Reclaiming Parts of Ourselves

I keep thinking about a poem/quote I read from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés that I’ll share an excerpt of:

“We do not become healers.
We came as healers.
We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.
We do not become storytellers.
We came as carriers of the stories
we and our ancestors actually lived.
We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.
We do not become artists.
We came as artists.
We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.
We do not become writers…dancers…musicians…helpers…peacemakers.
We came as such.
We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.”

Her quote/poem speaks to me because for about the past year I’ve engaged in a deep recovery and reclaiming of my artistic self. For a long time, I joked that I couldn’t write fiction to save my life. It was a joke but also, I meant it. I didn’t think I could write fiction, didn’t think of myself as creative or artistic. I had moments where I proclaimed, “I’m an artist!” and then quickly forgot those and fell back into the belief that I’m not a creative person.

wooden fence in the grass -- spiritual blog

Why this picture? Unclear! It came up when I searched for “reclaimed.” Maybe the wood is reclaimed. Photo by Chris Lorensson on Unsplash

That might sound strange considering I wrote a novel but in my mind, the first one didn’t count because it was based so much on my real life. And this second novel, which isn’t based on my real life, has been a struggle, let me tell you. I fight against the belief that I can’t write it pretty much every day. In part, the struggle is because I have a perception that I’m not a storyteller, that I’m a journalist who tells stories about real life and real people but can’t create imaginary worlds. But is that really true?

The other week I found a modern retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” that I wrote when I was probably 10. The text is in calligraphy and the pictures were also drawn by me. There is literal evidence to show I’ve always been a storyteller. As Estés says, I didn’t become a storyteller, I came as a carrier of the stories I and my ancestors actually lived. This is true in more ways than one. I’m VERY attuned to intergenerational trauma and collected my ancestors’ stories, both good and bad. I’m the family historian because stories matter to me. I am a storyteller and storykeeper.

I am reclaiming the identity of storyteller and catching up to what I am, to what I already came here imbued with. I wish it could be a “one and done” sort of thing but for me, it hasn’t worked like that. It’s been a daily process of remembering and reclaiming my artistic self.

This post is about me but I’m sharing it because I wonder if there’s a part of you that’s been long buried that it’s time to resurrect. What has stayed hidden for too long that wants to see the light of day? What do you want to reclaim, recover, or remember? I bet it’s something powerful and important.

I dream of a world where we recognize some things we don’t become, some things we already are. A world where we understand we came into the world with certain gifts and sometimes we need to retrieve those gifts. A world where we let go of identities that no longer serve us and reclaim who we truly are.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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