Wednesday, October 28, 2009

we won't have a word for this except perhaps religion

Some nights I feel like, if I could just find a linguistic toehold, I could write something that felt really good. My mind is searching for that one sentence, the word that will trigger an idea that will grow into a chain that has--hopefully--some semblance of coherence, and that you will consequently read as you drink your coffee tomorrow morning. There are other things I should be doing rather than trying to write tonight. I should be, at the very least, doing dishes, and probably I should just be sleeping; this last while has not been kind to me in terms of awake-to-asleep ratios, and really I'm becoming too old to sleep so little. But I feel like the words are on the verge and I haven't been writing as much and I miss how it feels when it goes well and so here I am, waiting for my laundry to finish drying and for something to occur to me.

Life has been good to me lately (well, other than the lack of sleep), as it so often seems to be this year, and I've been using the word "win" a great deal. (Probably rather more than is strictly necessary. See also: awesome and amazing.) I smile a lot. At times like this, when everything seems to be more or less working in my favor, I often describe myself as sparkly, because I can almost feel the glints of light shining off of me, some sort of physical manifestation of deep and powerful joy that surely must be visible to others. I think sometimes people can tell when you're feeling a thing this strongly. It's like when I'm on the bus and thinking about sex and suddenly everybody seems to be smiling in my direction, except with happiness instead of hormones or pheromones or whatever. It feels like a wave inside of me sometimes, nearly strong enough to knock me out.

I spent most of my life in a sort of self-imposed mini-lockdown; I decided when I was very young--around seven--not to hope too hard for things, not to trust others too far, in order to protect myself from being hurt, and I essentially lived within that decision for the next two decades. I told myself that the only person I could really trust in my understanding of was myself, and that even that was precarious because how was I to know whether I was being rational? The world was an uncertain place, and I deeply feared a lack of rationality. Even after I got older and at least theoretically began leaving these ideas behind, I held myself in so tightly that I ended up with anxiety disorders and dysfunctional relationships, and my connections with other people suffered because it took me an unreasonable amount of time to believe that they were doing more than merely tolerating my presence. I was silent a lot. I never knew how badly this lack of trust, of hope, was hurting me until I stopped giving credence to it, began believing that I had worth and that it was more important to learn from others than to stay safe, but when I did my heart opened up just like it does when I fall in love and I felt suddenly and abruptly weightless, aloft on possibility.

I'm hyperbolizing, perhaps. It's both difficult and problematic to try and pin down the impact of an idea, never clearly articulated in quite this way until just now, on the past. All I know is that I was often unhappy and now I'm mostly not, and that the biggest change I can think of is that I finally believe that good things deserve to happen to me. I feel like such a cliche, one that says that I am beautiful and worthy and strong and dammit, hear me roar! but what I don't understand is why, if this is a concept that we for some reason feel comfortable mocking and holding up as overdone (those feminists with their "woman power..."), we don't yet entirely believe it. I suppose I shouldn't speak for others, but I know for myself and for many many people around me, there are far too many crises of faith.

I don't believe that I don't need to change, that I've reached some sort of higher level of self-love and personal actualization and it's smooth sailing from here on out. I'll always be changing. But I do believe that the way I am right now is completely wonderful and worth valuing as such, and that change is not merely a necessity; it's something that I can allow and appreciate and learn from and experience instead of just tolerating. I trust that I can survive it. I hope that I can do more than just survive.

I found this on a friend's tumblr tonight. I think that means maybe I was writing about the right thing.


ammie said...

Bring on the goddamn cheese.

Lauren said...

:::heart heart heart heart heart:::

Amber said...

people call it self-discovery or self-love, but sometimes it's the discovery of a reason to live.

i hope that makes some sense.

Rosiecat said...

It is absolutely a leap of faith learning to trust other people. You captured this sentiment beautifully, Ammie.

And the line about how you should be doing diehes? Hilarious! That is almost ALWAYS the case when I am writing. It is the case right this very moment, too. :-)