Recently, I have been going through my old writing — old websites, old books, old photo albums, doing research of my life like I have a test coming up. This is all of course, for my book and it has been incredibly therapeutic and all-consuming.
Today, I found a post that I wrote on June 28, 2009––nearly ten years ago. In it, I compare my 29 year old self to my 20 year old self, and now I am comparing all that I wrote to my 38 year old self.
Wow. I am in awe and at the same time, notice a pit in my stomach at the elapsing of the years so forcefully fast.
I am so grateful to all of these people (who are all me) who took the time to write, and do it with passion and conviction. I have never known, more than I do now, that “writer” is at the very essence, core, center of who I am––no matter what age I happen to be.
Time is swift. And, we never really do figure it out, do we?
While so much of life has fallen into place since this post, I am here again at a cross-roads of sorts. One where I have to decide who I really am and show it to the world. I have done it over and over, it seems — it appears that is just the pattern of who I am.
If one thing has changed since 6/28/2009 it is that I am not afraid to own who I am. My thoughts, my passions, my fears, my hangups. My truth has become more like the body I live in and less like something hanging over me that I keep trying to grasp.
Oh, and when you get to the part about longing — the good new is, that I have figured out.
The longing is simply: To create. And, fulfilling that longing has become more important than ever.
What hasn’t changed?
“Wanting to sit alone because it is too scary to try to be with another person completely will always be who I am.”
June 28, 2009
So much time has gone by. Immeasurable. Time that spans a decade of holding up torches and having them blown out. Time spent finding and losing everything I ever knew about myself or anyone else. Colorless and full of color. Full and so completely empty. I am so fatigued.
I sit here, on the floor of my bedroom, in a house that was built with such hope, packing boxes. Putting books and pictures into cardboard that moved everything here not even two years ago with the intentions of staying still. Inevitably, I go through all of those books I wrote. The ones of blank pages that I filled with handwritten poems and words. Delicious words filled white paper over and over and over, and I don’t seem to know that girl anymore.
I am nearly 30.
What I knew then, I no longer know.
What I know now, I couldn’t imagine I would know then.
And yet, I feel like I know nothing.
I feel like my little heart is no loner pumping blood, but rather has become an un-extraordinary organ; one that only processes and filters mundane things such as blood and particles. I have forgotten how incredible those small things can be.
I once wrote things like: “ there is a space somewhere between the breaks of the ocean and the reflection of the sky, where time doesn’t exist. Where you can sit forever and never tell the difference between night and day. Where greens, blues, and black are ever present, but never singular. Where your face is always brighter than the sky and clearer than the water. This is a place we will never see. Maybe we can feel it in the hallow of our closed eyes and feel the breezes on our arms, lick the sun from our lips….but we can never pause our lives long enough to know what this breathing feels like.” (06.22.01)
That is what I used to write. But that was eight years ago. Now, I have no idea what I have become. No idea what taste rests on my lips.
I haven’t written a word on a literal blank page in five years. I sit here, at this technological representation of paper and think it is the same. But, it isn’t. And I will probably never fill books like I used to or carry one around with me everywhere I go…because somehow, it has become too bulky. This computer is smaller, more efficient. My life has become smaller. And I have not become those things I wrote about with such forceful passion ten years ago. I didn’t know what those things may have been, but this feeling of empty, in this suburban home where my marriage ended, doesn’t produce the words of beauty it used to.
Rilke says, “Those who have the most longing in them aren’t able to say what it is they long for. But then the Tempter comes and says, God it is and his goodness, that is your desire, deny yourselves and you will find him.” And so they go off and deny themselves and before long they have lost their longing.”
I have NEVER been able to say what it is I long for. Love? Passion? Art? Money? Happiness? I have no idea. I suppose some representation of all of those things. None of them ever seem to come hand and hand. One finds love and forgets passion. One finds money and looses happiness.
I feel like I have found nothing.
But my longing for them all, and more than all of them combined, still sits in my chest with such heaviness that somehow, I keep writing and keep loving and hope that someday it will all fall into place like a puzzle I have been working on for ten years.
Sometimes, I feel like I know less than I did when I was 20. I feel like I have less figured out, less passion and less hope. But there is this “thing”, like the hallway light left on, that keeps me awake. And when I hear a poem or I feel a part of passion in any form, I remember what it is like to know that longing itself is what is important. The fulfillment of that longing is unimportant.
But now, I feel acidic. And in those connected moments with others, I feel as though I would re-grow somehow under their constant pruning. Untended by my own hands, because my hands cannot produce the same thing that a lover’s hands can. A parent’s hands, a sister’s hands, a friend’s hands.
I cannot reverse anything. I cannot reverse the way that my ex husband’s hands made me this person. Or how my lovers’ since have made me skeptical and monumental all at once.
Looking back will continue. Looking forward will forever be hard. And, wanting to sit alone because it is too scary to try to be with another person completely will always be who I am. And perhaps one day, again, I will feel unafraid of another person sitting across from me simply because “fidelity is just a metaphor”.
I am a metaphor. And those who know me understand that every move I make comes from the purest place of allegory and allusion. But, it is always, always real.
“Look at the tangle of the pink rimmed sun, dissolving into my lamb skin—the outline of a cheekbone, matted limbs. This is where I live—formless, watching my own cold conception. I am nothing but a girl-child” –CLN 06.14.01.
Funny, here I am again, 06.28.09.