Diaries

Maura Diaries: First Felt so Alive

I love this quote from author Rebecca Solnit:

“What the very young see is literally incomparable—nothing like it has come before—and these encounters are the raw material, the imagery of their psyches.”

Seasons, sounds, smells, the touch of emotion all bring this raw material—the imagery of our psyche—right back to us.

Imagine: The first bite into a summer strawberry, the first snowfall of winter, the smell of grass in late spring or the sound of kids yelping “trick or treat” at Halloween.

We think childhood is long ago and far away, that mental cobwebs drape over that earlier time of our lives.

However, underneath the cobwebs hums the rich imagery of our young psyches; at certain moments, those feeling-images return, zoom out of the blue, resounding like a bell chiming from down the valley.

From deep within, these raw memories of our younger psyches tug at us, saying: Remember this—this is when you first felt so alive!

First Felt so Alive—I don’t think that feeling ever has an expiration date.

My father, a special agent, and pictured here with my brother’s boy scout troop at FBI headquarters in Los Angeles, loved baseball as a kid. He took my siblings and I up to the local field and hit us balls when we were young. On weekends, I often found him in the garage, polishing his black FBI agent shoes while listening to the California Angels on his transistor radio. My father could be in a slight trance, as if the garage had transformed into his dugout, as if the leather from his FBI shoes sported the same whiff as his old childhood mitt. My father was that serious FBI Agent who fought crime all day—but maybe his secret, younger psyche never left the ball field of his youth.

As his watchful daughter who loved spying on him, I could see the wonder in his eyes when he listened to those games. These clues into his mysterious soul shone like jewels. To this day, I smile and think of my father when I hear a ball game on the radio. It’s almost as if we are back on the field together.

“FBI Girl: How I Learned to Crack My Father’s Code” goes into its reprint edition and also is released in audiobook format Fall of 2017. This coming-of-age memoir is a love story about my family, about the place, the sights, tastes, sounds, conversations, longings and silences of where I grew up—a testimony to the raw imagery of my first fourteen years when I first felt so alive.

There is so much to tap into once you realize this inner real estate called “childhood” isn’t so long ago and far away. You can hear a hum, feel the pulse of the wind connecting you back into your own humanity, back into the mystery revealed of what made you, you. And that’s a story worth stepping into.