I was eight in Kentucky, visiting family that still lived in the double-wide trailer I was babysat at. It was blue with a water bed, where my cousins and I would watch Twister with our aunt, Tammy. I was at the mall and I didn’t hold my mother’s hand. For two hours I was lost, wandering around and navigating the shops that lined the main concourse. We probably circled each other’s paces like satellites. And when she saw me, she hugged me tight and promised not to let go.
Of course, it’s silly to promise things conditional on the human emotion, on circumstance and change. I left my mother when I was seventeen and she was never able to hold my hand again.
But we place reminders on ourselves to not forget to stay connected, grounded to the bluegrass roots that shaped us in one way or another. She used to leave me post-it notes on my dashboard to read before school and I still try to revive that tradition with an occasional text. It goes unanswered, lost to the lull of technological synapses between our generations. I have a reminder on my calendar for her birthday with a little heart next to the 14 and the days leading up to it are marked in my planner with “Don’t forget to buy the card”, “Don’t forget to mail the card”, “Don’t forget to call her.”
They’re all unnecessary insurance, anyway. I don’t plan on forgetting anytime soon.
But that’s how I am with many things, with all things, in some way. I like the insurance of planning, of making a to-do list and never marking anything off because it’s all finished before I even looked to it for guidance. That’s how I am with myself, with my body. I like to be organized, to have constant totems nearby to retrieve the inherent “me” that’s sometimes fogged by the daily coil of corporate life. I didn’t want this to happen with writing, something I’ve always valued within myself. I wanted to remember it as it was, and not lose it for two hours and come back scared. I wanted my talent to shine in a way that was nurtured and remembered like when your mother remembers your favorite dish for dinner after you haven’t been home for a year. I wanted to build a relationship with my writing, and I just needed a reminder to appreciate it while it’s still around.
My new tattoo is the Elder Futhrak rune Ansuz, which symbolizes the creative mind, the poetic soul, and the “god’s breath”. I wanted to hold it on my forearm and invoke that metaphysical energy during my day-to-day life and remind myself of the innocence of the energy that, when reduced by half like a marsala wine, just boils down to love.
still healing. don’t you love this quilt?