(Me & My Brother Danny…when I was six.)
When I was six, my Dad drove me to school one morning. On that drive, I sat in the passenger seat of his brown Toyota station wagon. Somewhere between our home and my school he told me that my mother and him were getting a divorce and that in a week, he would no longer live with us. I started crying. Then begging for this not to happen. Then I started hyper ventilating–a common occurrence of when I was young. But even though I was six, I remember that day very vividly. I remember the feel of the beige leather seats. I remember that it was a fall morning, and that the leaves were changing colors right in front of my eyes on the drive back home. I remember holding the handle to the car window in my hands so tightly then releasing it over and over. My Dad never dropped me off at school. Instead he made a u-turn and picked my brother up from his preschool. When Danny got in the car “we” broke the news to him. And Danny, only 4 years old, sat in the back. Maybe uncertain what it all meant, he didn’t say a word, he didn’t have a reaction. When all three of us arrived back at my childhood home, me hyper ventilating to no end, my mother was angry that my Dad told us. And there was probably yelling, another common occurrence of my childhood.
I remember I was wearing navy blue tights under my plaid dress, and I remember thinking that things were never going to be the same. I remember thinking those exact words as I looked around my bedroom, feeling at that moment for the first time in my life: real, terrible, heart ache.
For a very long, long time–my life, my actions, my choices, my relationships with men, with women, with authority, with God, with myself were completely defined by this moment that had literally spent decades in my mind–branching off with other miserable memories and experiences, but always rooted in this day when I was six.
But then, magically I turned 25, and I laid on the bathroom floor of my own apartment in urban Cleveland, Ohio. Naked, dizzy and weak from days without eating, and simply exhausted from falling into a deep, dark depression. About a month earlier, a man I was so sure, so positive was the one left me with his only words “I have lost interest in this relationship, Connie.”–and the stinging sound of the phone hanging up. I remember that moment. I remember the breeze that danced through my bathroom window like an inhale, and left me there as it exhaled back out. I remember the floor–it was the same shade of beige, like the color of the leather in my dad’s car…back on that day, when I was six. I remember squeezing my hand into a fist, and then releasing it–creating a web with my fingers. I remember thinking, that things were never going to be the same again. I remember thinking those exact words.
And it was those words and the familiar way they echoed through my whole body, that actually changed everything. I remember, in all my weakness…trying to get up. I remember thinking, because I feel this—ALL of this—that I am truly, 100% ALIVE. Fully Alive. As I walked around my duplex, in urban Cleveland, Ohio–I started to see things differently, and realized that I was far, far away from the time when I was six. I had made it this far. This was no longer my childhood bedroom, but rather a home I had created. This was no longer a relationship of my parents that I had to succumb to, but rather my life to form and paint into a masterpiece.
Finally, all of this pain, all of this suffering, all of the seconds that added up to create that one day, as I sat in my dad’s car when I was six, did not have to live with me anymore. I found that little girl, the day I got up from a deep, dark sleep. I found that little girl who used to hyper-ventilate, pull her hair out before she drifted to sleep, and painted in hopes someone would hear her screaming. I found that little girl, scared and frightened–because another person had left her. And I took that little girl into my weak and weary arms and promised to take her with me.
But I left all that other stuff behind.
Since that day, on the bathroom floor, I have been learning about her, that little girl who was once six. She really loves to paint, and stretch her body into the most amazing Yoga poses, and she dances every time she hears music, and loves to write, sometimes even late into the evening. She, once I wrapped my arms tightly around her, felt her heart branch into different hues of love, and she started to trust people, and laugh and giggle, and let herself sit softly into a relationship with a loving, wonderful man. She started to grow, and deepen in confidence and understanding of her soul. She started to forgive.
Yes, she started to forgive.
Peace & Love.