My beautiful sister posed a very small question on Tilted Tiara. She took the time to fully answer the question. I smiled, I frowned, I laughed. Then, right there at the end, she asked the question. What makes you?
If you know who you are (and I do), you have some insight into what made you. I left a cryptic answer to my sister’s question which read:
I, too, am a cobblestone identity. I think I shall take this exercise. Suffice the short answer to be a kaleidoscope. I love your answers. You are a wonderfully talented and beautiful person I am proud to call sister. <3″
I shall leave you to decide which pieces are which color and shape in the kaleidoscope. Give it a twist and see how my world falls into place.
I have quite a few. They spanned three previous generations. They were grand and great, despite to which generation they were assigned. Their participation and absenteeism, loyalty and defection, taught me the impact of presence, cooperation, teamwork and denial. In toto, they were a dual exercise in how I wanted to be and how not to be. My love for them extends beyond the grave, in spite of their actions and inaction, and makes a daily difference in my life. My parents made me.
I have many. Their interaction, pride, jealousy, indifference, concern, love, scorn and loyalty made me. They were the first people outside my own skin I defended. I still do. My siblings made me.
I have had a lot. From lackluster classrooms of institution green to grand antebellum halls, from meagre budgets to extravagant expenditures, from shared books to sprawling libraries, I have learned. I continue to learn. Education made me.
I have always had pets. Some domestic. Others not. Horses, frogs, cattle, pigs, lizards – large and small, ducks, chickens, peacocks, geese – wild and domestic, squirrels, exotic birds – game and traditional, raccoons, jaguars, alligators, iguanas, snakes – poisonous and not, dogs, turtles, cats, fish – shark to guppies, and more. Each expressive and loving and companions worthy of care, affection and protection. Animals made me.
I have many. I have my own and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, younger siblings. Delicate little lives placed in my care to safeguard against the perils of an uncaring world taught me of a genetic propensity which is like no other force on Earth: maternal instinct. They installed eyes in the back of my head and bionic hearing to discern the silent goings-on in a room far removed from the one in which repose was fleeting. They breathe life into the stolid corridors of everyday existence. They bear the hope of a better tomorrow. My children made me.
I still do. Pointe shoes, jazz shoes, tap shoes, bare feet, second skin, stilettos. My varied background includes all of the classics and more: ballet, tap, jazz, modern, interpretive, ballroom, pole, line, group. If it has a beat, I can dance to it. And probably have. It helps me keep my balance. Dance made me.
Crime has played a large part in my life. Crime against me. Crime against those I love and have loved. Bullets, knives, hammers, theft, rape, burglary, drugs, drunk driving, homicide, domestic violence, arson. All of them make me look at life through what many accuse of being jaded glasses. I prefer to weigh the evidence before me and judge life realistically. Criminal justice holds no solace for me. It never will. Crime made me.
I live with it. As life draws to a close, I will have more of it than I have today. Rather than a fatalistic view of my future, I prefer to think of all the things I should do today before the day arrives I cannot. Although I often thwart it, pain made me.
I am a loving person; however, very few in my life have loved me in return. Only one has ever loved me on the level I loved. Through those same glasses many think are jaded, I see the absolute good in people. Often, the peeling away of the façade, erected as a show of strength and to cloak the compassionate heart seen as weak, is sufficient to drive away whom I could make happy. It will not be still my heart. I continue to love. Unrequited love made me.
The equalizer of men visits my world more often than it does most because I have more people than most. The loss of husbands and my child forever changed me. After sufficient grieving, and sometimes before, I have walked away from death with a passion for life. Having stood toe to toe with death on more than one occasion, I respect the strength it takes to wake up to breathe another day. It makes me yearn to teach the strength to others, not just death’s inevitable victims but those who have the ability to stop it. Death made me.
Shelf after bookcase after library after shelf. I read with passion. My commitment to write books is on par with my passion for reading. From three-page masterpieces of preschool to the sprawling titles I now have to the cadre to join them, I love to write books. It is a boon I do it well. Books made me.
I do everything with passion. From the mundane jobs I would rather be flogged than do to the simple pleasures and the activities which I find orgasmic, I do everything with passion. Long ago I learned I had not the time to do things over; ergo, I do them with passion the first time lest I not be afforded the opportunity again. Passion made me.
DNA and sex make relatives. Loyalty makes family. Those who call me friend are written on my heart as sisters and brothers. I do not differentiate between them and the progeny of my parents. They are ageless. They spend hours with me rain or shine, regardless of prior engagement, dependability of electronics and at the expense of precious few hours of sleep. They are the mixing board through which I make music from the cacophony of information and emotion the world serves me. Family made me.
I am intelligent. Throughout my life, my brain has segregated me from many I would have drawn near. It has placed me with those I found arid company. Everyday, it parses the inane from the functional, the ludicrous from the rational and the squalid from the beauty. My brain made me.
I am loyal. If I say I am going to do something, you can take it to the bank. Even when betrayed, I do not abdicate my responsibility. It is a character trait we only learn by example. Someone taught me. I will always be an example for others. Loyalty made me.
I love to laugh. I do it everyday. My children are a never ending source of amusement… even if they do not understand why I find it comical. I laugh at myself. Mostly because someone should. I earned my wrinkles with giggles, guffaws, side-aching laughter. I have a huge grin, sometimes sly, sometimes sarcastic. I do not hide my not-so-pearly whites. Laughter made me.
I have a lot to say. Day after day, you come and listen. You talk back. You challenge me to stand behind my words with armfuls of facts. You shake your fists when I complain the world is askew. You laugh because it really was funny. You think because you can. You validate I am not always the island I may seem to be. You made me.
I have experience. Each one has been dropped into the shaker at the end of the kaleidoscope. When the picture is not one I find appealing, I change it. I am malleable, but strong. I bend and rarely break. I am a master rearranger. When I have been broken, I have fixed me. When I have been good, I made me better. I made me.
What made you?
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