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dissolving details

January 22, 2015

I had a migraine all day Wednesday, possibly because of the snow. I’m hoping I’ll feel better enough Thursday (or even Friday), when it’s supposed to be 40 degrees — I’ve got errands to run. Another snowstorm blows through this weekend.

For all of my apocalyptic dreams as 2014 was winding down (P. thought, because I would stop seeing her), insights and growths have not stuttered to a stop. A bunch of things that seem like they should have happened last year, in fact, are sliding into my consciousness now. I’ve already written as much in January as I wrote in all of December.

I told P. it would likely take me a few months, but I would eventually get around to assessing what I got out of the 6 months I saw her, write a blog post about it, and send her a link. But now I don’t think I will send her a link: 1. Constant boundary-testing, for 10 sessions, ended things on a sour note for me; 2. I got a card from her in early January that was defensive in tone (uncomfortably bringing to mind a letter I got from my father in early 2006); and 3. I think it may turn out that . . . those 10 sessions were as important for their negative and unsettling lessons as the rest of the sessions were for the things I wanted to be learning. A mixed legacy to be sure, and not at all what I was thinking of when I made my rash comment.

I wanted everything about our association to be life-affirming. Not necessarily pleasant or enjoyable or fun, but necessary, and satisfying because of that. Unfortunately, I think how things worked out (and my feelings about them, both as they were happening, and later) were quite necessary to my continued development . . . but they were painful in ways I wasn’t expecting from therapy.

+++

I’m not reading the Konmari book that 2 of my social media acquaintances are, but I already have huge piles of books I’ve culled, to be donated or sold. And now I’m thinking about doing the same with my wardrobe. The Konmari method is (apparently) to touch every item, and contemplate whether it “sparks joy” or not. That’s not quite how I went through my books — I was ruthless about whether they were relevant to my life, today, right now. A great many of them were not.

Clothes are trickier in a lot of ways. They’re more expensive than books. They can be tangled up in my identity, and my visual presentation, in ways books aren’t/can’t be. They often embody dreams I had for the kind of person I wanted to be, thought I should be, aspired to thinking I could be. Some in the third category were the most expensive of all. Not just the money, although several of them were commissioned from artists (so the money I paid for them, years ago, is not inconsiderable), but there was still that mindset of . . . I may not be soignée, but . . . I can impress people with my clothes. “Look how artistic I am!” {Because I bought clothes made by an artist, who isn’t me.} It doesn’t make any sense, does it?

It’s not just that I’m not elegant, although I’m not, and I won’t be. It’s that I can’t do craftsmanship to the standards that the clothes I bought suggest. I don’t want to do craftsmanship to those standards; I’m incapable of doing it. And yet because those were the standards I was raised with, I feel that these limitations I have make me inherently unappealing, defective.

Someone might ask if I made [Handmade Item], and I would say I hadn’t. But no one would ask me if I could have made it. Just thinking about fielding that question, I feel ashamed. As if everyone in the world is an accomplished artisan except for me, which is clearly not true. I don’t think I even know anybody who has regularly made clothes for themselves as an adult. Why am I beating myself up with this stick?

Why am I holding on to clothes that suited the person I was 10 years ago? A person, I should remind myself, who had never heard of emotion-color synesthesia, and therefore paid no attention to how the colorways of the clothes I wore might jangle my moods. I have to be a lot more careful now that I know about it. I am a great deal more picky. Not just because no one likes getting their moods jangled, but because I have a lot fewer spoons altogether, so I can’t spare them getting used up in such an easily-altered way.

The skirt I made in early 2008, a few months before we moved to Maryland, I think also has to go. I like it because I enjoyed making it. But I would never wear it where someone besides Spouse could see it. Partly because it looks like how I (still) see myself: poorly-joined patchwork, asymmetrical, un-thought-out. Kind of a mess.

I can feel myself moving towards a more positive and congruent self-image, but this skirt is not part of that.

I think there will have to be a great many things that I still have to let go of. There’s a much more spry self trapped inside of the detritus of 48 years of trying to be someone I would never be.

Even the exuberantly purple and woolly jacket I got from a designer in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2005 . . . and dreamed about late last year . . . is going to have to go. I love the color. But the wool is very scratchy; I can only wear it over at least one turtleneck. And I don’t like that it’s just one color, not a colorway.

Parts of me sort of wish I was . . . still ignorant about what I need. So I could hold on to items that manifestly are not what I need, and not feel guilty doing so. Instead, just feel oppressed and hate myself, which of course is very familiar, so it’s got that going for it.

What if I winnow away all these items, and there’s nothing left to “spark joy” or anything else? Then I guess it would be even more essential that I get rid of all that stuff now, so it can find out what does suit Current Me as soon as possible.

I want to travel much much lighter. Even in my everyday life. What is truly me, as I am in this moment? Limitations and all. But also, possibilities.

+++

One of my friends who edits an online poetry journal has been asking “maybe we’ve gotten too intimidating to submit to?” because apparently their submission numbers are way down. They are spoonies, so I don’t expect to hear from them quickly about my own submissions, but I happened to have seen in someone else’s TL that their poems had been accepted by this journal several weeks ago.

Maybe the migraine is shielding me somewhat from the usual shame spiral because I didn’t immediately fall into it. But there is a part of me that feels what my friend was saying between the lines was that the quality of submissions they’ve received recently has diminished. And it just so happens that I’ve submitted to two separate issues of theirs. And have not heard back on either. (But they bought someone else’s poem already.)

Once again my stuff is not bowling anyone over.

I don’t bowl anyone over.

I’m just a tiny overlooked scrap of ugly patchwork, cobbled together, poorly made.

But surely I have a certain rough charm. I have joy. I know how to savor every flavor note, even those that are bitter and unexpected.

I am who I need to be.

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