Pictures remind us of the past. Looking closely at an image, we see details that tell a story. Then dropping deeply into our memories, we feel feelings. Feelings that are familiar.
This picture of four year old me sitting on the cistern cover in the backyard of our farmhouse with a big smile, is the first memory I have of being the subject of a photo. What do I remember? The rough scratchy surface on my leg. I can almost feel that discomfort as I write about it. But I knew I was a lucky girl to have such great parents and I wanted them to be happy.
The band-aid on my leg reminds me of my humanness. I fell down and skinned my knee. These days, I have a root canal. Analysis has taught me when being emotionally close to another person is important to you, sometimes even vital to your survival, you put their needs before your own.
The image to the right, found as a table decoration in a small cafe in Florence, reminded us of the Stature of Liberty. To be truthful, it wasn’t a conscious plan to include her today but she showed up when I placed my photo under the best light we have for taking pictures, and she was there and sneaked in.
The Stature of Liberty represents freedom.
My memoir is the story of how I found freedom in my inner landscape through a decade of Freudian psychoanalysis. You can’t be free to be yourself if you ignore or deny your feelings. I needed to recognize how being human means opening to all sorts of feelings even when it made others uncomfortable.
What did you have to recognize in order to feel free?