After the storm…
It feels like an age since I last posted. I’m sorry. In the intervening half-year, I have written things I didn’t post, mainly because many times I felt as though I were failing a test, failing myself… realised I am not nearly as important as my ego (crushed as it already was) had hoped, drew my soul out to the people near to me (sacrificing time, energy, money), dealt with deaths in my immediate surrounds (and realised I had not lost a human I cared about in a dozen years), dealt with personal onslaughts against my character, the madness of working life and the ever-present thirst and drive to free myself from my day-job… In a maelstrom of emotion and confusion, trying to figure out what I believe deep down, my mind trying to obliterate the ego (and failing as the ever-present factors of ‘reality’ kept bashing against my resolve), it all seemed too unfocused, disparate and diffuse to find a thread worth posting here.
In the last 2 months, as these pressures and the tears that often accompanied them increased, I barely wrote at all – unsure of what the point of any of it is at all, seemingly an atom (invisible except for the effect of my being) or a burned out star (whose light still shone on the outside when the furnace that it came from had long since perished). These are exceptionally hard things for me to confront, even from a place of openness and acknowledgement and forgiveness for my humanity: my sometimes poverty of spirit in the face of such a continuous barrage of attacks. Moving from a place where I felt I knew who I was and where I was going (at the beginning of 2014) to a place where I felt alone and uncared for, unable to effect any substantive change in the world and people I cared about (regardless of whether those feelings were returned). I question(ed) everything, again. And in some ways this has been good, but in many other ways I feel bereft for my own being and the suffering that has been of her own making – trying with all my might to win back a better, more noble version of myself, still the same at the core, but purified in the fire.
So what then, do you ask, triggered this post today of all days?
I was invited to listen to a poetry competition, something I hadn’t even known existed except in the underground since my days as a student more than a decade ago. True, not all poets are created equal and for the most part, I was in such a constant state of being just amazed at the depth of feeling and skill on display that unbidden tears rolled down my cheeks where I sat unheeded in the darkness. I remembered what it felt like to move the world, albeit in a small way, with words. No, writing like this is not performance art, not even close…. but it is therapy, whether it is raw and off the cuff or polished and crafted with care, it really doesn’t matter.
Words flow out of me like water most days and it helps me work through all the things that make me quiet, spark my thoughts and inspire me. And as much as I have tried to share this with someone close to me in this past half-year, in the end, I can’t give someone that… It helps us nothing if we are forever full of endless gestures to keep the people around us seemingly happy, but our souls suffer for it. Nor does it help us if we cannot step outside our own selves and look at what we are and what we are doing and the dangers we invite into our being through a constant, empty and meaningless existence. We are only as good as the love (not romantic love!) we pour out into the world each day, whether it is a small sincere gesture or a grand act of kindness… or a gift shared from the depths of our being. The stars will not applaud the sacrifices we make, for in the end it is only our integrity that matters. True feeling. Honesty. Courage not to be afraid of love… Bravely acknowledging both our brightness and our darkness, so that light can overtake the shadows and burn them away. Only then can we say: I am, and I have lived so that none can accuse me. You may not agree with me. I may change my mind as often as my clothes about the nothingness of daily life, but my word is my bond and when I open my heart and stretch out my arms to you and speak a word, know it is the truth, because that is all I have.