Monday, June 30, 2014

The Legacy of a Lady

I had just come home from yet another 2 week psych hospital stint, this time in Orange County. Leading up to this past one, I had been falling deeper and deeper into the hole again. I was familiar with the hole. I could still see the places where I'd tried to claw my way back out over the years. But this time was different. I knew I wasn't coming out of this one. While I was in the hospital, I was attacked with an onslaught of new PTSD memories and I spiraled out of control. My brain turned on me. My body turned on me. I didn't eat. I couldn't think. So I did what I could.

I cried.

And wrote.
And cried.
And sketched.
And wrote.

The more I wrote, the saner I felt. The saner I felt, the less blurry life became. By the time I left the hospital in late May 2014, I knew I'd have to keep writing if I wanted to stay afloat. “I might even be able to do this for a living,” I thought with a tiny ray of hope.
I'd never felt real hope; just that 3AM 'of COURSE I can clean my whole room now!' manic hope.

I came home,
somewhat content, and settled down to the arduous task of checking 2 weeks of social media messages, emails, and world news. Everything seemed pretty norm-Legendary author Maya Angelou dies at age 86”

My heart stops and I blink. Just...blink. What? But...I wasn't ready! And before I can prepare myself or even open my mouth to swear in shock, I just sob uncontrollably for 10 minutes. I can't contain it.

My rational brain, which is currently on break as I gasp for air, thinks, “Well, she was quite elderly, and she had been ill...she lived a long, good, full, loving life.”


I think back to my
formative years spent with my grandmother, and seeing Maya Angelou's books always front and center on her shelves. I think of Dr. Angelou's story and how she freed herself from her self-imposed childhood silence; how she went on to become a literary icon and true trailblazer. I think of my grandmother and the woman she encouraged me to be, and still does 13 years after her passing; how she worked tirelessly to improve her community and uplift its people. I think of these strong women and I think, “...where are you going?! Y-you can't go yet! I will mess this up so bad!!!”

I'm not ready to let go of
my role models. I've finally begun my journey to discover my own voice, silenced by my own traumas. I'm discovering new ways to help my community. But I still feel as if I need them there, holding my hand and paving the road so that I am more comfortable. I have to remember, though, that just as they had to let go and go on to inspire the world around them, so will I. I wasn't prepared for my grandmother to die when I was 12. There was still so much more me to learn at her knee. I wasn't prepared to lose one of my biggest creative and personal icons this year. It scares me to death.

My grandmother holding me as a baby. No, I don't know how old I was. Age: baby? *shrug*

Dr. Maya Angelou

But apparently, it's time to be ready.

No comments:

Post a Comment