In 2016, I wrote an essay, I Called You a Memoir, where hope said yes; my completed memoir wasn’t just a vision, but a reality. Working on a memoir was the most labor intensive task I’ve ever attempted as autobiographical timelines covered the surface like a fog that skews a real picture. When I made my way through self-discovery to find a place to be, home became clear. The essay was published in The Magic of Memoir, Inspiration For the Writing Journey
“I was once eager to find complicated significance in what I now see as simplicity.”
And now I’ve come full circle, after a year’s worth of travels with my published memoir.
June nineteenth was our special day. This year marked our one year, official, anniversary. Our dates took us to bookstores, book clubs, and even a lit fest in the city of Chicago. Questions were asked of us and I smiled, proud to show you off every time. We were never far from one another’s sides, traveling in the car, on the train into the city, or on foot to scout for birch trees.
We grew close, starting when I first met you over ten years ago, but didn’t get serious with you until just a few years ago when, well, I introduced you to some important people. They liked you and because of them, I saw what a gem you were meant to be!
I never grew tired of you in spite of spending much time together, sharing happy moments when we seemed to click, and sad moments when I couldn’t hold back tears when I thought we were done before we got started.
I tried hard to make something of us, but as you know deep within your soul, I am an introvert and being in groups, standing in front of others takes a lot from me. But then I remember you, my comfortable familiar, were always in my hand. Then meeting new people in the unfamiliar wasn’t too bad as I recalled a certain birch buddy that grew in the front yard of my girlhood home.
I reflect often on our memories.
I have learned great things from you. We could talk intimately, to admit our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and I could reflect on experiences in my life and how they made me who I am today. And how I may have wished for better outcomes in my life, I learned to forgive myself. I forgave myself for wanting to change my history.
I learned to trust and to have faith that nothing bad did happen to me and that things will always work out. Because of this lesson, I have renewed gratitude for every day as the minutes will never repeat. You showed me in my early years that there is hope, that life’s challenges are always a work in process, and that sharing you with the world is a way for me to show that together, we all have relatable experiences. We are more similar than we are different.
In learning all that I can from you, it’s time for me to move on. We will never be far from one another. Your picture will always remain next to me when I sit to write; you will never be out of reach. We will remain connected as you are my place to be and through becoming you, I have found home. I will always call you, Under the Birch Tree.
Under the Birch Tree’s one year anniversary is not only a time for celebration but also a time for closure. I am excited to move on to another chapter of my writing ventures, this one, a novel, where four sisters, driven by their desires to find their places in life, will not be deterred, as each reunites with a long-lost connection that brings them back to home.