The Reckoning

According to a quick google search via the Oxford dictionary, reckoning has several definitions:

noun: reckoning
  1. the action or process of calculating or estimating something.
    “last year was not, by any reckoning, a particularly good one”  (You can say that again, if by last year, you mean the last 6 weeks)
  2. a person’s view, opinion, or judgment.
    “by ancient reckoning, bacteria are plants”
  3. a bill or account, or its settlement.
  4. the avenging or punishing of past mistakes or misdeeds.
    “the fear of being brought to reckoning”

The last 6 weeks of social distancing has been a reckoning in many senses of the word.

It has been a time of reflection, an accounting for how my time is spent, and how that aligns with what I want my life to be about.

It has been a time of judgment and opinions, despite my best attempts to show grace to myself and others, despite my belief in humanization as a guiding light and love as enacted through recognizing our shared humanity.

It has been a time when many bills and accounts have come due, both financial and metaphorically: spiritual accounts, familial accounts, trauma accounts. So many accounts.

It has been a time when I have chosen to bring forth my past mistakes, misdeeds, missed opportunities.

It has been a time when I’ve been seeing myself in others’ stories, that connect to parts of myself and my history, parts I thought I had lost that I could never find again. It’s been a time for me to discover and piece together parts of my history and my family story that I have been holding for a long time, but have been afraid to confront.  It has been a time when I have realized that as much as I search for love and strive to be loving, I cannot find that love without truly embracing myself.

bell hooks in her All About Love says, “Commitment to truth telling lays the groundwork for openness and honesty that is the heartbeat of love. When we can see ourselves as we truly are and accept ourselves, we build the necessary foundation for self-love.”

The reckoning.

Seeing myself as I truly am and accepting myself.

There has been so much shame which has led to so much destructiveness. Constantly feeling not good enough. Not speaking my heritage language. Not saving my parent’s marriage or my mother’s life. Not doing enough for my oldest daughters. Not being available enough for my younger children. Not being anything (pretty, smart, Asian, courageous, knowledgable) enough. Staying silent when I wanted to speak. Feeling like I had no place to speak. Wanting to be loved and admired so much that at moments my integrity was gone. Literally and figuratively rendering myself invisible, starving myself so that I might disappear, and in disappearing be seen.  Running away from grief only to be confronted at every corner.  So much destruction.

…yet, all with a smile and determination to move onward.

I could not move onward without being dragged back.

There has been so much exhausted determination to continue moving forward.

In this time, I have begun the reckoning.  I have begun to see all that there is that has been at the root of this destruction of self.

And I am realizing that while these voices are within me, they are not fully me. They are products of institutions, structures, ideologies, generations, recitations that did not start from me.

I own them as part of me.  They have also made me. They help me to understand humanity intimately.

The reckoning is a fire, but it is a healing pain.

I am beginning to heal.

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