I never thought it was necessary – security. I thought it was a mirage, an impossibility. Amused and bemused when others thought it possible with locks and alarms and stocks and bonds.
I was wrong.
Here are some definitions, courtesy of msWord:
- the state or feeling of being safe and protected
- freedom from worries of loss
- the assurance that something of value will not be taken away
Before I was five, I lost everything: my brother died, my father moved away, my mother turned into someone I didn’t recognize. We lived in a new city, I went to a new school. I never knew, when I came home from kindergarten, whether my mother would be alive. Enduring a difficult pregnancy, she was supposed to stay in bed. The doctor said she might die if she didn’t.
My routine, then: go to school, paint a picture; go home, check on Mom, show her the magic painting. I believed I could paint her back to health. I believed I could paint her back to happy. (She remembers pictures of happy mothers, but the one I remember was lines of color, disappearing into a square-shaped infinity. Her friend thought I was a genius, painting perspective at age five, but maybe I just liked color and shape.)
Constant fear of death is exhausting for a five-year-old. And a ten-year-old, a thirty-year-old. 44 years of fear. Corrosive.
I did not build good structures for my tomatoes this year. They grew bigger and faster than I anticipated. I kept adding on strips of wood, trying to support them. They produced gorgeous fruit anyway, but it could’ve been easier. Maybe the tomatoes didn’t care.
I do, though. I am tired of swinging free in the breeze, battered by storms and scared of crashing trees. How can I flourish if I don’t feel safe? supported? secure?
My new rain boots came in the mail today. Sturdy, waterproof, red. Good for slippery trails and muddy puddles. Protection for high-arched, hard-working, dancing feet.
Happy Hallowe’en. Be safe.