Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Little Statues

Summer Meadow
by Tomas Transtromer

There's so much we must be witness to.

Reality wears us so thin 
but here is summer at last:

a large airport--the controller brings

down planeload after planeload of frozen
people from outer space.

The grass and the flowers--here's where we land.

The grass has a green supervisor. 
I report to him.

I went to a friend's gathering on Friday night.  Heading in to her house, I grabbed my journal.   Was I planning to free write on a trip to the bathroom? I didn't try to make sense of it.  I just listened to the journal, which all but screamed, Take me with you!

We were gathering to celebrate a beautiful story my friend wrote.  Each of the women present shared a little piece of her own, personal story - the one we carry in our hearts and scribble on all day long.

When it was my turn to speak, I realized why the journal was there.  I was supposed to talk about my writing, how I have turned a corner of insecurity in my life and, still in the dark when it comes to the future, feel a subtle but significant decrease in fear.

Someone asked me to show something from the journal so I flipped to three drawings and passed them around.  I was somewhat embarrassed.  More pressing, however, was the very sweet and unashamed voice inside that said, Yes!  Share something.

The act was akin to stripping nude for me because I draw pictures like this: 

I think of myself as a dark and brooding person, because I experience my emotions very strongly.  But when I draw, I get a glimpse of something very sweet and innocent beneath all the turbulence: (fyi, the  purple elephant is not mine!)

When I was little, I loved to sit in my disheveled closet and sing.  I still love to sing, and, much to my own dismay, I still create disheveled spaces in a matter of minutes.  I was reminded of this when I passed my journal around, showing the frogs and rabbits and snakes that, at 32, I still love to draw.  

In a moment of vulnerability, I opened the doors I had built around what brings me great joy.  In doing so, I revealed what was beyond constraint.  I held up to the light that which wants to be seen.

The moral of this story?  Go forth and embarrass yourself!

Okay, m
aybe we shouldn't all run out to embarrass ourselves.  Maybe expose yourself is a better phrase, but we all know that's not a perfect one either.  Determining the right spaces and times to expose your underbelly is perhaps one of the dances of this life.

I am reminded of a poster that my friend's mother hangs in her kitchen.  It is of a man in a trench coat flashing a statue on the street. The text reads, Expose Yourself to Art!  I love the absurdity of the poster, and the underlying loyalty it proposes between the individual and the receptive abundance of art. Finding a safe space for all my emotions is, I think, one of the reasons that I write.

In the circle of people sharing their lives, I was reminded that when one person crosses a threshold, we all do. 
As Susan Piver says of the vulnerability of a broken heart, (or in this case, a vibrant whole one that I want to hide): That's where all the good stuff is. 

1 comment:

  1. i am catching up on your recent posts, listening to the Avett Brothers live on some weird music station we get via cable, drinking a very large glass of red wine and smiling.


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