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portrait of a woman

Who am I?

Where am I going?

Who am I taking with me?

I used to think I was a woman in possession of my own power based solely on the fact that I was in flames and perpetually flamboyantly angry and crazy. If I could flatten you with my rage then it meant I had a voice.

It was a step for me certainly. Coming from a little girl with no voice. Coming from a young woman with no real outlet for an intensity that was like holding back the waves.

St. Genevieve - the guardian of water was I. An entire ocean in a thimble and don't you dare spill an ounce. It's no wonder that it all came pouring out one day, that it rained for three years - all those characters unpinned and grinning from the backs of the cars in front of me, long deep sleeps on the living room floor in my towel and migraines and spinning worlds and sparkling lights and cut thighs and cut hair and bruised arms and a diet of tootsie rolls and no feet beneath me.

I used to think if I died my hair, or painted in enough scabs, or took enough naked pictures or drank enough wine or smoked enough cigarettes or read enough books or made enough money or made enough boys that I would be finally in possession of myself.

And still no feet beneath me.

There is a woman who has come into my life. I have always known her but here she is in flesh and blood brought, no less, by husband and I am shocked outside myself. She is a flaming red headed sixty year old beauty with disc earrings. She has a career and a house in her own name and a daughter and a life on her own two legs. She is alone with brief encounters - the way she chose it. She is the first I have ever met that can tell me what it is I have been trying to tell myself.

She leaned forward this morning - and she told me to own my power. An ironic statement because I tell it to everyone because I am afraid to realize it is what I need to tell myself. Because I haven't known what it looks like.

That night just after giving birth, the woman doctor had shaken me gently from sleep to tell me my girl was dying. Husband was out of town. I was terrified. I had a dream that told me everything I was in for.

I woke the following morning - and stood on my own feet for the first time in my life, and began the journey.

So now I am sitting at the office and I am going through the motions and beneath it I am asking myself over and again -

Who am I?

Where am I going?

Who am I taking with me?

Because I am a sailor, and I am going out to sea and I have set aside the one who pokes holes in the boat, and I have set aside the one who is perpetually sea sick and I have set aside the one
with a life raft at the ready.

And I am taking this ship by the wheel. And I am taking this one with me and that one also. And I am not a lone woman with brief encounters. I am a lone woman with one very long and beautifully unwinding affair.

With a short bit of alone with brief encounter at the end.

I think today I will build a bridge between our two houses and invite him in for some coffee.

12:56 p.m. - 2007-10-23


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