Here is a new little storylet I made with Rabbit.
Truly truly truly the most amazing group of people.
There’s been so much heavy emotional processing in this blog lately. Here is a portrait Alfred Stieglitz took of Georgia O’Keeffe. This hangs above my desk. I saw a show of Stieglitz portraits at the Met this winter; I was so arrested by his portraits of O’Keeffe. The quality of the photographic gaze in them is so reverent and lustful and loving. I could viscerally feel how in love with her he was when I looked at them.
Just spoke to River on the phone and she reminded me in this most casual and matter-of-fact way that it absolutely does not matter how a high-frequency gesture of pure love and grace is identified and received. Energy goes out, energy comes back eventually. My “performance” of forgiveness is not conditional on C’s recognition of it. It’s a gift I’ve been given by the universe and a gift I had the grace to pass along. I am still okay. I’m pretty sad right now still — being in this space where I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about C/ waiting on C’s acceptance/approval of my forgiveness has put me squarely back in the place where I was when we broke up but I’m going to be okay. Today was not an A+ day; today was really more of a C- day. But it’s bedtime now and tomorrow I get another shot.
I’m going to take my pills and go to bed now. I love you.
the staggering number of times someone has said to me no, it was real, I saw you two together, we all did and the way the world comes rushing back around me and I can feel whatever chair I am sitting in or cigarette I am smoking with my whole body again, because I didn’t realize it but I’d convinced myself that I made it all up.
Even though my depression is finally abating considerably (thanks Wellbutrin! You and I look good together.) I still have lingering spaces in my life where it exerts control. Monday afternoons, after therapy, are pretty much worthless in terms of getting work done because I usually, after an hour of sobbing in my therapist’s office, spend the next six hours sobbing on the couch (except when I go outside to sob on the stoop and smoke) then I finally pull myself together, take a klonopin on an empty stomach and take the dog on a three-mile dog walk all over town until the sun sets. Evenings Also seem to pose an insurmountable challenge. Because I am up and studying hard at 5am every day, by the time 4 pm rolls around my brain is mushy and I am restless and lonely. I basically sit around the apartment and try to kill time until it is reasonable to take my meds and go to bed. I have been annihilating these chunks of hours with television (how american!) but I am tiring even of that.
Sundays, though. Sundays are the worst. There is I think this lingering nostalgia/dread left over from childhood–Sundays were always the day mom called me in from playing outside in the woods all weekend and forced me to sit down and do my homework and clean my room and bathe. The structure and rigor of the coming week bore down on me and I felt very blue. I think most kids had some variation on this experience. Sundays now are luxurious days–I allow myself to sleep in (830 today!) and I lounge around the house with coffee until the afternoon, whereupon I clean and grocery shop and do a little reading for the next week. The trouble is that waking up slow, lounging in bed for an hour after I wake, means that I am given over to memory. The solitude and space of Sundays I usually wind up filling with memories and speculation and over-thoughts about a situation I still cannot understand and do not have time or distance yet to get perspective on. Sundays are for loneliness and pain. (And postsecret.) On Sundays my depression emerges from wherever its been crouched in wait for me and luxuriates, stretches out over my chest and settles. On Sundays it’s difficult to breathe.
I met a friend from out of town for cocktails last night and we spent three long hours talking and talking and talking, easy-like. She and I met at AWP and were in similar spaces of extremely displaced trauma and overwhelmed-ness and finding each other there was unbelievably reassuring. She is from here and visits occasionally, and we’ve met up each time and checked in with each other. To our mutual surprise and delight, we’ve both turned a major corner in the past couple of weeks and are happy, and moving easier through the world. I disclosed to her something I have not yet told anyone (and am now apparently telling everyone, via this blog [she said, wryly] ) which is that I recently extended an olive branch to C.
It is early and I am still very fragile, but this is what happened. I just realized that it’s okay. I run a beautiful magazine and I have a radio show and my friends are the BOMB and I go to a top ten MFA program and I’m happy with the work I’m producing here and I have adorable pets and a cute little house and I have a home in the world that I get to go back to where there is family who know everything there is or ever has been to know about me and love and accept me utterly and I have great hair and a pretty cute butt and good intuition and a scathing sense of humor and a lot of amazing mentors and I’m good. I’m good. And whatever happened in the space between C and I that invited rupture had nothing to do with me. I did not break him, I was not too much for him. In fact, I was very good to him. I am a good, generous, willing, available, challenging, engaging jewel of a partner and anyone who could step to me would be astonished and grateful for everything I offer. I know this through and through, absolutely in the core of my being beyond a shadow of a doubt.
And I also know that I feel intensely grateful to have been shown what good real love looks and feels like, and how deeply I am capable of feeling about another person and how incredibly humbling and nourishing it is to truly allow someone to love you. I know what a worthy partner looks like, for the first time in my entire life. EVER. And I have so many truly remarkable hilarious sweet memories that I made with a person I fundamentally respect and that, too, is new. I want to be done feeling bad that we didn’t work out and I want to feel good about all the things that I got from a brief, wild, leveling love affair. I want to make peace with it and I want it to become something that buoys me up (rather than a burden I bear.) Part of that–very much a part of that–is wanting him to know how much he means and has meant to me and wanting him to feel good and okay about what happened and where we are now.
So I wrote him an email. I told him about how I’d finished my book and was so happy and relieved. And that somehow I’d never noticed it before but spring here is just so abundantly beautiful–my street smells like honeysuckle and fields of crimson clover hug the highways and ripple in the wind and the cherry trees all over campus are raining blooms down on everyone all day and the magnolias are starting to sigh open and the wisteria is exploding out of chain link fences and old trees and down trellises– and it makes me feel so peaceful and at home here. I have never felt that way before. And then I told him that looking at the clover jogged some memories of our early early falling-in-love stage, and they were very sweet hilarious un-tinged memories and I felt so lucky to have them, and to know him because–as I have already gushed above–he is a really decent and wonderful human being and a pleasure to get to know and love.
He did not respond.
I told all this to my new friend as we stirred our gin cocktails on a patio at a nice bar downtown. The wind was blowing, but just a little, and the sky was turning from orange to deep pink because the sun was beginning to set. Across the street at an old revival-house theater, costumed people were filing inside to compete in a city-wide talent show. I told her what I’ve told no one–that I want his forgiveness and I want him to accept mine, that I’ve asked for it and he refuses to respond–and then, to my own very great surprise, I began to quietly weep. It surprised us both, the weeping. But the conversation went on through the weeping because she’s not afraid of great surges of emotion and I am not either, and it drifted just as easily to new topics, to ekphrasis, to civil war memorials, to our siblings. But I left our date very exhausted and feeling very raw, and very sad.
That sadness seems to have carried over into the dreaded Sunday. It is difficult not to be wanted. It is extremely painful to discover that one’s love is unwanted. I guess that as it turns out, it is also extremely painful to find out that one’s forgiveness, too, is unwanted. Once more, the old conversation with the self: it doesn’t mean that my love and my forgiveness–my human gestures that come from the best, most genuine and vulnerable parts of myself and exhibit all the grace I can muster–are worthless, only worthless to this person. And that is just a strange malfunction of the universe into which I’ve been incarnated and a lesson I have to learn.
I believe the I Ching hexagram for this sort of situation is #36 Darkening of the Light. From the Wilhelm translation (which Carl Jung himself frequently consulted): One must not unresistingly let himself be swept along by unfavorable circumstances, nor permit his steadfastness to be shaken. He can avoid this by maintaining his inner light, while remaining outwardly yielding and
tractable. With this attitude he can overcome even the greatest adversities. In some situations indeed a man must hide his light, in order to make his will prevail inspite of difficulties in his immediate environment. Perseverance must dwell in inmost consciousness and should not be discernible from without. Only thus is a man able to maintain his will in the face of difficulties.
This afternoon I believe I’ll call Betsy to see if she wants to go on a dog walk and then stretch out in the sunshine and drink a bloody mary with me. I won’t push away or ignore the inevitability of pain Sunday promises, but I’d like to enlarge myself a little more, and spend those most genuine and vulnerable and graceful parts of myself on someone whose fundamental response to me is Yes. I see who you are and I want you.
Happy Easter. I love you.
It was Good Friday. The streets were open and empty.
Probably TMI, but I just shaved for the first time since the break up. Since I was dumped? Since the break up? Anyway. Auspicious. A whole new girl (or a smoother one, anyway,) I have a body, etc. Casting off all these ceremonial acts of mourning so unceremoniously. Casual. Have decided to give up control today and follow where the day leads me–it’s been interesting and full of laughter and really spontaneous acts of love. Tonight we all dress up like Zombies and dance like fools until we collapse into delightful heaps of vibrating, sweating, pheromone-drenched human flesh. It is probably too cheesy, today, to say I feel a little like I’m coming back from the dead, but fuck it. It’s real. I’m BACK.
I stole all of these directly from Betsy’s Blog because I absolutely never want to forget this magic.
To that in your work which did not– or not yet– open up to my comprehension, I responded with respect and by waiting: one can never pretend to comprehend completely–: that would be disrespect in the face of the Unknown that inhabits–or comes to inhabit–the poet; that would be to forget that poetry is something one breathes; that poetry breathes you in.
Paul Celan, from an unsent letter to Rene Char