Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?

It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness; to sit on a rock in the forest and ask of himself ‘Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going? ~ Carl Sandburg

I received a journal with this quote and a picture of a beautiful lonely old Adirondack chair settled on a plain of gray stone on the cover.  I received it from my sister who, as I write this I am realizing, is always giving me journals with similar inscriptions.

One day, she noticed something new in her reflection. Something that had a light all its own. ~ Anonymous

You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost. ~ Martha Graham

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Now that I think of it, she even sends me media texts with pictures of folk art and modern art and graffiti and signs saying things like And then when she finally did jump, she realized she had wings…

You’d think she’s trying to tell me something.

You see, and she tells me this from frequent time to time, I’ve lost my mojo along the way.  My charm. My voodoo. My confidence.  I cannot say something as absurd as ‘I lost myself’ because I am only who I am at this very moment.  I am, that is, who I am to turn a phrase.

So, perhaps then, I am a woman without mojo.

No, that is not true.  How could I even say such a thing? I haven’t lost it, that mojo.  It’s just that it only glimmers here and there.  You see, I rarely cast my spells or cast my net or conjure my enchantress within.  However, she is in there.  She is. I know this. (And, I’ve been told, that she shimmers more often for others than, in fact, for me.)

I won’t go into the details, at least right now, of the trails and paths and alleyways that led me astray. I can only take ownership of the fact that I walked these paths, hiked these trails, wandered down these alleyways of my own volition and, like Hansel and Gretel, left little breadcrumb bits of myself along the way.

Now, I am trying to find the road back home.

Luckily, the robins and the sparrows haven’t pecked away every last part of me.  And, the witch, I recognize with even more luck, the one who has mortared the oven, and stoked up the flames, and rolled out the crust is me.  I am that witch.  The one who built the candied house and beckoned myself in.

And, right now, I am, due to life circumstance, going through a major transformation.  And so, I must shout through this difficult chrysalis phase Mojo, please, make oneself known!

I guess I should mention that a chrysalis, in my understanding, is a hard skin, often showy, and formed in the open.

Open I am.  Showy, at times.  The hard skin?  Well, I am working on it.

Hard skin mentioned, I will say, and perhaps this is a step toward mojotic enlightenment, I have learned to shrug off the cloak of wondering and worrying about what everyone thinks and looking outside myself for constant affirmation.

(Okay, close friends who are reading and are rolling their eyes and thinking that I have absolutely not shrugged that coat off yet, I will, for the sake of fairness, agree with you on some level.  Perhaps I have the coat off the shoulders and back and sleeves slipped down at least to the elbows.  I know what is in my heart and I have made progress, damn it, progress! By this parenthetical statement alone, I have proven that I am not completely there yet. But, hey…)

Within the last several months, I wrote a friend: Honestly… I’m not looking for approval… While, unfortunately, I still tend to second guess myself, especially when I feel people judge or disagree, I understand that, ultimately, I am the only one [living my life].  I’m working on trying to have faith in myself right now.  To have full confidence.  No one else can tell me what to do because they aren’t truly on the inside. And, frankly, no one else’s opinion should even matter.


Okay, so what the hell am I getting at?

I am supposing, I suppose, that the rebirth of mojo begins with a confidence in oneself.  With a heightened self-esteem and sense of self-purpose.  All of which I am working on enhancing.  Working on hanging tight with true me and not with worried, self-doubting, and self-damning me.

As Lucille Clifton (God bless her soul) writes: … these hips/are free hips/they don’t like to be held back… these hips are magic hips./I have known them/to put a spell on a man and/spin him like a top.

 (Please, please the unbutchered, full-length poem “Homage to my Hips.”)

I do remember, many years ago, being the sole dancer in the middle of a drum circle, in the middle of a park, in the middle of a city.  My dear, dear friend was sitting among the knees and elbows and hand drums listening to the man next to her whispering with reverence “look at that” while he looked at me.  This friend later claimed, and still claims, that the drummers began to follow my lead, my arms, my hips, and we were synchronistic and symbiotic and beautiful.  I remember it: the heat of the summer, my skirt around my thighs, my breath, my mind in perfect Shavasanistic limbo, and my heart and soul just one big rhythmic part of the web of the Universe.

I remember it.  Now, I must be it.

Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?

Oh we’ll see.  We’ll see.


1 Comment

  1. amy parrish said,

    May 12, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    awesome, emily, i’m happy for you and proud of you! you still definitely have that mojo, girl! totally in you!!

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