Let me tell you a secret. Sometimes I am afraid to write here which is odd because that is why I started this blog. Because I am a writer. But sometimes I get scared because I am in process and being in process in front of others is scary (there is no promise of a happy ending), because that process includes other people I would prefer not to hurt, because sharing yourself with the world (or whoever reads this blog) is hard. And in my fear sometimes I post other things: about travel or room reveals you may find on Pinterest. I like these things because creativity is part of who I am. Still, I realized fear was pushing my writing out.
Maybe it seems like I am unafraid when I am writing about this thing that I let happen to me or about strong opinion about something. But anytime I am writing and press schedule, I worry. I still worry about this post and the ones that followed. Not because I am ashamed of what happened but I am still waiting for someone to scream and yell and threaten me. I am still waiting for someone to say: that is not what happened, whether they were there or not. The thing is, it hurts when someone tells you that isn’t what happened when it comes to something that has changed your life and maybe your being too. Even if they know nothing about it, it feels like they are shredding parts of you and you don’t exactly have extra parts of yourself to give away for destruction.
Am I making sense? Okay, nonetheless here I go, taking a deep breath and sharing what I can about myself and my life.
Here’s the thing: when I experienced my first heartbreak around fifteen (and I am not talking romantic, I’m talking earth shattering, the-way-you-look-at-the-world-shifting heartbreak) I swore I would never let anyone hurt me again. I mourned and grieved. I looked at people differently. Still, I was young. When I experienced my next heartbreak at twenty, I was older and this time I made a vow: never, ever again.
In Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s (the book, not the movie), Holly advises, “Never love a wild thing, Mr. Bell…[Doc] was always lugging home wild things. A hawk with a hurt wing. One time it was a full-grown bobcat with a broken leg. But you can’t give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they’re strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That’s how you’ll end up, Mr. Bell. If you let yourself love a wild thing. You’ll end up looking at the sky” (73). Though the book and the movie are very different, the character says something similar in the movie.
When I was twenty, everyone appeared to me to be a wild thing. There were very few people who I thought of as “domesticated.” Now I am older and I realize (as I wrote last week) that everyone is a wild thing if this is the definition of one: everyone leaves, in one way or another. And so now, having realized this year, when before I pushed away the wild ones and clung to the very few domesticated things, I realize that to never love a wild thing (which is everyone) is to never love at all.
You can see the conundrum.
I read a post on Momastery the other day called Pain is not a Mistake: “We are all so afraid of pain. We think it’s our job to avoid it. Whatever it takes to avoid it. But we shouldn’t be afraid of pain, we should be afraid of our fear of pain. Because all these things we do to avoid the pain hurt us much more than the pain would have…Pain is not a sign that you’ve taken a wrong turn or that you’re doing life wrong. It’s not a signal that you need a different life or partner or body or home or personality. Pain is not a hot potato to pass on to the next person or generation. Pain is not a mistake to fix. Pain is just a sign that a lesson is coming. Discomfort is purposeful: it is there to teach you what you need to know so you can become who you were meant to be. Pain is just a traveling professor. When pain knocks on the door—wise ones breathe deep and say: ‘Come in. Sit down with me. And don’t leave until you’ve taught me what I need to know.'”
She then says, “I understood that failure is surely one of these strange angels” (143). Failure as an angel is a whole other blog post for my perfectionist tendencies. But on this day, in April of 2015, I wonder if another one of those angels is pain.
Earlier in the book, Lamott tells this story of a man who used to work with the Dali Lama. The story is about things breaking down. And maybe that is part of what pain is. I am not as wise as Lamott but the man says:(107).
Maybe something big and lovely is trying to get itself born.
I’ve hidden myself, from the wild things, and pain, and also these big and lovely things trying to get born. I’ve had the Mean Reds as Holly Golightly describes them in the book (and also in the movie), “…the Blues are because you’re getting fat or maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re sad, that’s all. But the Mean Reds are horrible. You’re afraid and you sweat like hell, but you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Except something bad is going to happen, only you don’t know what it is…” (39).
I’ve been holed up with the Mean Reds for awhile.
It’s time to step out into the world–to break and to feel pain but to live, to love wild things and stare at the sky.
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