I swear the earth shall surely be complete to him or her who shall be complete!
I swear the earth remains jagged and broken only to him or her who remains broken and jagged!
What does it take to be complete? There is an old belief that to have power over a thing is to know its name. I believe we cannot take the power to heal our wounds unless we can name them. This requires the opposite of what is natural to us; to break open when we want desperately to sew it all back together again, to dig deeper to the sometimes ugly core of a thing when the lie covering it is blooming with roses, to leave those we love in need while we learn to find our wings.
When we finally break open, when we dig deep enough to the core of our wound to name it, we can finally make wings. No one hands them to us. We all learned from Icarus that taking the wings made by another, however loving, will fail us. Daedalus didn’t want his son to fly too high. The warning was lost on Icarus when he felt the wind on his face and the sun shining on his back. He flew higher and higher until the wax gave way. Icarus never named his wounds; a father who thought of him as clumsy and in the way, a love interest that did not return his love, his destiny to be largely known for his death.
What if Icarus had left Daedalus in favor of finding his own way? Would we question the son’s love for the father? We cry abandonment so easily in our culture. True abandonment is to leave behind someone who cannot care for themselves. Daedalus, however distraught and burdened with pain, was not in the care of his son. Icarus was just a boy-the boy who never grew up. Had he taken the steps to leave the situation, he would have taken the steps to leave childhood behind him and walk into adulthood and begin his process of naming his wounds and building his wings, but Icarus was just a boy and so he strapped the wings to his back and flew as high as he could.
The woman in the photograph above feels familiar to me. When I first looked at it, I instinctively knew she was about to take flight. Maybe she would transform into a bird in the way of fairy tales, or sprout wings from her back, or simply lift off the ground with her enthusiasm carrying her. The second time I looked at it, I saw her chasing the birds with a desperate need to be one of them, to be able to fly away. On another glance, I saw the woman chasing the birds in anger. Then I realized these thoughts were all about me.
When I was a girl I could not imagine leaving here. I would watch the birds lift into the air and it never occurred to me I could ever join them in leaving. My certainty that I would remain here turned to some anger and I absolutely wished to be a creature who would be shoved from its nest and expected to fly away. I didn’t know how to make wings then. I didn’t know the names of my wounds.
Survival- fight or flight. Sometimes to fight a thing, you first have to fly away so you can look back and get a good look at it. It can hurt to soar so high. The ones we love try to tether us to the ground, to them, to their stories about who we were supposed to be. In naming the wounds I carry, I’ve made it impossible for the wounds (more aptly called demons in this case) to bind me here. This place is not where I will find my highest good. I have to fly away.