I have known my story forever, aware of the pieces and how they fit. I have categories and labels, every memory neatly organized. Like a puzzle with a thousand pieces, I sit back and look at the completed picture, admire how neatly everything fits, how well I managed to create something of beauty out of all the little random bits. Unlike the boxed puzzles though, I am not done, I keep finding more pieces, some that I would rather cast back, some that enhance the scene. Adjusting, scooting, shaving, rearranging, I am forced to make room. I gaze again. Get comfortable with the new arrangement, determine what it all means. Own my new story. Like the snow gently falling outside, more pieces swirl, my story changes again. My puzzle is ever growing, some days too large to manage. I want to be that person I was, back when I looked like, well, before addiction, before estrangement, before unemployment. But that means no Plum, can’t I keep those pieces?
Constantly allowing more into my story, owning truthful pieces with sharp edges that slice as well as the sweet cottony sections that glitter with joy means my story isn’t done. I don’t get to sit back and admire. I am not that flat 1,000 piece boxed set that creates a scene to be admired, maybe glued in place and hung on the wall, maybe dismantled and put back in the box. Still that puzzle always go back together in the same way. Look for the edge pieces, find the corners, fill in the center. My story has no outer edges, I can’t find the corners. New information causes a complete readjustment, a tree is no longer brown and green, the sky isn’t filled with clouds. This is what it is to be a kaleidoscope, a shifting puzzle that changes with every movement. Finding that one glorious combination, it is next to impossible to share the view with any one else without a nudge or a slight tilt changing what they see. And just like that, they move the device towards the light and create more color combinations, find their own glorious stories. Who can resist a chance to find rainbows and joy in moving crystals? My story is secondary, only I know what all those pieces meant.
My story will keep changing, I get to tell and own my parts until my last breath. After, the telling will be handed off to those who choose which pieces are important, how they fit together, what it means, how it looks. Will they remember the section over here where we shared love and laughs, filled with light and or only the scenes that hold menacing clouds and monsters and caves? This is the stuff of legacies, this is the stuff we can’t control. For now, I adjust my puzzle pieces, I make room for more of my story. I embrace the monsters and offer them cookies. I wait for more pieces to arrive, I tilt my kaleidoscope.