I take the lid off my life and bear witness to the puzzle inside
Hundreds of pieces scrambled together totaling the whole of my being when combined
And so I sculpt my soul
I start around the edges because those pieces are easier to find
They are defined
They are my structure, within which the more intangible parts of me resign.
I take my first steps and put the four corners into place
I align the edges as I take the bus to school for my first day of First Grade
And I snap pieces into place with the friends I think I’ve found and the moments I believe we’ll create
But like all good puzzles, some of those pieces occupied the wrong place, they were a mistake.
Yet without placing them there I never would have been able to find where each one would really go,
And so I continue to sculpt my soul.
With every friendship that comes, and relationship that goes
With every grade and situation that I pass or fail another sliver of the sculpture of my picture shows
It’s in each of these moments, the small, subtle and intricate passing of seconds that the framework by which my psyche, emotional state and physical paradigm is shaped
Hardly noticing that each smile at the dinner table across from my Mom and Dad and Sister that was required every night created a blue-print for how I would grow up to understand simple yet often misconstrued terms such as Family, and Love.
And the same held true that with each fit of laughter I shared with friends come and gone as we would create prop-plays from the fabric of the misunderstood world around us that I was altering the very nature that provides the foundation for my perceived Dharma in this life.
And with each tear shed for a loss, shed for miscommunications, or for pain, or simply not understanding that I was my parents son, and although they were my world this world revolved around the sun, not their son, I could see myself in the mirror just a little clearer.
And so I continued to sculpt my soul.
And the border is complete now, and contrary to popular belief I am a square.
But only when held to the mathematical understanding that a square can never be a rectangle, but under optimal and precise conditions a rectangle can, and has been known to, at times, be deemed, a square.
And like this puzzle, the architecture that I can fill with the substance of my meaning has been created
The cement has been poured for my foundation.
Growing into and living as an adult it is my privilege, duty, curse and responsibility to continue building upon the barebones of my soul
It is in this time frame of my existence that with more complex interactions and emotions like love, success, failure, disappointment and the feelings of appreciation, neglect, passion, lust, trust and meaning that I continue building my puzzle.
The first and last representing the keystone in the apex of the Gemini Sine curve that graphically displays my growth.
Love. And Meaning.
It is with Love and Meaning that I continue to not only build myself, but it is with these intense and often defining emotions that I re-build, time and again, a jig-saw puzzle where each piece seems to have just the right place.
And yet, maybe not.
Maybe that piece actually goes over here.
Maybe that first love was simply that, a first love.
And maybe that puzzle piece shaped like my heart that I handed to this person to fit into her puzzle, was still meant for my puzzle.
Maybe I should have known when her puzzle piece looked like a tear drop.
Regardless, I take my piece back and try to rearrange myself to fit all the little quirks that define my personality within this reality, and this space.
And with each wrong movement I worry if the individual pieces will break, and so I start to brace and replace.
I move each one into their own area, separated from all the others to make sure I’m not putting the wrong ones together.
This leaves some of me outside myself and no longer definable as whole.
At this point I’m leaving college feeling an intangible mix of loss and confusion.
I no longer know who I am in this much busier, much scarier, and much more intimidating world.
All my pieces are jumbled up again, some upside down, some outside myself and some even threatening the edges of this foundation that these pieces are to fall between.
And yet, even without me in the know, I continue to sculpt my soul.
I learn the “real world” does not cater to my whimsical fancies and contrived drama as my schooling and family had once done before it.
I learn that there is a reason that people refer to what they do each day as work.
And I learn the definition of that word.
More often than not, the hard way.
And each time I learn a lesson, good or bad, right or wrong, I slide the pieces of myself around within my framework.
Slowly, throughout my being here, or there, experiencing this or that, winning or losing, having or holding, letting go or saying goodbye, my pieces seem to find a home within myself.
And each time I find where a piece of my very being belongs, another piece I had left outside myself finds room to come inside.
And this is how the carpentry of my puzzle-building days are defined.
Finally I find myself.
And in this moment I’ve got almost all my pieces in their right place.
Sure there are a few that still don’t know which way to go, but I spend less time trying to figure it out and more time appreciating the journey that will get them there.
But I realize that my puzzle doesn’t quite add up.
You see, regardless of the few mis-aligned pieces, there simply aren’t enough to finish what I thought would be the finished product finally known as me.
And this left me almost broken.
I just couldn’t believe.
How could this be?
It’s not just one piece, I’m missing three.
I scramble to see if any are stuck together, or maybe I lost one entirely in the process?
No, that can’t be the case, with any piece lost, stolen or otherwise, I had stumbled upon another to take its place.
And I suddenly realize how incomplete I feel.
How despite knowing and loving who I turned out to be that perhaps the wholeness of my existence had a hole in it when it was purchased off the shelf.
And I am forced to look within myself.
Inside the box that was just a shapeless form of the pieces that would one day be me, existing in perfect amalgamation and resting ever so precariously between my heart and my mind.
And there, inside the box, ever so delicately taped to the top, I find my 3 missing pieces.
I already start to feel whole, and yet when I rip them from the home they’ve been hiding in for the last 28 years and go to place them within myself I am almost more let down to find that they don’t even fit.
The pieces aren’t even the same size, not the same color, not the same shape, these puzzle pieces; they aren’t even mine.
And without being aware of the magnitude and impetus of the situation;
I continue to sculpt my soul
I notice at this time that the pieces I’d given to HER to hold, were just sitting idle, resting on top of her puzzle, as were the pieces she had given to me on mine.
You see, our pieces didn’t fit together, my pieces didn’t fit in her puzzle, despite the time spent getting to know each other, the countless tears cried, kisses shared and memories made that could never be taken back or replaced with anything as sweet or more perfect.
And her pieces didn’t fit in mine, despite how hard I tried to be the guy that she’d searched her whole life to find.
So we exchange our original pieces of ourselves back so that we may at least feel a little more whole. And it’s about this time that she shares with me that regardless of what was or was not meant to be, that no matter how much I loved her more than any man had ever loved any woman on this fucking earth that she would never be able to be complete.
You see, she had 3 pieces misses from her puzzle even at her most whole.
And she shared with me the cruel joke was that her life came with 3 mis-matched pieces, taped under the cover of the box, that never seemed to fit and that she couldn’t trade in.
I told her, I tried to remind her, I tried to find a place inside her that would believe everything I was saying was true and know that this was not a single man’s opinions but a fact as infinite and defined as those that were used to build the greatest civilizations of our time; that she was as whole as they come, because they only build them whole in heaven and that’s where angels like her are born.
I told her I too was never to be complete, that I had 3 missing pieces and also had 3 mis-matched ones hidden inside me.
And so for the first time on my journey I hand someone the 3 pieces that didn’t fit within me, and she did the same, if for nothing else so that we could just see.
So we both laid our pieces down at the same time.
And let each one fall into place, each one fitting perfectly inside
And we both sighed.
You see, those hidden three pieces weren’t a mistake, mismatch or regret
They were the code to our cryptex holding the hidden truth that we just hadn’t found the person we were meant to yet
And that in this world everyone is holding 3 pieces of another’s puzzle that without them they can never get.
And it was our proof, as it is today, and every day moving forward as long as there is breath in our lungs, light in our eyes and love in our hearts, that we were meant to, have met.
And so I continue to sculpt my soul
But it’s no longer a puzzle
It’s a picture
And on the front it is clearly depicted to be both of our faces.
And the puzzles we realize have been identical the whole time, we just didn’t know because we kept them stowed away inside our own private places.
Scared to share with the other because they were of different size and shape.
And we realize that those three pieces, those three pieces have on them written one word each, that when read over and over again, for the remainder of eternity only become more tried and true.
You see the three pieces that we exchanged to each other, bare the marks of my sentiment and every fiber of my being.
You see, they read, “I Love You”
I take the lid off my life and bear witness to the puzzle inside