Beginnings hide themselves in endings.
Beginnings hide themselves in endings.
“The difference between a happy ending and an unhappy ending is simply the place you decide to stop telling your story.”
~Stephen Elliott, “Sometimes I Think About Suicide”, The Sun, November 2016, Issue 491
(If you’re still here, it’s not over.)
So two weeks ago Husband was in the hospital after chest pains and passing out in the middle of the night, and ended up with 4 stents in his arteries.
Last week, after much drama and discord, I resigned a position I should have quit years ago, and, while grateful for the luxury of getting to walk away, deeply hurt by the circumstances that made it necessary and worried about my future finances.
Today I found out I won a Fulbright award.
After a lifetime of chasing things; ambition and striving for more and better and more and better, I’ve just decided to sit with who I am and what I am and see what comes to me. I’m good at what I do and have worked really (really really) hard to get there. I’ve been thwarted by people and things I’ve never understood. Husband thinks it’s misogyny; I think it might be that, a little. But it might also be a lot of other things, and I spend a lot of time thinking they are things I’m supposed to learn from, so I can become More and Better.
But fuck it. Enough Learning already.
For a while, I’m just going to be.
“…I knew I was getting somewhere when I began losing interest in the beginnings and the ends of things.
Short tragic love stories that had once interested me no longer did.
What interested me was the kind of love to which the person dedicates herself for so long, she no longer remembers quite how it began.”
Ongoingness, Sarah Manguso
Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.
~Jonathan Safran Foer
“. . .The truth is that our childhoods shape us like clay, and then the years glaze and bake us till there is no way we can change who we are without breaking something.”
~Sybil Smith, Imoegene’s Prayer, The Sun, February 2014
And the thing is, we’re often SO afraid of breaking something that we don’t change, even when we believe/think/hope that we want to.
The best things that ever happened to me happened right after I was willing to break something. It reminds me a little bit of how I play monopoly vs. how I run my life. It’s so easy to be a tycoon when the money is pink and blue and yellow and the property you might earn a fortune on, or might just as easily lose, is a 3″ square with a little red plastic hotel on it.
No great gain without some kind of risk.
Now get out there and break something.
But only if you want to.
but apt, nonetheless
Embrace the fact that you’re going to get older. Ask your boyfriend if he will still love you when you’re seventy and your tits are down to your knees. Look forward to this time – seventy year old women are allowed to do pretty much whatever they want, and no-one can stop them. You can carry candy in your bag and not share it with a single soul. You can stay home all day and cross-stitch expletives onto handkerchiefs for your grandchildren and slip them under the table out of sight of the people you raised. You can drink whisky at 10am. Every phase of your life is going to be amazing for different reasons. Embrace that.
Some more little life lessons, by Daisy Lola. (via jordanleeemerson)
In an interview with Bill Clinton on the Huffington Post, he answers the question “What is the best advice you ever got?”
I once asked Nelson Mandela whether, when he walked out of prison for the last time, he didn’t feel anger and hatred again for having all those years stolen. He said that, briefly, he did feel old demons rise up until he realized that if he held onto his hatred after his release, he would still be a prisoner: “I wanted to be free, and so I let it go.”
On another occasion, I asked him how he found the inner strength to do that. He said the long years of confinement had taken a terrible toll. He had been abused physically and emotionally. His marriage didn’t survive. He didn’t see his kids grow up. Then he said that one day “I realized they could take everything from me, except my mind and my heart. Those things I would have to give away. I decided not to give them away.” Then he looked at me, smiled, and said, “And neither should you.”
Mandela didn’t give someone else the permission to define his life, his worth, and his tomorrows. If you have lost a bunch of yesterdays, welcome to the human race. You still don’t have to give anybody your tomorrows. That’s advice we should all take to heart and try to follow. Even for Mandela it was sometimes easier to say than do, but with discipline and determination, he did it. So can the rest of us.
I changed and changed, and with more time I will change more. I’m not disappointed, just quiet. Not unthinking, just reckless. Not willfully unclear, just trying to say it as it wasn’t. . .
You spent a few minutes every day secretly regretting your laziness that didn’t exist.
I should have forgiven you for all that wasn’t your fault.
~Jonathan Safran Foer, “Here We Aren’t, So Quickly”
It’s funny (strange, not Ha!) how dark the world can get
sometimes; not a soft gentle cloak that envelops and
comforts, but jagged and hard
like those medieval walls with pointy shards of metal
I find myself stumbling around there now
and again hearing the voices of the people I love
but somehow unable to answer
hearing but not hearing, being touched
but not reached.
And then the world turns a little bit green
and the sun comes out the sky a painful blue
and a gentle breeze chimes the wind chimes and rustles
the capiz shells of the lamp they
laughed at me for buying
and I find myself in the light again.
I’m going to go out, now, to
water the hollyhocks and clematii
and spray the deer repellent around the lawn
and then I’m going to read in the chair
on the front porch;
Dexter the dumb dog on my lap;
watching the light.