Ten Years

Setting a place at the table | London Ontario | Blog | Ten years sober

Ojibway poet Richard Wagamese begins his magnificent book of meditations called Embers by saying: “Mornings have become my table.” Like the table, his life has been battered and scarred but also full of sacred energies, which he channels in the hollow stones that surround my neck every time I turn his page. 

The neck is where we speak from, and I touch mine in an act of union with this man who fell to a place I know too. Knees, bottom, nowhere. 

For years I hid inside my head and progressed through the world in pieces, a woman asunder. All the degrees and places travelled could never free me from the traumas that hitched a ride. Intergenerational, maybe intergalactic, these pains made the moulds I used for everything as I skirted along the darkened trail. Until that morning when I decided to make for myself a new place at the table. Terrified, lost, and fed up, I felt sadness and sunshine like never before while crawling around in a new place. 

Me. I had to get to know myself. I had to birth myself into the woman I knew I was. The woman I wanted to be. The girl-woman waiting to be loved by the only one who could save her. 

Richard speaks about reclamation, which is both a sentiment and an act. To claim something is to like it and to want it. To reclaim something is about expressing that desire repeatedly in a way that says: you matter, today and always, and I am choosing you. When a person reclaims herself she is articulating this inside. The process unfolds in her soul like a flower, spreading from and to the places she needs it to. It is love learned. It is love earned. It is being reborn. 

This is the smallest blog about the biggest thing that I’ve done, which I like. The letters on this page have taken passage with me for the journey of a lifetime, the journey of my sober decade. There is destiny in love and having the courage to reach deep inside the sad, wet cavity of trauma to pull out the shit you don’t need anymore and never asked for in the first place. Guts are good. So are words, they help us breathe into the spaces where the light is stored and where our stories live, waiting to be heard.