Last weekend I hauled out our old photos from my school days. It was a strange feeling looking back thirty years into those forgotten faces. What surprised me was realising how much of who I was, and how I saw things, was influenced by where I was standing when I viewed them.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain that in a way that makes sense. The only thing that comes to mind is a wheel or a merry-go-round. They both have a central axis that they spin from, without that there is no movement. People are the same. We each have a core centre that keeps us turning through our lifetime. What we see in the mirror, and of each other, is merely the outer rim of the wheel, the edge of the merry-go-round. This is that part of who we are that is exposed to the world - our ever-changing socialising and work self. The centre never changes. It is our core personality, our purest form of our self, mind and spirit. You can change the outer rim “you” a thousand times in a lifetime, but the centre always stays the same.
Looking back at my old school photos I can now see what I couldn’t see then – the centre of my own wheel, the core of my self. It was a strange feeling and for some reason it made me cry. I think it was because back then I never realised I had a centre core. So, on Sunday, I sat and had a good howl in my bedroom... which I couldn’t explain to anyone since it didn’t even make sense to me at the time. I cried for the girl in the photo who was about to dash out the school gates right into (what she would think) a brick wall. I cried for her, because back then she thought she was the rim instead of the centre.
I spent quite a few years after school thinking I was spinning out of control without realising there was always that centre me I could have returned to. Have you ever done that on a playground merry-go-round - returned to the centre? At the edge everything moves really fast and the world becomes a blur. It can feel scary and out of control, but if you walk back to the centre everything slows down and you can even see which way you’re turning.
This weekend I went back out to the edge with that schoolgirl version of myself and remembered what it felt like to be me before I started spinning too fast. I realised that the core of who I am now was who I was then. My hopes, my ethics, my sense of spirituality… they’ve all stayed the same. Even through times when I spun too fast, or felt like I wasn’t moving at all, that me was always there. Who I am, who I was, are both who I will be. It’s a good feeling realising that my core is strong, even if I didn’t always realise it. If I could travel in time I’d go back to the girl in the photos and say “When things speed up too fast, return to the centre,” but then I realised… I just did.