Sometimes I do not want to tell my story. I sit there listening to everyone else’s description of their old neighborhoods or how such-and-such relative said yes or no to change. My silence becomes stuffed with assumptions of how my story is told.
Once, I sat with a group of women outside on a terrace. Protected from the sun’s beams, each went around the circle and told how location raised us all. Country borders had brought a few of them to realize how their lives could have been dramatically different. They could have nursed multiple children, but instead they sat in iron chairs comparing philanthropic discussion. The privileges blew clouds above us. I watched as some recalled a time that was much similar. A part of me sat there and wanted to claw at the air with my hands how life could not be bottled. I cannot tell my stories without feeling as if those around me understand what I truly mean.
I wasn’t born into this…but it’s a choice to observe these rituals.
I wasn’t exclusively oppressed, but I know of chains that exist solely in the mind.
I wasn’t denied access to resources, but we hid the fact that we used them.
I had moved several times in my life. Each city brought different views of the same sky. In the background, things I have learned to covet about myself could not be good enough for the new home. In third grade, I used to sing. When I took a shower or a bath in our brick house which seemed as if we would live in it forever, I sang loudly.. When the cars of both of my parents were packed with our most essential things, I left my voice behind in our old house. As we backed out of the gravel driveway, the trees which had the etched initials of my best friends could no longer be a part of me. I could not sit out there in the rain, on one of the higher branches and rub my fingers over those grooves. I didn’t cry when we left for a different state. In the embrace of my friends,I told them I would come back. It would not be long, but it was. Years had gotten between us, and I had visited once only to find how much I didn’t fit inside my old school. The stairs I could not run up and down as quickly, and skip two at a time. Familiar faces no longer worked there, and ones who did – did not possess the same wonder I had once found.