“Women are still in emotional bondage as long as we need to worry that we might have to make a choice between being heard and being loved.” ― Marianne Williamson, A Woman’s Worth
One plain ordinary day in November can change you forever. You can have dinner; sit down to once again dull that rational part of your brain with mindless television, and it can happen. Your life can change forever.
I am the same me that I was in the October, the same me I was when I was forty eight, the same me I was last week. Aren’t I? No, I don’t feel the same now, not at all.
I remember October, back when I was me. I was out in the garden late in the afternoon when a colossal gust of wind whipped around me and almost tossed me into the pool. The evening was sooo perfect, the late sun shimmering on the water and that burgundy coleus smiling up at me. I looked out toward the buoyant elephant ears waving back and forth. Seeing the wind’s effect on the pool, I attempted to catch the scene with my new camera, the only one I’ve had that requires thinking. (A little late in life to start that habit.)
As I focused on the picture I wondered if that particular gust of wind had ever washed over me before. Where does it go? How far does that same gust of wind travel? Does it circle around to the other side of the world and then come back? Did that delightful Massaman curry scent from dinner a couple weeks ago just float through London on its way back to Bryant Street in Edmond?
Is it possible the same wind could touch you twice? Could that wind that swept through your hair as you played in the leaves with your nieces so many years ago, the wet breeze that chased you through the parking lot at Rose State the day you won third place in the writing contest, and that cold current you felt when your life stopped right after dinner be the same wind? Could the wind go all the way back to yesterday when you were still you?
I go back to the words, read my own, and once again see that sad square box that holds me, confines me, and gives me a wretched deceptive sense of security. No, I won’t be that prim little middle class Pollyanna. Not anymore.
I didn’t ask for the rose colored glasses and I hate the square box; I am done. This practice of writing has caused decisive hairline fractures in the box and some of the cloistered me is trickling out.
At the checkout stand in the grocery store I swiped my credit card for payment and the lit words appeared on the screen, asking me if I wanted debit or credit. I saw a word that surprised me. Flashing on the screen was “procrastinating–procrastinating”. What it actually said was processing– processing. Yes, I was doing both.
So, I slowly allow my tired eyes to see what they never wanted to; my unsteady heart both dreading and wanting the painful truth. I wish I could unknow this truth, but realize I cannot escape the pain. It does not come all at once; by degrees I let it come. I have to bear the catastrophe. I cannot go back and be the fair-haired Pollyanna; I never liked the stupidamnshitty girl anyway.
When I was young I thought I was invincible and invisible and did anything I thought I was big enough to do. I constantly surprised myself. What happened to that girl with freedom of spirit? I need her now. Where is she? This me-is drained of spirit and light. This me-is in the dark and angry.
Just get ready for work I tell myself; do what you do each day. Without the ability to focus I am scattered, can’t steady my legs under me which shake uncontrollably. Just brush your teeth-you can do that, I tell myself. I look down in the sink and see a fly lying there on her back struggling frantically to right her posture. She and I are the same. She just wants to survive the day, just function, just feel normal. Not drown in a stream of sad reality.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” I will not be consumed by this dark hurt; I don’t want scar tissue to build up on my heart. I will not give over to despair-often. On this ordinary day I will do what I do each day; I will turn inward to God.
“The whole problem with people is…they know what matters, but they don’t choose it…The hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters.” ― The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd