Addendum: On Disappointment
Again, from Ashana:
There are things you need to do in order to recover when you have been traumatized. This takes time and energy you can’t spend on other pursuits. Further, abuse affects how we think and behave, and so it impacts how well we can function in work and relationships. These areas often suffer.
Because life does not proceed in distinct segments—it is continuous—the impact from the…
Addendum 4: On Writing
Poetry became my scaffolding of self as I moved through divorce into single motherhood. What I could not tolerate, I could witness. Grace became an invention of image and language. Poem by poem, I wrote myself from broken to healing to whole.
From Ashana (bolds are mine):
I have been meditating on the idea of disappointment.
This started a few weeks ago. There was a holiday at that point, and this meant a public celebration and two days off from school. On Sunday night, the texts began to come in. “How was your weekend?” And the teachers placed elsewhere in Country X told me of what exciting, wonderful things they had done. I, well,…
Quick Note: Inner vs. Outer
Nick and I were talking about our different ideas of ideology, and at least some of our different opinions came down to talking about managing the outer world, versus the inner world. This is something I thought about a lot in Boston. My strategies for dealing with my inner world–telling myself what to do, being controlling of myself, running from pain–were all better suited to the outer world.…
I had no idea that the gate I would step through
to finally enter this world
would be the space my brother’s body made. He was
a little taller than me: a young man
but grown, himself by then,
done at twenty-eight, having folded every sheet,
rinsed every glass he would ever rinse under the cold
and running water.
This is what you have been waiting for, he used to say to me.
And I’d say, What?
"I Left This Morning"
I left this morning saying ‘I love you’
as if setting out for some unknown country
instead of the corner shop. I wanted
you to be sure, in case
this time – out of, say, 10,000 departures
I never made it back: although
after 50 years together, 2 countries,
3 children, and several former journeys
would put this one to shame
you’d think there’d be no need to pause
on my own doorstep, suddenly afraid
De mortuis, nihil nisi bonum
Of you dead, I’ve spoken nothing
but good, nodded at over-fond
family memories, the favored first
son who skipped school to sneak
into the new museum. I’ve let
strangers tell our girls how you fell
forty feet taking a leak, behind
the garage, at your graduation party,
never dropping your grilled chicken
I didn’t understand why “ideologue” was an insult. What’s wrong with ideology? And don’t we all have ideologies?
And then it clicked: an ideologue values ideology over lived experience. Their own, or other people’s.
This seems related to theism. Both are about finding or having the rules, rather than being willing to be in the uncertainty and mess–and honesty–of doubt and experimentation.
Practice Notes: Shutting Your Trap
Something I’ve been working on over the past year: when it is actually useful to offer advice or opinions, and when to let people figure it out for themselves. Not in the sense of, does this person want listening or advice? Which is easy enough to figure out by simply asking. Something a little subtler. When they will figure it out for themselves soon enough. When it’s not useful to try to speed…
What I Have to Offer
This poem is for you.
It’s a reprieve.
nothing in your little black heart
can frighten me,
I’ve looked too long
into my own.
Thank you for the gift
of your uncertainties.
- Eunice de Souza