Several things: first, you are the summation of many Charleses and Chucks. In the supremely complex aspect of being human, we form multiple personalities, they grow out of all our situations, as you are still the toddler as much as ever you were the man, the shattered husband as ever you were the savior. Each voice and personality as vital now as ever, and each as valid and with its own ego and personality. ALL of them are you. You and I and all of us grow new Chucks and Charles and Julias over time, and as situations demand. All are us, and we are them. Whoever happens to be speaking or writing at any given moment is just a part, not the whole of us, and is in response to a need or an inspiration or a circumstance. Over time and with wisdom we can grown better, saner, more sober, happier, more balanced ones who can more effectively manage the toddlers, the damaged versions of us. But we do not nor should we or could we ever discard nor outgrow all our previous parts. For they form our facets, they give us agency and perspective and compassion and understanding. They form the bedrock of our stories and our experience. We cannot nor should we ever ban those parts of us to perdition for without them we do not and cannot understand each other or our children or be able to guide or coach or mentor or love others. Without those parts we are baseless. Without the wilder and strange parts of us we have no humor, and we cannot survive. Without the damaged parts of us we possess no mercy. We are all of them, the vast menagerie of voices that speak for us, each for its own part, as needed.

Our parts make us imperfect and perfect as we are right here and right now. All your voices are you and you are them. More are coming. Quite a party going on inside us, Charles, and the best part of it is that the more, the merrier indeed. The wisdom comes from learning that we contain multitudes, and that this is in part the engine which gives us the voice to write, to love, forgive, understand, and to embrace the horrors and the happiness and everything inbetween.

Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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