“What is a teacher? I’ll tell you: it isn’t someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello

This week at our inside writing group, we posed the question: “On whose shoulders do you stand?” As always, some women chose to respond directly to the prompt, while others chose to address whatever lay on their hearts that evening.

And as always, I am humbled by the intensity and variety of writing that emerges in that charged 20 minute silence, hands scribbling across the lined page oblivious to the chaos beyond the not-quite-closed door. One woman writes almost entirely in questions, a kind of extended lament one cannot read without feeling her sense of lostness within alongside her determination to define herself. Another celebrates the many shoulders on which she stands, clear that without them she is nobody; but with them, she has a chance. Read on and feel their words in your heart.

I search to be something better. I wander aimlessly, unsure sometimes of where I am truly meant to be. I struggle. I battle and I’ll never know when I might need that shoulder to lean on. Sometimes I find many excuses as to why not to do something. In other words, talk myself down on doing things I know will help me in the long run. My soul aches to be reassured as I continue on my journey to find Me.

There are so many times lately that I find myself embarrassed to be me, to feel normal, to feel at ease. Struggle after struggle, challenge after challenge comes up for me. I know I need and want to be different. That is when I ask myself, how do I do this with my whole being, when often times I am clueless at who I am meant to be as a person? When will I find the true answers to all my questions? If I do find answers, how can I determine if they are real and not feel they are distorted? I dream but can not determine if my dreams are somehow part of an alternate reality. Will I ever get things right in this lifetime? Will I be truly successful at my life? Why do others see me as someone else, except me? Can’t they see I am being genuine, not fake, not hiding? Why do I have to feel these feelings? Why do we have to face so many demands in life? Where do we go to get away when there may be no escape from the turmoil of life? Why is it so hard to just listen and truly hear our callings in everyday life? Why do we go to extremes with each other’s poking and prodding at our self images? Why do we judge? Why even speak at all? Can’t you see I am lost, yet determined to find something greater? It is hard to be me when I live in such utter chaos. I just want to be free. So let me be.
– MS

On whose shoulders are you standing? …You never can tell when you’ll need it – Arline Cogan
For my part, for now I’m standing on the shoulders of my sons, my friends, some members of my family, my mentor, inmates, officers and God.

Yes it’s a lot! You’re right.

I need them, all of them not just one. 
Yes, it’s a lot! You’re right.

It’s like the grandmother who gathered her large family and wove them together.

Yes, it’s a lot! You’re right.

Without those marvelous persons like the grandmother, a friend, a mentor to stand on their shoulders, from my point of view you miss a lot, you can not walk forward. Why can you do it? I know for a fact it’s because you’re so strong.

Sorry, you don’t know for a fact, because you think I’m so strong. I’m not strong without your shoulders, your support, your encouragements, your smile …

I’m not strong. I’m nothing at this point of my life. Life is so unstable, so uncomfortable in my head, my old body (all of it) that if I can not stand on your shoulders, I’m nobody any more.

“Never can tell when you’ll need it.” Arline Cogan

Without shoulders all around me, I’m nobody any more.

I’m so glad that some of my friends gathered my people that I love and wove them together. So I can be somebody.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you!
– LD


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