I’m a writer with a nine to five job. Around two on Sunday I start thinking about Monday, the coming week, and how I will get through my list. In seconds the bulleted list of to-dos fills the imaginary page. Knowing there’s no way to accomplish everything I stop and focus on three tasks.
Back in my skin I am free to wander around my mind picking up stray thoughts, do light organizing, some purging, some introspection, some memory excavation, and some planning. It’s generally the only time of the week devoted to everything but writing. I’m alone with my inside thoughts about my life, the bustle and white noise, the looming manic Monday. Yesterday I spent the majority of this free time considering the people who make up the map of me.
The map of you… think of yourself as complex equation or tangled skein of yarn you work to solve and unravel from your first breath to the final one. Day in day out life will take and give, push and pull, exasperate and reward. You will trudge, excavate, build, blow up, rebuild, form, burst, paint, remodel, shift, give way to, surrender, and eventually learn and comprehend. Our maps are constructed from our experiences. We string randomly connected stories—squares of fabric we stitch together to form our life quilts—that make us the vibrantly colorful individual we are, and where we look for understanding.
It’s human nature to excavate. Memories are crack for the soul, or the fodder for a book. We become who we are because of what has passed and what we have lived through. It’s also our first port of call when we are embarking on a new adventure. All that we experience shapes our terrain, but it’s the relationships we form that have the greatest affect on our map.
Consider the mementos and people collected in a lifetime. People come and go. Not all stay the duration and the majority are simply guests in our lives—a lover, a mentor, or kindred spirit. They arrive unexpectedly, imprint upon our life, and then they are gone. Over time our surface becomes a richly textured three-dimensional map comprised of the individual encounters we choose and those we are gifted.
My daughter for example has my DNA, clearly I see me in her, but I also see Caitlin in me as if she were tattooed on my skin. The fine lines of my dermis hold her in me as it does all those people I’ve loved, lost, liked and un-liked, and enjoyed. Those I love and have lost—as a rule I have found that I do not un-love someone who is/was lost to me—are imprinted on me and contribute to the map of me. It’s every changing, my terrain. People slip in beneath my skin, sometimes forever altering my landscape, and often stay only a short time. I don’t ever truly recover when I lose or let go of another, but over time accept they become part of my map.
I can’t imagine who’d I be without the relationships I’ve had. I suspect my soul would be impoverished, the tapestry, colorless, and my map less vividly textured.
What about your map?
Probably a heady subject but what would Monday be without a little manic.