them I am there in a close-up, my 4 year old face, so close to the lens that the image looks slightly blurred, showing such a big bright smile! I placed that photo right on my bedside table so I could see it when going to sleep, in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep at all and first thing in the morning when waking up. Looking at that little girl, focusing on that wide & open smile I could feel relieved & I also could ease the pain inside. I could not recognize myself in those eyes, face or smile. I felt so far away from her!! Miles away from that joy of living… But I kept telling myself: ‘I am that girl therefore she is within me. If I once felt that joyful & happy then I can recover those feelings, I can be joyful & happy again. I just need to cling to her. She is my hope & my life ring. I will get out of here with her help’.
All that happened naturally, through spontaneous insights & truthful conversations I was having with myself.
To complement the photos I also started to connect with her in other ways. I dedicated time & attention to recover memories & mementos of those times, remembering what she used to enjoy doing, what she was excited about, what feelings were moving her. I rescued her old collection of Gloria Fuertes’ books and looked through those surreal poems & lively illustrations, feeling her feelings of free fantasies & dreams.
I bathed near the shore, walking with my hands on the sand, building castles, spending time on the beach where she used to have so much fun. I felt like playing more so I dug out my bicycle & I also remembered that hula-hoop that she could keep spinning for minutes & got myself a big yellow one. I put her little gold earrings on & bought some fun hair bands to wear. I stared more at the flowers, the plants, the trees & the animals. I began to talk to them, admiring their colours & shapes, wishing them a great day. I started to look at babies & children with different eyes, recognising myself in them. It was amazing to see how they smiled at me, giving me funny faces. We were communicating! It was so magical & so true!
It was easy talking to her, asking what to do, which way to go. My girl always seemed to have the right answers, and when she didn’t, she always offered a wide range of options to choose between, so the answers to my questions where always laying somewhere within that palette of possibilities she showed me.
She cried when she had to without feeling ashamed. She hugged & kissed, jumped & sang. She sensed who wasn’t her type & moved away from those darker energies. She dressed up for fun & did silly things just for the sake of it. She used to love reading, writing, drawing, dancing & singing, swimming & riding her bicycle around in all sorts of adventures.
Slowly but surely that 4 year old helped me coming out of the darkness into a colourful world. Not that I left all the responsibility on her but it is fair to say that she did most of the job. She truly did so much for me in those difficult times!
Afterwards I’ve read & heard in many places statements such as ‘the solutions are within you; the potential is in you…’ Now I know that it is so true! I have the solutions; I know the why & the how. I just need to be connected with my inner self, with the child that I was and that I still am. She never left. She is always here, with me, she is not going anywhere anymore and I am not going to neglect her but care for her, love her deeply, listen to her, always taking her into account. She is my compass now, she knows and I truly believe that she is pointing in the right direction. Compasses always do, don’t they?
She used to perform ‘Bewitched’ at every party, standing up right next to the piano, holding always the eternal Champaign glass in one hand and her delicate golden pipe in the other. She didn’t have Ella’s sweet swing or Lauren Bacall’s elegant spell but she was beautiful and still so young… She could have learnt so much, given so much, felt so much more… However, she was so selfish every minute and she loved herself so very little! She chose to get lost and like that she lost everything she could ever be.
Hers was not the best journey but touching the ground is a relief after being drawn by the in darkness for so long. Only then she realised that she couldn’t go any deeper or harm herself anymore. The only way was up but she couldn’t take any exit. Pain lasted forever. Fear only a second.
From there she went to transit, wandering around again in the middle of a gray and unknown wet silent mist. She was on her own, looking for other paths, other places, hoping to find something better at the next destination, wherever it might be.
And at some point, in the middle of that limbo, the hope becomes certainty all of the sudden and she can see the end of the path clearly knowing that there, waiting for her, is the peace she is longing for.
Only then, when tasting that certainty, they greet her smiling with their deep almond-shaped eyes, wrapped in saffron and light with naked and wide open cinnamon arms, brimming with love and immense kindness, transcendent and pounding.
They embrace her, they tell her that all is fine the way it is, that there is a reason for everything, that she knows the way and only needs to follow her heart, the same heart that leaded her to her home, the place where she belongs. She is safe now. She made it. There is no music or noise, neither pearls nor laces. Here there is only a harmonious & great silence that covers everything, still leaving space for every single thing. She is sure about it now: this is home.
She cries overcome by emotion with tears of happiness because she finally gets to feel peace. There are no more doubts, no fear or pain. Just another chance, a new path to discover and those smiles guiding her forever…
I thought I saw you so many times… Walking on the street, at the supermarket, driving, on the beach, ordering a drink at the bar, queuing at the bank desk, wearing a suit & tie, swimming trunks, t-shirt & shorts… But it was not you. They were only people who looked like you and not even that sometimes. Quite often it was only my unconscious imagination looking for you in every face because I needed to see you in three dimensions and moving around. My heart was beating really fast for a split second, my pupils were faltering and all my senses sharpened in order to freeze that moment and to freeze you in it. Then it felt like floating in the mists of time & space. The world’s noises disappeared and it was only you and me there. But the bubble exploded so fast! A car horn, a child shouting, some music around and the magic spell wrecked just like that. So disheartening… My stomach then writhed in a huge knot and I only wanted to get home to find you there, even if it was only in two dimensions.
You came to see me a few times afterwards and my surprise was even bigger then, the fright was deeper and I felt scared. It was fear for seeing you looking so real and even after wishing it so badly so many times before. During your visits you always looked happy, healthy, smiling, showing a beautiful tan, dress in black or wearing that military green t-shirt that I used to like so much. Once I handled the fear I was feeling so happy to see you and I kept asking you questions while crying and staring at you. You smiled and answered all my queries always, even with silences. I could understand everything. There was no room for blame but only for doubts and help petitions that you were dealing with so generously. That’s why I wanted to see you more often, because those encounters were helping me so much! I wanted to choose when to meet again, make an arrangement somehow but I didn’t know how to do it, where could I find you, what to do to make it happen. So I could only wait for you to surprise me again. It was also very painful anyway when you vanished. It was only emptiness left then, the illusion of a transient and non-sufficient moment and loneliness again until who knew when… And then grief and anguish settled free on my chest.
Time passes by and we keep changing on the way. I hardly see you now and you don’t come here anymore. I think of you a lot, nearly every day and I do know that you think of me too. We are both better than ever and very possibly everything that happened was supposed to happen that way so we could reach this point today. I know now that I could not make it this far without you, without you leaving. I also know that you had another path to follow which was actually far from my own. But what a bliss to meet each other during that time! We learnt so much and we gave so many things to each other! I would never be able to thank Life enough for all that.
This month you would turn 44. It is going to be 6 years now since you left. And, by the way, that military green t-shirt of yours that I used to like so much is still wandering around the drawers :)