Sometimes, the past comes flooding back to me, devouring my current state with its heavy load, and suddenly, I am every woman I have ever been. The woman I was before the clouds parted and an angel fell down to earth, landing haphazardly in my unhemmed pocket. The woman chasing the sunrise with deep inhales of dew covered lichen. The woman in mourning for a love that was never to come. The woman on the river and on the bathroom floor. The woman in the moonlight, by the roadside, in the darkness. I have been these women. All of them truly. Along with countless other tear drenched faces and daylight personas. But now I am none of them. They are present, but not. More crudely, I liken them to the build-up on a seasoned cast iron skillet. No longer the food, just burned remnants to cook upon.
I guess that’s how I could look at it. I am well seasoned. I am an amalgamation of experiences that won’t fall softly by the way side. But with the echo of so many women inside me, I struggle with what each yearned for but didn’t receive in her own time; each heart break, each thirst. I cannot comfort them or reach out to steady their gate. I can only watch with horror and compassion, the mistakes, the enchantments, the losses, all while simultaneously living on inside this body they have left behind. I am grateful for the inheritance. I breathe new life into the world everyday but my constitution is weary from the journey.
I wonder if there is a window somewhere in the back of my mind, where they all watch the procession, and as each baton is passed they welcome another woman who will never again animate these bones. I wonder if they celebrate with joyful reverence for all we have endured. That would be nice. I think I would like that when my time comes. Today, however, I am someone I have never been, with each cell only unique to this place in time. Each thought new. Each experience a climax of circumstances laid out from the choices of women past. Even now, as I write, the woman in the red lace blouse who sat with the birth of these thoughts has changed slightly, at least into pajamas. She’s fought demons while sipping rosemary tea. She’s taken her pills and contemplated forgiveness while wishing the day away. By morning she may even sit with her younger elders behind the glass, rioting with delight over yesterdays pregnant belly and the little blonde pig tails of childhood. It’s strange to anticipate ones own passing, even if only passing on to one’s self.