In the past few months, years after the inception of “Stories from the Edge of Blindness”, I started to really explore the blogging world rather than just stand on the outside in abject terror, feeling like a loser. I started to interact and exercise my voice. I started to read some amazing blogs, written by writers I have come to admire; writers who teach me things and make me think. One of my favorite blogs is Tom Being Tom, and recently, Tom wrote something that has had me thinking about being, becoming and changing, as the years of my life traverse, meander, sink and soar. His post is, “We Are Not But One Thing”, and when you read it, you will understand why it got me thinking. Tom is an intelligent and thoughtful writer. He presents new ways of thinking about and looking at life. He is a hopeful realist.
So, now that you have read Tom’s post, you will understand what I mean when I say that it led me to thinking about the levels of my own life, and whether I may be stuck on level 2, emotionally, creatively and intellectually. I have often felt that my writing is stuck in adolescence, in the heartbreak of it. Those thoughts are what prompted part of my last post; I have felt chained to the specific point in my life when my Mom was sick and died, but I realized that keeping myself chained is part of what I have always done, throughout the whole of my life. I anchor myself in the nuances of my identity, to the experiences that shape and define it. I almost always tie myself to the all of the things that have caused the most pain, presented the biggest challenges. It keeps me rooted in the darkness.
My writing most often comes from a place of pain, but in the center of it, in the heart of it, I see a beauty in the raw humanity of painful experiences. I don’t enjoy sorrow, but I don’t run from it. I have tried, with booze and other things, and it doesn’t work. Even though it can be terrifying, I try to look at pain as honestly as I can, to see inside of it, so I can climb back out and feel the light just as profoundly as I feel the dark.
When I was a kid, my mom told me that I was someone who had to learn everything the hard way, travel down darkened paths to figure out who I am and where I want to go. I have always been stubborn and scoffed at authority. I have lived on the darker side of things, turned toward sadness and despair, wrapped myself in a cloak of sorrow. I believe that having to sink into low places is just part of the way I am made, but it can make me feel incredibly defective when we live in a world where the virtues of positive thinking are extolled on bus benches and street corners and in local supermarkets. Billboards tell me that if I breathe and think good thoughts, my life will get better. The thing is, I agree with a lot of it. I feel a difference in my life when I am actively trying to think, act and speak in a more positive way. I have felt the benefits of meditation, and particularly sound healing, but I have also learned that I have to be true to my nature. The trick is to make sure that I don’t fall so far into the darkness that I can’t find my way back to a place from which I can participate in and benefit from the joy in life.
I am the girl with the dead mom, the fucked up teenager, the woman who feels at home in the darkness, the drunk, the failure, the fat girl, the blind woman; I am also the writer, the wife, the friend, the sister and the daughter who loves deeply and feels the joys in life just as profoundly as the pain. As Tom so wisely said,” We Are Not But One Thing”.