the uses of space

The more I think on what I wish to do with this space, the more I realise that I want to talk about… myself. Which feels strange but also natural. I am almost forty years old, but the years I have lived have been much less; the first nine or so were given almost wholly to survival, and then for three more after that to what I thought I wanted, something that would transcend survival, something that would make me into someone which need have no fear — which need have no need. Apotheosis, as it were. Perhaps. Sometime I will write of that, the moment I most truly decided.

After my nine years and three, ending in failure and betrayal, there were many years of waiting, watching, hiding. I remained ready for a consummation that never came, and as the years went on, and on, and on, I began to believe it never would come. At times I found signs, and read them such that I thought the time had come to begin again, but always in the end it came to nothing; a coincidence, an attempt to please or seduce, but never what I sought. And so eventually I agreed to stop waiting, stop hiding, and come back into the world, but I did so only partly. I could not see how to bring everything I knew — no, that becomes a lie. It is that I was not truly willing to give up on waiting, to cease being ready, and so I acted the part of being in the present world, ignoring the past, and sometimes truly reached towards living now, but always, always I held some of myself back. Just in case.

This last year I have begun to finally stop. A strange phrasing, that, but a true one. It is not something I can simply cease to do; it is in me, like my breath, and I find I have to untangle it labouriously, day by day. My dear friend — about whom I will write all the time if I am not careful — said once, perhaps like the craving for drugs. I think a little that, but more I think like an eating disorder, ways of thinking about being in the world, ways of measuring and controlling myself, my experience, my desires, my reactions, ways of letting only a trickle of water through the wall, a drop at a time, so that it is a steady stream but so small, so narrow. When I read of people who have anorexia and control their eating that way, and even years later find they must resist the urge to go back to that control, it rings a little true. For me it was not only eating but everything, and in — well, I will not say service, let us say pursuit. Pursuit of another goal. But I may not simply stop, full stop, and be done; I must resist the behaviours, fight against the inclination, at times relax into the new space my choices make, at other times slip and fall and give in and then get back up and begin it all again.

So — I begin to stop. And I find myself here, a few years from forty, but in life truly lived, chosen to be lived, perhaps much younger. And so with the adolescent’s desire to find herself in the mirror, I write, here, about myself. I thought perhaps a book blog, or a gardening one, or any such thing as that, and there will be all those things, because I do read, and garden, and cook, and every other part of life which I can reach with my hands and heart. I am hungry for everything. But if I write of what I am reading, it will be to tell you how I read it, not to tell you of the book, and when I speak of my roses it will be because I love them so dearly, in their growth and persistence and determination to thrive. Really, I am hungry for myself, and life, and myself in life, and that is what this space will be, if it is anything at all. The story I tell of myself living, so that I may see that I do so, and find myself in it.

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