Friday, August 20, 2010

Things can come up Peaches

I have a certain childhood memory - the go to memory when I want to feel indignant about my upbringing. This one will always make me mad, feel uncared for and burn into me. What is it? It's the one where my father and brother went into my bedroom when I think I was in kindergarten and threw out my "stuff". I am person who can get attached to things, especially my creative projects. I scrawl pictures and writings on paper when I get ideas and they lay in piles. To the outsider, this can look like an unorganized mess. That is what, I guess, how it looked to my father and brother. All I remembered was that my piles of paper were gone... and my sense of security hurt badly. How could they have thrown aways things so dear to me? I remember feeling hurt but I don't recall saying anything at the time. Still, they don't know how badly that act hurt me. To them, these pieces of paper created a mess. To me, my precious things gone, tossed as if they didn't matter was unequivical proof of how missunderstood I was. (I think if I were to delve a little deeper, why I really hold onto this memory is that I felt badly for my propensity to creative messes. Why else would they have gone and thrown things away? I felt condemned for behavior for being a "slob".... but shouldn't they have known what those papers were for... why didn't they ask me...???)

So unloved, me... I replayed this memory again, getting indignant, mad at my dad when another memory sprang up. I thought about the peach pit ring. My father is not a crafts person. He spent most of my childhood wrapped in legal briefs as he is a lawyer by trade. Yet, for a reason unbeknownst to me, he made me a ring out of a peach pit. He wittled the peach pit down, drilled a hole and varnished it. I don't know how long it took him to make it but no matter how long or short it took, I always cherished it because he made it especially for me. I thought about him taking the time to do this and I realized that rather than me going to proof of when the times I felt misunderstood, to appreciate what I did get. I know my father loves me and we can't always control how people love us. It would be great if in every relationship we have, we have a guide book to say, "this is how not to hurt this person..." But we don't. We do the best we can with the information we have at hand.

As a child, the ring was a bit bulky to wear, and certainly doesn't fit my adult hand. It's been sitting in my jewelry box for years. But I won't throw it away so I decided to repurpose it, into a necklace using beads I've also kept from my childhood. My dad took the time to make me a ring and in that creative act, we have a bond. And using my creativity, I can repurpose my childhood memories to remember the good.

1 comment:

Donna Carrick said...

This is beautiful, Jen. And exactly on point. I have seemingly meaningless little momentos from various long gone family members --I cherish each one and never thought of repurposing them like this. Thank you for the idea.