When my mother died, I stayed for a while with my best friend who I’ve known for what feels like all my life. We shared memories and laughter and the pain of each of us losing our mothers. Her mother died just before Christmas and mine died just before the following Easter. For many years, my mother had been her second mother as her mother had been mine.
Each day, once my friend went off to work, I found myself revisiting familiar places where I had grown up. One day I drove to the street I had grown up on, parked my car, got out and walked around looking at each house where my friends had lived. I stared at the house I grew up in. One day, I walked past the first elementary school I attended and skipped down the stairs between Regal Road and Davenport Road. And I tried to go as fast as I had when I was ten. On another day, I went to the secondary school I attended and walked the halls. I found my name on the honor roll, looked into the auditorium, walked around the grounds and remembered classes and teachers.
Recently, when I returned to the city where I lived for 37 years, I chose to drive past the various places which had been part of my life – the first condo I owned, the oldest school in the board, and especially past the school at which I taught for 33 years. It was this last which really caught my attention. I drove past that school and felt no pull to go into the parking lot or get out of my car or go into the building. I was so aware that it was just another place – one to which I felt no energetic relationship.
That response was not at all what I expected. In the 33 years I had worked in that building, I had had the opportunity to create new educational experiences for myself and my students. I had had the opportunity to make a significant contribution to my profession through my teaching, working with my colleagues, being involved in board initiatives, and being involved with my teachers’ federation both locally and provincially. So much of who I know myself to be as an educator was, I thought, tied up in that building. And what I realized is that while who I am as an educator was shaped and developed in the work I did in that school, the essence of myself as an educator – the core of myself as one – has always been part of me. It was never dependent upon being attached to a particular school.
And that led to my thinking about the connections we feel to places. When my mother died and I felt that I was an orphan I moved through the spaces where I had grown up. In my sense of loss, I know I was attempting to recapture my youth and a time when life was simpler and I felt protected. And then, as I drove past familiar places in the city where I had worked, I expected to have the same sense of trying to connect with my past as I believed it to be. I expected to feel a strong emotional pull – one that was tied to my sense of myself and who I AM. And it wasn’t there.
What I know now is that I no longer feel an energetic link to places. Who I AM is not dependent on the spaces where I’ve lived and worked. They were houses and other buildings in which I explored who I AM and where I shaped and evolved as the I AM that I AM. And the truth of who I AM is not determined by physical location. It’s not dependent upon geography.
And I know that who I AM is not dependent either on my biology. Yes, my parents’ DNA combined to create my physical presence. Yet, the truth of who Genie is is so much more than my biology. I know myself to be an infinite being of light and spirit and will and that goes so far beyond the simple fact of my biological presence.
And as I was in that city for those few days, I know that it is some of the people I’ve known there that I miss. And I also know that if I connect with them or I don’t the absolute truth of who I AM is not reliant upon seeing them. The magic that is Genie has always been in me for me to discover and explore and enjoy. That magic is mine to share as I choose and has never been merely a function of my interaction with anyone else.
The reality that is Genie is not reliant upon my geography or biology or relationships, acquaintances or friendships. I AM who I AM. I AM my own special creation! So are we all.