what it takes

So I haven't actually "spilled my guts" in this thing in awhile. It really is, and always has been, my online diary, though I did go through a phase when I wanted to gain wider readership for it. Far as I'm concerned now, that's not what a blog is for. It's where I stash that portion of my poetry and song lyrics which are not too private to keep hidden away in my notebooks at home, but a little too edgy, let's say, to post on Facebook.

Forget which movie this quote comes from, but I hear in my mind some British fellow saying "it's been a topsy fuckin weird year." That about sums it up. I still kinda have no idea where I am right now. Scratch that. I know exactly where I am--my neighborhood has become a part of my identity in a way no place ever has been before, my home in the sense that I've chosen to feel it so in addition to the fact that I reside here. But as for who I am and what I'm going to do with my life, that's still up in the air. Settling slowly like leaves in a light breeze.

Note to self: "settle groundward, slow" would be a great phrase to use in a poem.

A great sign of increased mental stability, though, is that I'm getting back both the urge and the ability to write. Not quite up to my four thousand word a day habit from former days. But Mom actually gave me a great metaphor for this yesterday. I was telling her how I'd been worried because lacking the fear motive which used to drive me towards writing, as a form of release from the internal pressure, had left me sort of adrift, hard pressed to find other sources of motivation. And she said, "If you've been driving a car 90 miles an hour in reverse and you want to go forward, first you have to come to a full and complete stop. Then you can start going forward--but at first you go slowly."

We also spoke about our family and the past in a general way. And I got to say something to her that I'd been meaning to say for awhile. Forgiveness means it's over. There were a lot of dark and scary times in our lives, but whatever happens in the future, the past will never return. Even if only because we're all different people now, tempered and matured through experience, and the things which were once unthinkably scary because there was no frame of reference for them will never be new again, never again be totally unexpected.

For a good thing to be familiar makes the joy in it deeper, richer and ever new again. For a bad thing to be familiar actually weakens its power. Even if you confront a terrible event from which there is no escape, if it's something known, something you understand, there's a place inside from which you can laugh at it. Not, of course, because it's any less terrible. Rather that even the terror of it can't eradicate you, can't take you away from yourself.

This, I think, is why I've always gone running towards the things that frighten me. To know, to have made the acquaintance, of anything in life, is to understand yourself in relation to it. And with this understanding comes the experiential boundary between self and threat source, the knowledge of just what it can and cannot take from you. Ultimately everything can be taken except the naked spark. Consciousness, soul, will--names sort of collapse into it--that part of ourselves with which we choose. But the sense in which, as I see it, we are made in God's image, is that a whole self can be built from that spark, just as in Genesis the whole universe is spawned from a single fiat, let there be. And there is is. And here I am.

Even now I have a problem with this, have trouble believing sometimes that I'm really here. I keep seeking out ways to strip myself down to it, as if to reassure myself that it's still there. Which can be as disturbing to anyone who's close to me as it is destructive to myself.