A Postcard from the Past

I live with layers of personal archeology. Some of it is purposeful and featured, like the Gymboree rocking horse I can’t seem to part with, the brass candlesticks my great grandmother brought with her on the boat from Russia, and my favorite marbles from when I was little.  They touch my heart, and they are good company.

Some of my treasures are safely tucked away, and some get temporarily forgotten.  Every so often, I go through boxes and drawers, and root out treasure. I was in the midst of a personal excavation last week, when I unexpectedly ran into a younger version of myself on a cassette tape.  She sent me reeling. 

As I listened, I became an audience member in her 1995 show. I liked her.  I became a fan. She was funny and vulnerable and brave. 

That long ago version of me had four songs in her set that I had forgotten I wrote.  With my memory triggered, I remembered that they were too close to the bone, too heart on my sleeve, and I stopped being willing to sing them.  (I am in the process now of evaluating their worthiness for resurrection.)

I listened to the tape in my car with tears in my eyes.  (Yes, I still have a cassette deck in my car.) As I listened, I grieved for the lost years.  I listened as the audience sang and laughed along with me.  I had built a relationship with those people.  I was doing what I was born to do, and I was doing it well.  And, I let it slip away... 

As I drove in my car listening, I felt like I let that long ago me down.  I didn’t take care of her.  The truth of it is that I developed a stubborn case of writer’s block, lost my momentum, and began to feel like a faker.  Other things claimed my time, and years went by…

As I inhabit my present day skin, I am determined to take care of the future me. I think of that me with every decision I make.  She is depending on me! I want to give her the life she deserves.  I want her to happen upon something of my current life in a box or a drawer, and greet it with a smile and a thank you…

Are you sending postcards to the future?

6 comments

  • harry

    harry

    your blog continues to inspire me to think and do ideas i have not thought about or done. i have saved a box of 'to do' lists which i find interesting to look at. they show me what i deemed important at the time and what now can seem trite. but i am saddened to a degree by the amount of items i have tossed not because i didnt want to save them but more because my emotional state at the time of tossing them was much weaker than my desire to save the memory. i will cherish the ones that remain and be a bit more selective about what i choose to save now. memories are really all we own. thanks for sharing your life, love and lessons learned. harry

    your blog continues to inspire me to think and do ideas i have not thought about or done. i have saved a box of 'to do' lists which i find interesting to look at. they show me what i deemed important at the time and what now can seem trite. but i am saddened to a degree by the amount of items i have tossed not because i didnt want to save them but more because my emotional state at the time of tossing them was much weaker than my desire to save the memory. i will cherish the ones that remain and be a bit more selective about what i choose to save now. memories are really all we own. thanks for sharing your life, love and lessons learned. harry

  • Denise

    Denise

    Thanks Harry for sharing your feelings about this. I think of my treasures as memory triggers. Sometimes I give the past too much weight. After all, it is over... I agree that memories are precious. I am learning to fous more on the future and creating new memories. I love the unfolding. Looking back can be painful. The future is full of possibilities. Thanks again for reading along and sharing your thoughts.

    Thanks Harry for sharing your feelings about this. I think of my treasures as memory triggers. Sometimes I give the past too much weight. After all, it is over... I agree that memories are precious. I am learning to fous more on the future and creating new memories. I love the unfolding. Looking back can be painful. The future is full of possibilities. Thanks again for reading along and sharing your thoughts.

  • Helen Highwater

    Helen Highwater

    You are such a good writer, Denise. Your imagery really conveys the emotion of what you are writing about. I, too spend time grieving that I didn't realize many years ago that I had something worth nurturing. But I have learned the lesson (finally) and am hoping that the future me will look back on the things I am creating now as the time when I claimed my power and said "full speed ahead"! As an aside, I got your album and have really been enjoying it. Your songs are so well written and you sing them beautifully.

    You are such a good writer, Denise. Your imagery really conveys the emotion of what you are writing about. I, too spend time grieving that I didn't realize many years ago that I had something worth nurturing. But I have learned the lesson (finally) and am hoping that the future me will look back on the things I am creating now as the time when I claimed my power and said "full speed ahead"!

    As an aside, I got your album and have really been enjoying it. Your songs are so well written and you sing them beautifully.

  • Denise

    Denise

    Thanks Helen. It sounds like you and I have walked parallel paths. I am in a claiming my power place too, but sometimes on shaky knees. I so appreciate you reading along and commenting. Thanks also for buying the album and for liking it!! That means so much to me. The whole point of this for me is to touch people and build bridges. I want my songs to have grand adventures. My best to you...

    Thanks Helen. It sounds like you and I have walked parallel paths. I am in a claiming my power place too, but sometimes on shaky knees. I so appreciate you reading along and commenting. Thanks also for buying the album and for liking it!! That means so much to me. The whole point of this for me is to touch people and build bridges. I want my songs to have grand adventures. My best to you...

  • Mary Ellen

    Mary Ellen

    I remember the 1995 Denise and she is someone that helped mold me and my teaching skills. I still share a great deal of what I learned at Gymboree from you with my students every year. Today Denise has been a gift to today Mary Ellen. Your note has put to words how I feel about some writing I published few years ago that is very close to the bone and I feel nervous about sharing - even though its already out there You are a wonderful person. I appreciate the challenges and opportunities you have offered me in so many ways. Thanks for sharing your writing

    I remember the 1995 Denise and she is someone that helped mold me and my teaching skills. I still share a great deal of what I learned at Gymboree from you with my students every year.
    Today Denise has been a gift to today Mary Ellen. Your note has put to words how I feel about some writing I published few years ago that is very close to the bone and I feel nervous about sharing - even though its already out there
    You are a wonderful person. I appreciate the challenges and opportunities you have offered me in so many ways.
    Thanks for sharing your writing

  • Denise

    Denise

    Mary Ellen! Thank you... You gave me a gift today. You reminded me that although my attention got diverted, what I focused on made a difference. It mattered. That touches me. I am grateful that we reconnected after so many years went by. Thank you for sharing yourself here. What you do matters too! Thanks for reading the blog and for joining the conversation. So appreciated...

    Mary Ellen! Thank you... You gave me a gift today. You reminded me that although my attention got diverted, what I focused on made a difference. It mattered. That touches me. I am grateful that we reconnected after so many years went by. Thank you for sharing yourself here. What you do matters too! Thanks for reading the blog and for joining the conversation. So appreciated...

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