Who am I? It’s the question isn’t it? The one everyone asks? The one we can never quite answer because the answer is always changing?
I used to think I was ice, all my pieces frozen in stasis. Children change the most yet believe they are solid, whole, immovable. I found myself on back roads driving through green mountains. Late night diners and backwoods bonfires filled my nights, and these people would always be my people. I remember falling in love and knowing that I would love him forever, that our hearts would be bound like glaciers to the land, like skaters to rinks on Christmas Day, but we broke like crystals shattering under the pressure to change. Those people who were always supposed to be my people, they disappeared like capping ice plummets into frigid waters.
And me? I floated away on bubbles of difference, of new, of transformation. Like vapor, I realized that I was not who I thought myself to be, that staying frozen would never take me anywhere but right here. Like so many young adults, I drifted, a balloon on the wind, towards experience. I rode a bus across the country and fell in love with a voice. I lived in a dozen houses and worked a dozen jobs. I was nothing and everything. I was searching and finding and letting go. Such transience, such impermanence, I was dust and mist and fog, and it was as though nothing could change because everything was changing.
So what am I now? What have I become now that I am no longer frozen, no longer drifting? I stand on this solid ground of society’s expectations, of marriage and career, but I am not still. I am not frozen. No longer do I twist at the whim of the wind, yet I’ve chosen these tethers that bind me to this fluid course. As rivers carve canyons from the strongest of rock, I flow, move, undulate by choice. I can feel the power to change inside my limbs, and I know that now, I am free. At times, I am placid, a slow spot in the midst of raging waters. I make sensible, safe choices, yet I know I can rage and roil, ebb and flow. I am all of who I was and every part of those who made me.
Change in stasis is identity. I am who I was at the same time I am something new. The ability to freeze or float or flow–it’s what makes me strong and stable, fleeting and free, quick and capable. I don’t know if I’ll ever truly know all the facets of myself because I am the past, the present, the future all at once, and I think I’m okay with that.
Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge–Ice, Water, Steam