As a child I loved the story of Pandora’s Box. You all know the story but in case you forgot… Pandora was a girl who lived in ancient times. She lived in a place where a beautiful box was kept. Pandora was told time and time again NEVER to look in the box. You know where this is going.
Some say Pandora was a bride and the box was a wedding gift given Zeus. Some say she was the first woman (always blame it on the woman.) Well, never say that to a girl. Of course she looked. And out of the box came all sorts of horrible things. The box contained evil. Evil escaped and spread all over the world. What a nasty trick of Zeus but of course he blamed it on the girl… but that isn’t the point of the story. Pandora opened the box and something awful escaped. The point is that I could relate to the girl in a big way.
Ahhh but at the bottom of the box, and this was my favorite part, the spirit of HOPE came out. Hope was always pictured as a beautiful fairy. Like a lot of little girls I loved fairies (still do.) But back to the story on hand…
I was like Pandora, always looking into boxes and closets and attics I wasn’t supposed to be looking into. I suddenly realized yesterday why all these years I identified with Pandora. I could have been Pandora. She could have been me.
Yesterday I cleaned out my office room. It is an office, a guest room and a place where junk gathers. It is a room I’ve banned my husband from because he moves things around to fit his own sense of what should be. It will also once again be the room I write in.
I hauled a garbage can and a large recycle can full of papers, boxes and old stuff. I re-acquainted myself with beautiful dresses I haven’t worn in years. My teenage daughter marveled at the beautiful cuts and fabrics. Those clothes are not the same as the mother she knows wears now. They are from a different time and place.
As I went through boxes which haven’t been opened for years my mind and heart went to places I didn’t want to be. Yes, you’ve read my stories of the past and things I’ve done years ago, but that was on my terms. The memories dredged up yesterday were not my choice. These were things that haunt and bit and suck the blood out of my own dark soul. I even wrote a lengthy post about how items symbolize lost dreams that could have been.
The room became my own Pandora’s box full of swirling demons and weirdness.
That led to me writing a couple of agonizing essays on memories and how single items can change a life through their meaning. I wrote of those dashed dreams that are so clear and painful. For hours I kept the it all festering in my brain. Then I realized that if I went ahead and shared those essays on pain and broken dreams that I’d receive comments from worried readers and feel guilty for playing with the feelings of my readers, or making my dear readers feel bad. I want to make my readers feel thoughtful or happy, or even on-edge and angry but not sad about me. I don’t want to tear your hearts out with words about me. Then it all scattered like a puff of smoke from a candle I’d just blown out. It was gone along with the garbage.
I’m not the kind to go back to the past and let it define me. Sure my past influences me. It is who I am. Of course it is that way for everyone. But it isn’t who I am. I’m not that girl I used to be. Like I said, I don’t let it define me. I don’t go back. I don’t ever try to relive experiences, even if it is with old friends who were there with me the first time around.
What the parts of my past I don’t feel comfortable with give me is a roadmap for teaching my own children about choices they make.
At the bottom of the closet, as with Pandora’s Box, were a lot of good things and hope. There were so many times there was no hope, but that was a long time ago. Best of all I have a new office. After a few more hours of work it will be a place where I can relax and create and be the best. Always the best from now on.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Mom