My past follows me in gentle shadows, now and again thinning or thickening, lagging or hastening to match the steps of my present. I’ve not noted until this very moment that my shadows have been in back of me, in front of me, beside me, emerging from my feet or torso or head.
In my early adult years, I strove to shake the shadows, run fast, stay in the shade, escape what I thought were haunting creatures instead of benevolent reminders of how I came to be. The men, the moves across town, state and country, the tears, depression, mood and physical challenges, the constant muscle tears of trying over and over to rebuild, remake and forget. But my shadows remained.
I resented them. Their presence nagged me to recall childhood, old wounds and fear. Their unsettling shifting caused me to feel split, never at home no matter where I went. “You can’t run from your problems. They follow you,” I told myself.
Honesty finally convinced me to embrace my shadows because, at heart, I am an honest person. I had to admit I had problems, which was disconcerting because now, as a mother and a provider, I had to care for my children. My children came first, which left almost nothing for me. I had to mother myself.
Mothering myself and my children simultaneously has not been easy, but as I have matured, meditated, learned, I have become better at it. And I see my children, living shadows, grow and stretch before me, holding my hand as we all move to a better place in life.
I have hugged my shadows on more than one occasion.
Last year, I took part in the "Letters of Gratitude" course during which we were tasked to write 30 letters on 30 different topics until we reached a place of thankfulness. Above is my 12th letter.