it seems equally impossible that all my moments can be contained in forty two years and that i’ve lived longer than a breath.

i look at pictures of myself: infant, four, seven, ten, twelve. i scan journals in pen and pencil: 1987, 1993, 1997, 2000, 2007. i click on facebook status updates: exactly six, five, four, three, two and one year old.

i recognize the shells of me in them all. i recognize the truth of my masks, the validity of my cloaks. i recognize the walls, tended and landscaped. i recognize the moats, too deep for anyone to survive. i gratefully claim the purpose of them all, see the genius of my coping.

today i don’t scramble to honor the fear in my child eyes. i don’t sigh in despair that the “real me” isn’t there. i don’t panic and start rebuilding the walls i’ve taken down. i don’t freeze deer-like and hope no one will see me. today i don’t believe the real me, the soul of me, the joy-is-my-birthright me is lost.

today i realize that there is more than just fear behind my smiling eyes. more than fear behind my scrawled words. more than fear behind my third person updates. i don’t see lack. i see both.

in the same eyes that are slightly wide with fear, they are soft with my light.

in the same words that are sloppy with fear, they are waves of my power.

in the same expressions that are calculated with fear, they are kindling for my fire.

finding myself hasn’t been easy.

and today i know why:

i was never lost.