I grabbed this travel mug as I readied for my morning walk to the beach. It’s not the only I usually use lately but it caught my eye as I looked in the cupboard.
It is covered with stickers from what feels like someone else’s life.
The sticker on the bottom, “Get Your Fist Wet”, the logo of a queer dragon boat team. Handed to me by a grinning, laughing, dancing woman at a Dyke March parade a few years ago.
Another on the side, “Meow Wolf”, a logo sticker from a trip to Santa Fe in 2019 that is filled with memories both joyful and painful. The Meow Wolf art experience still haunts me, in deep and wondrous ways even today when I remember it.
A shop sticker clings to another side. A place that I had some piercings done. Piercings that were done with the intention of helping me find who I was in a dark time.
The other side is adorned with a sticker of a group I gathered amongst for many years. Again, memories of those many many experiences range from transformative, cathartic to insanely silly and bring up rage, tears, stress and bliss, cascading in no particular order.
Within those stickers and the stainless-steel sleeve that they surround sleep a multitude of memories and stories. Far too many to even begin to recount here. Yet they fill me, they are me, they haunt me.
I feel so far removed from that life, those people and who I was then.
I look at this simple carrier of coffee, hear the message it now carries, and wonder, will I ever again be the woman who I was when I placed those stickers?
Reminders like that are both a blessing and a curse, I agree.
We, of course, can never be who we were but can we be more than the sum of our experiences? Can we make all the joy and hurt count for something today?