I wish so badly that I could sweep it all under the rug and never speak of it again. Unfortunately, that is not how we operate here in Transparent. We don’t brush things off and not acknowledge them. Unfortunately.
Here is the issue: I had a terrible week. Have you heard about the flooding down south? The tornadoes? Friends, flooding and tornadoes are my job. The stories I have heard come out of these areas would chill your blood and make you cry all at once (like the teacher who told me she didn’t know her arms could be so wide as to cover every single kindergartner she taught as they sheltered in a hallway during a tornado). So there was that, and birthdays and parties and holidays. And then it was time for my column to be due. And I was soliciting ideas (!! what did you think I meant?!) and got lots of good ones and then I decided I knew what was best (because when don’t I?) and then I fired it off.
And I have not ever been personally attacked for my writing before, but its happening now. I read the first comment and just went cold, and then started to shake, and then had this strange kaleidoscope of feelings. Shame, Why Me?!, etc. I don’t know if you’ve ever done something in your life (and if you tell me you haven’t I will call you a liar) and been like, wow, maybe I am the worst ever and I didn’t even know it.
And then I decided I wouldn’t look at the comments anymore and so I have kept that promise to myself.
But I still am wondering why. Is it the truth? Is it that being honest about how we feel about our bodies is hard to stomach? Is it misogynistic men? Internet trolls? I mean, maybe it wasn’t the best thing I’ve written, but I don’t think it was THAT terrible, God knows I’ve read worse from my fellow columnists.
I have decided that I will not only not check on the comments anymore but that I will simply stand silently and stoicly by what I wrote, because it was the truth, however clumsily it was packaged.
In other news, I’ve decided that I don’t know what to be when I grow up, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. I had a tough day today in my normal job, in my pays the bills job. At one point I was coming up the stairs and on the verge of tears of frustration and I tripped and stubbed my toe and it was more than I could bear in that moment.
I went out and sat on a chair on my deck and contemplated the lake and the cat sleeping under the Rose of Sharon bushes. I asked myself, what would you do, if you could decide? Myself said (this happens a lot), I would want to be left alone. And I would write.
But I can’t, do you see? I’ve wanted to write almost every night since my last post, but now Kaia is working on a novel (which has some really stellar lines and a sideways plot I keep trying to talk her out of) and there is dinner to make and then Ave needs another shower because her chocolate ice cream basically exploded in her face. (or so she says). And there is laundry and watching Penny Dreadful and being simultaneously horrified and entranced. Difficult music to learn and a dog who has a weepy eye suddenly.
I thought, as we were headed to my parents’ for Memorial Day, how fleeting and idyllic these days are. All of us kids here in the same state, all of us close enough to meet up for holidays when we went years not being able to do that. How lucky I was to spend time with my sister and with my brother and with my family.
My mind meandered over the intricacies of camp fires as the flames danced off the pool and we all put on our warmer shirts (possibly opened another bottle of wine).
And so I want to do this, and all the best writers say that I must. Write. Every. Day. But then its 6:23am and then its 11pm and I don’t know where the hours in between have gone.
This fall I will draw back a bit from some of the other things I do to make room for training. This fall I will let go of some things that I love and that define my calling to, well, pursue that calling. And I hope that while I am sitting alone in a hotel room, bemoaning my single state, I will remember to seize those stolen moments and to put them to good use.
Ember Days are set aside for fasting and for prayer, a time when one stops what one is doing a little and sets time aside to contemplate. And so I must search for Ember Days and choose them out where I can find them.
I believe we are all postulants, no one has found IT, the Golden Ticket, the skeleton key, the Room of Requirement. We are all in training for our better selves.
It helps to wrap my patchwork mantle around myself tonight as the humid air grows chill, to look at the pieces and see all of the things I have been and the things that I am, to see how the mantle is not complete, to know there is important work left to do, adventures to be had, to be reminded that this is not all that I am or have to offer, that is not the end.
I will leave you with this image:
We are in a small and tall house in England, like the house Harry Potter lived in with the Dursley’s. We have been on a train for the last several hours but there is a party coming in a second and we are trying to get changed and made up and READY to meet all of these people who have heard so much about us, to live up to the image painted on those minds. And I am shirtless and my sister is too, and the hallway is narrow and has an iron railing to keep us from falling over into the stairs, sort of like one my Grandma had at her house (in fact, the entire time I am at this house I have to convince myself to NOT run past this railing for fear that something will grab my ankles). There is makeup everywhere and the suitcases have basically exploded, and she and I are running on pure adrenaline and caffeine.
We are listening to Royals, by Lorde, and I am thinking about how my uncle says we are descended from Mary, Queen of Scots as I borrow the eye shadow my sister knows I love. And we are both singing, this perfect sister harmony.
And nothing matters but that moment.
Because we know who we are, and we know where we come from, and the rest doesn’t matter.
In that moment.
It is all so fleeting, from the lilacs and lily of the valley that have, literally, disappeared today, to my temporary spot above the fray in the wide world that is being a columnist.
But I know who I am.
And I know where I come from.
And the rest doesn’t matter.
In this moment.