At first, I wasn't sure what my response was... I felt immediately split in two, as if one half of me was on the other end of a phone line unable to speak, jaw dropped, and the other half of me was calling into the phone "hello? hello? are you there? what's happening?" Now, on day two, it is devistation coming through. Devistation, though? Shouldn't I just not care? Why does it hurt? I don't understand why it hurts. Not even a passionate hurt, either. It's just a 'stopped dead in your tracks' kind of hurt. Nothing is moving.
The funny thing is, I knew it would happen. I knew it would happen with her and in this exact way. I knew that after me, it would happen fast. When I first heard her name, I knew it would be her. And not more than a month ago we met at a cafe for lunch for a kind hello, my brother was there, and I could see the love still there in his eyes, and I could see the way he bitterly fought it and chose to hate me instead, because it made his love easier to despise me. I remember seeing that twisted look in his face, I remember taking it all in, and responding in my heart that 'yes, I have seen you for all that you are, and my love requires more.'
I remember him telling me he didn't, couldn't, love her the way he knows he is capable of loving, but that he liked the relationship because it was easy. I told him there was something to that ease, and that if he looked more closely, he'd see that love has the capacity for growth much more in the ease than in the tension, which is where our love existed. Love gets stuck in tension. Love grows slow and gentle with ease, but never ceases. It is a constant unwrapping. Perhaps he found that. I hope he found that.
So many thoughts went through my head yesterday. I want to write him to congratulate him. I want to say only good things. When I peer beyond the sea of my own emotions, there is happiness for him, and compassionate joy. I want to express these things. At the same time, I want to express my own terrible emotions... the more self-centered ones. And I don't even want to express them for the purposes of recognition, or spite -- nothing along those lines at all. I'd simply want to know how, how to understand the pain I feel, and what to do with it. An instantaneous death and birth. How can one feel such incredibly mixed feelings?
Anyway, wouldn't it ultimately just be selfish of me to write him any kind of letter right now? This is his time, this is his happiness. But wasn't he my best friend? Yes. Yes he was. But if I were to write him now, even if it were genuinely from the heart, congratulatory, and embracing, it would bring up the past for him and take away from this precious moment for them. I can't do it.
So I must leap out of my skin? I want to run, run so badly... for miles and miles. But I am sick. I've got to work this out of me. Before it begins to show. How can I get it up to the surface and out, without it showing? There is no where for me to go, no way for me to work it out. Cleaning projects, I suppose. Or painting. Meditation. I certainly can't mope about listening to depressive music, as I have been doing. And what about love-making with my lover? My heart is on the floor right now. God, and even that doesn't make any sense. I have the most amazing, incredible man. I love him so very, very much. He's beautiful. And this ache is every bit natural, I know. But I don't want it here. I don't want this interference.
The bedroom window, I am convinced, is a small slice of morning heaven. The windows open out, do not bear screens, and always carry a gentle breeze through the mesh curtains. When I wake, the very first thing I do (before coffee, even) is to push these windows open. Hours later, when I'm lying down for a nice afternoon nap, the easy breeze rocks me right to sleep.
Heaven isn't with me all the time, though. Beneath the shades of happiness that color my life, there are still inner struggles to be dealt with. For instance, the battle over lethargy continues. This lethargy stems from some sort of reversed inertia, a vacuum if you will, that was turned on when school ended. It has continued to pull my motivation away, until I feel somewhat stuck, empty, tired. I say each day that I will begin a new project. Today, I will begin writing a story! Today, I will write a poem! Today, I will.... and then I end up lying in bed, reading a book. Or sitting on the porch, reading a book. Of course, this is obviously reconcilable. I mean, reading a book is terrific, and progressive in its own right. But is it an escape? Perhaps. Perhaps not. What I'm really pointing at I guess is this unwanted guest in the corner, that part of me that feels she isn't fully living. What does fully living mean, though? Are there distorted expectations of myself here?
There isn't much I can do for the next two years but wait. Naturally, there is a sense of drifting that makes me nervous and uncomfortable. For a capricorn woman, there must always be a mountain to climb, a new goal to achieve, some sort of upward and onward movement. I know that right now, this mountain and those goals don't exist. Logically, I know there isn't anything wrong with that, and that most likely, I've been filling my time beautifully. Baking bread. Painting pottery for friends. Reading Russian novels.
I have a hunch that my spirit's been needing the attention lately. The thought popped up on my radar this morning in the form of a question: where is the energy of spirit? I've built my new nest, put all things in their right places, but I didn't make a new nest for the Spirit. I have a funny little relationship with that "God" thing. It's like an imaginary friend that I use to keep around me all the time. I'd invite it over to play when I did tarot readings, when I painted or did anything creative, even when I bathed. I haven't looked about for it in a long time, since moving; I haven't invited it to visit with me. I think I've found the thirst.
The dramatic details of Vronsky and Anna, of Levin and Kitty, and all the others, continue. I am somewhere around the 600th page by now, praying for the safe delivery of Levin and Kitty's first child, full of anxiety over the precarious nature of Vronsky and Anna's relationship, and appreciating/respecting the character of Mr.Karenin more and more. How does Tolstoy write so well? Each character's predicament is so vividly clear to me, it's as if I were inside of them all, as if I were them all. I want to begin from page one again as soon as I complete this book. Does that sound absurd?? It probably is, but I have to study this man's craft. I need to find out what makes it work, and work so well. I know already that there is no way, simply no way at all, that I'll ever be within spitting distance of his calibre of talent, but that wont keep me from learning as much as I can from his writing. I envy writers like these, because I can sense in them the ability of letting go that I have only my achieved in my poetry, but cannot jump the hurdle of the mind in my story writing. They call this force flow.
Laughable moment of the day: moonpie attempting to squeeze her fat ass into a tiny box.
It's been a while since I updated. Where has the summer gone? Smells of autumn are already subtly sifting through the air... my favorite time of the year.
Visiting friends. Spontaneous trips. Russian novels. Bread Baking. Moving house. Cats! Plants. New friendships. Breaking one's own records. Researching graduate schools. "These are just a few of my favorite things..."
It has been a busy summer thusfar. School began today and I find myself nostalgic, restless even. I so deeply miss the excitement of new classes, buying notebooks and pens, flipping through syllabi and "new" used textbooks. Not being in school anymore has that feeling of being in one place when you know you're missing out on another... some party somewhere, something exciting going on that you aren't a part of, but could be, or should be attending. Oh graduate school! Where art thou?!
If only the decision could come to me, but it hasn't yet. Where, or what, to study next... In the meantime, I've already begun cracking the books on GRE preparation. This, coupled with some unfounded feeling of doom and insecurity over actually getting into a graduate program (with cum laude and research honors, one would hope I shouldn't have a problem getting in). Nonetheless, the fear inherent in the possibility of not getting accepted into a program of choice sets in an inordinate amount of anxiety.
Here are a few of the highlights I mentioned above: Currently reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. This author's depth and breadth of human understanding and piercingly precise depiction of the human heart and human mind is astounding. I began the novel identifying the most with the character of Constantine Levin, and immidiately picked-up on the notion that this character's moralistic viewpoints and subtlties of personality might actually reflect those of the author himself. (Jessica later verified this to be true). Now, at nearly half-way through, I find myself actually identifying the most with Anna. Caught between a man she doesn't love but is in a relationship with, and in-love with a man she can't be with, is an all too familiar situation. The expression of her inner struggles with the helplessness of her predicament, the inevitability and uncontrollable needs of the heart, are spoken of here by Tolstoy with such clarity that he has enlightened moments of my own past for me... shown me exactly what I felt but was so painfully unable to articulate. Can you tell I am in-love with this writer?? And there is so much, so much, poured into these pages (all 800 of them)! I am enjoying the time it is taking me to finish this novel. I am grateful that it's so goddamn long... so many books I enjoy end too quickly, and I miss them sorely when they're over. This one is like three books in one. I get to enjoy it, and enjoy it, and enjoy it some more.
And what better way to enjoy Anna Karenina then on the front porch of my new apartment? It's spectacular! All four of the cats... yes, four.... love it here. With plenty of porch and plenty of yard to play in, it's like they've discovered one giant litter box outside, which makes mama (me) very happy. The new place is positioned right between Little Five and Candler Park, so that the running path I so often enjoy is just a block away, work is less than a mile down the street (biking to and from is pure bliss), the coffee shops, the clothing stores, the healthfood grocery is all within walking distance. The apartment itself has 12ft ceilings, hardwood floors, built-in bookshelves.... it's like a fairytale. I wake in the morning, have coffee at the table on the porch, and do morning yoga there on the wrap-around.
I've also been working at the art of baking bread. After a few early mishaps (not kneeding correctly, forgetting to add salt), I've finally reached a place where I can now play around with my recipes. Last week I added roasted garlic, thyme and basil oil to the mix for a delicious loaf that was eaten in three days flat!
Sitting in an airport for six hours on standby gives a woman plenty of time to indulge the wandering and thoughtful mind. Literally, thoughtfull.
How about the incredible success of technology? Without a computer or lap-top, still I have the world wide web at my fingertips. The Blackberry was perhaps a dangerously efficient invention. It allows me to be "plugged-in" and "connected" at all times. What happens to one's love of books when the newer more interactive FACEbook is around? I look around me and see phones even greater than mine... A seven year old child across from me is watching the movie "Up" on her mother's remarkable iPhone.
I find myself straying from topic...
I wanted really to talk about growth, and the creation of families. I had the wonderful blessing of spending the last few days in the lovely Columbia Missouri visiting my childhood friend. Married three years ago a month from today, she and her husband have a new 9 month old baby. Having known Jessica for 10 years, half of which were explosive adolescent years, much history has been logged in and between us. At 25 going on 26 now, the changes do not seem to have slowed. If anything, they've excellerated, but with much greater meaning and more expensive implications.
Children, for one, are at the forefront of such changes. I long for a child myself, but having not yet gone through this particular change do not often grasp the magnitude of the change behind my procreative desires.
What has made my relationship with Jessica such a deep and profound one is the propensity for empathy with one another that allows us to understand eachother - usually without words - to such a degree that my own feelings can sometimes be indistinguishable from hers. This remarkable gift allows me to feel, or empathically grasp, an experience she is having that I have not yet had; in this case, a child.
Of course, there remains some basic level of separation in that I cannot fully and completely know her situation. However, there are definitely moments of enlightenment, moments when the separateness of my experience from hers fades enough for me to become aware of the experience as she is encountering it. The result is such that, in short, I've been blown away.
What does it mean to have a child? Starting your day at 6am, regardless of your own needs. Strict routines, constant watching-out, and countless personal sacrifices. Among these challenges though, there is a joy I've never seen before, except perhaps for rare moments with my own mother. The joy is untouchable, and for the most part unexplainable as well.
The first night there Jess's husband was finishing his nursing precept, which meant he wouldn't be home until early the next morning. To keep one another company, Jess and I slept in the bed together. Like children again, we stayed up long after the lights had been put out, tucked in the covers chatting about boys - old loves, new loves, our mothers, thoughts, lessons. In the morning, like an alarm clock, the baby woke right on queue at 6am. Obediently, Jess went to the baby's crib and brought him into the bed with us. This was the rare moment for me that I wouldn't have ordinarily been able to have... Experiencing what her life is like as a young mother, - the more intimate hours of dawn when her and her husband would be the two lying with the baby. Like a true 9-month old who has first learned to use his arms and legs, Finn climbed on our bodies like they were new mountains to uncover. Baby hands grabbed at my nose, pressed into my stomach and chest. The sounds of his cooing, not unlike a bird's, were the fresh morning sounds I had the pleasure of waking to.
I don't think these experiences have pushed me in one direction or another as far as my desires for motherhood are concerned. I've been more moved by the transformations I see in my best friend and the love that exists between her and her young family - husband, wife, and baby. On a more personal note, I've turned inward and given more acceptance to where I am now in my own life. A single woman in a new relationship. Unmarried. No children. Fresh out of college. I'm still figuring a lot of things out. Simple things, even, like what I prefer to wear to the grocery store: jeans or a skirt? Am I more casual or concerned? How can I meditate more? These kinds of questions are happily at the forefront of my mind.
I always thought the saying "be where you are" was somewhat cliche. But I think I've actually begun to really understand the importance and the gift behind that neo-phrase. Whether I am me or her, embracing where we are right now means opening ourselves to the gifts life has for us each as individuals. I enjoyed this trip immensley, and I am looking so forward to being home with the many awaiting projects. Even sitting in this airport, now in the fifth hour of what will prove to be an eight hour delay, I'm embracing the gift of time - the gift of the present.
I found a place! It's beautiful. Well... it will be beautiful after a little TLC. One block from Little Five Points proper. The location just can't get any better than that! The running path is down the street. Not to mention the great shopping... my wardrobe is going to see an improvement for sure. The photograph above is of the bedroom. It is probably 15ft x 15ft. It is enormous. And yellow. Very yellow. (the color of creativity and imagination).
These two photographs are of the amazing kitchen and dining room/office. The kitchen is honestly what sold me on the place. Just look at all those shelves (doubled on each side). mmmm
Interestingly, this is the oldest inhabited house in Atlanta. It served as a hospital during the Civil War, and was burned to the ground by Sherman's troops. A few years after the war ended they rebuilt the house on the same old brick foundation. This place has more than a few stories! And hopefully whatever ghosts are hanging around are kind ones. I'm praying for no "Beloved" type ghosts.