I have been sitting in front of the computer for at least a half an hour with one foot up on my chair and my head on my knee, staring at the wall. The blank white screen taunting me. “Can’t get it together today, hey Pam.”
My own monitor shortens my name.
When I was in high school I asked the youth group leaders wife “How are you? What do you like to do? ” She told me what her husband was doing and what her children were doing. I asked her again. “No, that is not what I meant. How are you?” She looked at me, and didn’t understand. Thirty seven years later I can still see the blank expression on her face. She really did not understand my question. She couldn’t see herself as an individual separate from her family. I didn’t want to be her when I grew up.
Who am I today?
I met a friend last month who I hadn’t seen in over twenty years. He was an investment banker and I was a photographer in Tokyo in the 80’s. He asked what I was doing and I told him what my husband did and what my children were doing…….. In between changing diapers, doing laundry, cooking meals, packing and unpacking as we moved across the country several times, I forgot to unpack myself.
I am sitting in a large cardboard box, my arms around my legs. My head resting on my knees. With me in the box is the bear tooth necklace my father made for me, the letters my mother wrote me when I lived in Japan, a silver spoon from the Yukon, the trip down the Saskatchewan river with my father, the kibbutz I lived on in Israel, a box of letters from my husband, my birth certificate and my marriage license.
This afternoon I cleaned out my studio in the basement. It had become a storage area for lids that had no containers to cover, toys that my children had outgrown, and fans that we won’t need for several months. In the corner of my studio I found a large box that had been taped shut. Strange that I had not opened this one when I unpacked last year. I pulled the tape off, and folded back the flaps.
The box was empty.
I paint. I write.
Ask me again tomorrow who I am.