Tonight, I gave a reading from EFTB; and it was a really powerful night.
As SBC introduced me, I was startled by some of the things she said. She said that when she saw me the first time, as that young naive student and lost little girl, she wanted to take me home, lock me in her house and protect me. I never knew she felt that way. In fact when I was in her class, I didn't think she liked me. Back then, I was all consumed with who did or didn't like me and why.
SBC mentioned the paper I wrote at the end of her class back then as well. I was a very angry young woman. She said that she still has that paper to this day, that she has kept it, and it is a testimony to how far I've come. I shudder to think about that paper, I was hoping it got tossed out and forgotten. That was the beginning of my "writing career" I figured no one would care what I had to say. Little did I know.
After I got done with my reading and talking to the class, she spoke again, and talked about how she was there at the wacipi when i came back; she watched me struggle with all thing things I struggled with, she wanted to jump in and save me, but knew she couldn't. She knew I was angry but she also knew it was because I had been very hurt. Even after I left SGU and went on the the University, she kept tabs on me, she would send messengers out to "check up" on me. If anyone returned from the U, she's ask them, did they see me, was I ok? Once she'd been assured of my safety, she'd relax.
Now, looking back at the past ten, almost 11 years, I'm amazed. SO much has happend, my life is so different, I am so different. I've learned so many things, had so many people looking out for me, most of whom I was not even aware of. When Tuwin died, I was heartbroken and thought myself an orphan. As cunksi grew inside of me, I realized, I was never an orphan. NEVER. I've always had someone looking out for me, caring for me, loving me all along. Even when I wasn't aware of it.
In my latest published piece, I say "...For me there will never be another Tuwin." What I see so clearly now is, There will never be an Alyce Bear Shield, but there are and will be many Tuwin ki who will love me, support me and be there for me.
Even when I'm not looking.
SBC and the whole Lakota studies program pushes Kinship. I understand now, and see it in action. In 2002, my Ate' gave me my Lakota name, Tiwahe Wica Yu Wita Win, Gathers family together woman. I am proud of this name, and grow prouder of it as the days go by.
I understand this name and the duty attached with it.
I will live it.
I'm grateful to all the people who love me and support me and have stayed by my side as I've stumbled and grown, waiting patiently for me. For understanding where I was coming from, even when I couldn't always understand it myself.
It is because I came home that I was able to grow and become the person i am today. I love who I am, I love my strength and my solidity, my perseverance and my grit. But I was only able to get to this place because others loved me, supported me and understood me unconditionally.
For that I will always be grateful.
I'm not done learning or growing, and that excites me!