Thursday, January 28, 2010
The morning sun
i want to melt away
For some time now I have felt like this rather bad attempt at poetry, dating from my twenties. I think almost everyone who has not yet destroyed it, has some such writing around from the time they were teens and/or young adults.
I keep these old note/sketchbooks around, not because my entries in them are worth much to anyone else, but because there are times in my life when it is valuable to revisit those times and feelings in my own life. (I can only fervently hope that nobody finds them and reads them after i die...i am trying to retain some sort of reputation at not being completely dopey.)
In those days, I recall just how easy it was for me to drive myself into a depression with not much cause. Others, in looking at my life may have thought there was cause, but in reality, i was doing quite well. There was just something attractive in occupying the role of the melancholic.
Now, forty or so years later, i no longer find that position at all attractive. In the last couple of years, I have lost friends and acquaintances to all the things that create these losses. Cancer and one or two other illnesses have been in the highest numbers at this party, but in looking at my life it is clear that there are other culprits that take us away from each other. Changes in lifestyle, marriage, children, illness (in my case-rarely serious, but annoyingly chronic),distance, misunderstandings and a list that could go on for pages.
I am bored with this melancholia, despite the fact that I do look good in black -- slimming, you know. I am also bored with writing this blog colored by it.
I was asked, when I wrote for a small mag. to write a short collumn on the matter of "letting go". Parts of it are relevant not just for me but for so many others at this time. I think of the losses of the people of Haiti and then realize that we have yet to complete the job of putting back the lives of those who lost so much in Katrina. How many years has it been, and who ever speaks of it? This is a kind of letting go that we are all good at and it is not good for the world. However, I promised a change from the melancholic and so here goes.
In the winter, many of us are compelled by the obvious changes in nature around us, to take some stock of our lives, goals, relationships, etc. For this collumn, I have been asked to write something about "letting go".
This question is like a lovely (gluten free - i guess) cheesecake for me. I could easily think and write, ultimately reducing the poor thing to crumbs. Although this approach leaves out no minutae, and thereby might speak to all, it would all ultimately become meaningless, ideas lost in the chaos of more ideas. I worry about carelessly turning such a valuable question into that kind of experience.
Brevity is not my strong suit, but I will try.
Last year, I had to face the fact that I am an incredible hoarder. I am a hoarder not so much of things, but I have some issues there too. I have been battling this concern all my life, yet I find that I easily move things along into another life when it is their time. My hoarding is of a different kind, one that many of us have known since childhood. I cling to relationships, memories, ideas, goals wishes and views of myself, views of others and the big one---sameness. I do not want things to change and will often hold on tooth and nail to pretend that they have not. I can think of no other explanation for the size 6 jeans in my closet! Failing this first strategy, I may then move on sullenly to some sort of accomodation.
Culturally we are given the sense that it is "incorrect" to admit that age or infirmity of any form can limit one's life or cause one to be different. (I will avoid my usual screaming rant here..) The truth is that time and the traces our living leaves on our hearts and bodies forces us to give up some of the things by which we may have formerly defined ourselves. (Shallow is perfectly ok in my mind..) For example, no matter how creatively fashion forward I may have been at another time in my life, four inch heels are totally out of the question unless I want to put my back out.
I find that I am forced to look at myself through the eyes of others and surprised at what I must leave behind. Throughout the decades, I have had some wonderful and close relationships that ultimately suffered from mutual neglect. During that time, the course of our lives have wrought the kinds of changes that, though slow, are enduring. (This could be called the water drop on the rock model).
Letting go of the comfort of who you are in the eyes of another is one of the most painful and difficult of human emotional experiences. As a therapist and as a human being --well semi-human, I know enough to know how little I know about each individual's experience through this.
The marvelous thing about our winter ruminations is that they are infallibly followed by another spring. We remember the flowers from last year and are perhaps surprised by a few new volunteers as well. That becomes an easy time to put away these resolutions and thoughts you made earlier to try to ensure no letting go. Perhaps the only one you made was to try to discover the roots and locations of your rigidity. Leave it and if need be, leave yourself some notes somewhere.
There is a marvelous quote by Mohandas Ghandi that sums up where I want to get: "Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony."
Here's to diving in, taking the girdle off life and showing up every day in a different costume!! love and peace to all. sopha davenport