When I first started this blog in 2005, I wrote about a particular sense of melancholy that would sometimes descend on me.
Tonight, it found me again.
An old acquaintance sent me a picture of myself at 22 today.
After the moments of internal commentary/entrained-critique subsided (“OMG, what a baby!” “How pale!” “What was I thinking with that haircut? Didn’t I know my forehead was enormous?”), I found myself searching that face for any sign of resonance to who I am today.
I was struck by how vulnerable that person looked, and how open. I think that’s still true of me. I think I’ve jettisoned the tendency to cover that vulnerability with the cockiness I see in this photograph.
Then, I thought back to the big ideas and dreams of that cocky little butch dyke 22-year-old, and for a moment, I felt completely inadequate to her view of the future.
Logically — rationally — I know that I’ve done a lot in my life. Some people express amazement at the range of skills I’ve developed, the jobs I’ve held, and the various businesses I’ve created and maintained, but still . . . . I know, deep in my heart, that I haven’t really touched the edges of my potential . . . . or her dreams.
That’s what brought up the melancholy for me. As usual, it was sweet and painful at the same time.
Then I opened my email inbox and read a communication from someone telling me how important what I’ve been doing in recent years has been for them.
It didn’t change the feeling that I had, but it added something — I realized that, while I haven’t really touched the edges of my potential, and I haven’t filled out the immensity of that 22-year-old’s dreams and visions, I’ve also done some things she never dreamed of.
I’m grateful to feel this sadness and to touch these places in me. I didn’t know that this was what I was hoping for when I took the month away from the routine, and if I had known, I’m not sure I would have welcomed it, but I’m welcoming it now.