Saturday, September 23, 2017

Not Yet

A little over a month until I turn fifty years old, and I find that I am disappearing into myself. Not unwelcome, this development strikes me as nearly essential. I have withdrawn from much of social media. On Facebook I scroll by people's news with the sense that I am only avoiding what it is I am meant to be doing. Checking Facebook has become just another chore.

I am in a long slow process of becoming. Not yet brave enough to take a step forward, I am an incipient sprinter. A photographer has frozen me in time, both my feet still on the starting blocks. Yet contained in the photograph is the moment to come, when I will burst forth. Implied movement is real enough. It can be sensed.

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I am not yet a writer, but in the second act of my life I will be a writer. This is a truth I feel deeply. It informs my every action, even when I would wish it away. But I have to become stronger before I can give myself over to writing. I must acquire the faith that I can do this thing. I need to believe in myself in a way I have never been able to do.

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A few weeks ago a teacher friend of mine taught a wonderful lesson to her second graders. She had them reformulate not's into not yet's. In this way the self-statement "I am not an artist" became "I am not yet an artist." One simple word — yet — changes everything. And as I watched these children write their not yet's (I can't play the drums — yet; I can't tie my shoes — yet), I remembered my own not yet, and I smiled, because I can be patient. Becoming is quiet, slow work that may just require some quiet, slow living.