Victor U CC
The words don't always settle in the right places. That's what comes to me now as I struggle to find a way to begin these remarks. It's important to try and say something. To find words. To be found by words. Whatever I would say some other way waits for some other day. What I can say is that the time I've spent with each of your words has been a gift to me these past couple of months. Hard months. Hard words. A gift. I am unashamed to say that I was brought to tears more than a few times as I read and read and read. A kind contributor tells me they have found here a place where art becomes true sustenance. That's precisely how I feel about the work you all share with us. Funny, sometimes the words do settle in the right places, just not necessarily mine. All these words here are right where they're supposed to be, I believe. And I don't mean that in some grandiose way, but in the way so many used to tell me that I was right where I was supposed to be in something. When I felt like I was doing my life wrong, or felt unforgivable/unlovable, or like I couldn't move or like I might scream: "right where you're supposed to be, kid." I may or may not have told a few of those people to "fuck off," and they may or may not have smiled knowingly at me. Had patience with me. Showed me something monumental. We're supposed to struggle with it, I understand this now. Well, no, I don't really understand it. But I'm trying. Trying to stay with the thorn that won't come out. The thorn I am. My life. Life.
But now imagine a world without any place to put it all down. We don't have to imagine too hard, many of us. As Marilyn Charles writes: "Most of us have been told too often, particularly as children but also as adults, that we did not really see what we thought we saw; hear what we heard; feel what we felt. [Our reality doubles.] We have an inner conviction that tends to be hidden as a way of safeguarding it." And we wait and wait until someone, somewhere can hear our story, our inner knowing of what we saw, heard, felt. It's important to carve those spaces out of the wide expanse of uncaring/unfeeling/unresponsive/recklessness that is much of the world. To try and be something more for each other than we can put words to. No wonder I can't always, or very often at all, find my words. I think it's the moments when people have sat in silence with me that I have felt most heard. We don't know what to say or what to do. And we try and say something.
It's a little embarrassing to admit that at 42 I still haven't much of a clue who it is I am. I'm still becoming a person in many ways. I was broken down as a person in my family of origin and I will probably spend the rest of my life trying to put myself back into some kind of order that makes sense, that feels like me. I think one of the things that has most altered the course of my life is the fact that in hell there were people who brought me water. Brought me hope. A silent sitting-with. A being there. Not giving up on who I might become, they hung in with who I was. And that meant everything to me. I don't know how most of us ever come to terms with the god awful things that happened to us in our lives. Maybe we don't. Ever. Maybe all we can do is keep telling our stories, to someone, somewhere. Find our way to those places where words are sustenance. Some stories bear repeating. Over and over again.
Right where we're supposed to be, huh. For a moment, anyway. A True North. I've always loved that phrase. Today I read in Gretel Ehrlich's The Future of Ice that "The Japanese word oku means not only "north" but also "deep," "inner," "the heart of a mountain," "to penetrate to the depth of something or someone," "the bottom of one's heart," and "the end of one's mind." The words don't always settle in the right places. We do the best we can with what we've got. It helps to know others feel it too. We're charting dark waters here. Telling the hardest of stories so that we might survive them. So that we might survive ourselves. As a sign I once saw in rehab read: "we don't believe in using pretty words to describe the ugly things that happened to us." Oh, there's beauty too. And we don't always have to look as hard for it as we think. But we must talk about all of the rest of it also. It's how we survive. Heart of a mountain. The bottom of one's heart. The end of one's mind.
Till next time, friends. Keep searching for your words. And hold on. Hold on. Hold on.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.