This past week, I offered a challenging writing prompt which involved a look back to younger self from the present; and suggested using third person ‘she’ to refer to the younger self and first-person ‘I’ to the present adult self. The general format and idea for the exercise came from the opening poem, Two Gates by Denise Low (see current Prompt of the Week page for the text). It was to create a weaving of time and voice into one coherent whole – remembering that adult self can look back and see younger self; but not so in reverse. The results were varied and deeply moving, as this writing from RP:
She is so young, so naïve, so innocent.
Behind those honey-colored eyes is a young woman, lost.
She is searching for something that will take her years to find.
How I pity her. She does not see the treacherous path in front of her.
I pound my fist up against the thick window. I scream her name.
She can’t hear or see me. I am beyond her reach.
She is swimming and gasping in a world created by her own false truth.
Appearing confident and carefree, but she is removed and cold on the inside.
She is more afraid than anyone I know.
I whisper to myself, “Please don’t be afraid. You are stronger and more courageous than you know.”
She doesn’t acknowledge my pleas.
I weep for her because of the pain she will endure.
All the while smiling because I know that she will endure.
One day the storms inside will quiet, and she will find peace she never knew before.
I press my hand up against the smooth glass.
She looks my way and smiles, wistfully. Does she see me yet?
I long to hold her and comfort her.
But this is a journey she must take alone. So I back away.
She must do this in order to become the happy and confident woman I am today.