Friday, February 25, 2011

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

So says Carson McCullers: her words, not mine.

Last night, I felt strong. Which is good, huh? In the absence of other resources, I sometimes think that you can move forward if you can just keep your chin out and your hands on your hips. I spent some time mentoring a volunteer; then went over to Moira and Robert's for a late-night gin and tonic. I drove home fully in possession of my super-powers, singing along loudly with Nanci Griffith:

You know the poets say I'm lonely/
There's still this woman here inside.
And I've never been a fool/
When my heart was on the line.

I remembered how often this has been true in the past . There have been numerous times when I made decisions based on feelings, and they have nearly always sent me straight. My friends or my family would say, "You're going to WHAT?!?" And I did. And they threw up their hands in dismay. And I came out shiny and clean.

So, I just need to check in with Heart. "Heart? Heart! Oh, Heeeeeaaaaarrt...! HEART! God dammit!" Shit, oh dear. My heart is a bad dog, which wandered off some time ago and is now roaming the back alleys of Cottonwood Heights. Hold on, that doesn't work. Cottonwood Heights doesn't have back alleys. My heart is either running semi-feral through the foothills stealing sack lunches from snow-shoers; or it's hanging out behind Little Caesar's, waiting to see what's in the trash. Beats me. I'll tell you where it isn't, though. It's not here with me, and the hole in my chest is an empty flutter. How much longer will the ache persist? Very good question. That damn dog will not come home.

This morning I went in the bathroom (warmest room in the house!) to get dressed. But I sat on the rim of the tub and my head dropped between my knees. I didn't cry (I'm so far past crying), but I gasped for breath for a few minutes until the worst of the pain passed; then I mused at my toes and wondered how long a person can keep going. Pointless to wonder this: [dramatic whisper] I know the answer. For-EV-ah. People live with broken hearts forever. Holy shit. I will fuel my body with Cheerios and run and work and read and fold laundry and deliver Girl Scout cookies and ... Will it turn me into a grump? Will it exhaust me? Does it burn extra calories to live like this?

It's hard to believe that I can emerge shiny and clean. The pressures are enormous. I feint to the right and the left, trying to dodge adjectives. The sociolinguist in me is passing fascinated with the use of language in such a situation; but even the sociolinguist has ducked behind the kitchen island for the moment.

Selfish. Self-obsessed. Narcissistic. Self-centered. My blog is held up as evidence. Exhibit A: Self-obsessed bitch. Writing about myself and my feelings. It's all about me. Well, I have to own that. Journaling IS self-centered. In fact, any kind of introspection is self centered. I'm hearing that this is bad, and that I am bad to the point that it becomes my truth. Did you know that my own mother doesn't like me because I'm such a selfish bitch? So I hear.

It's so hard to stay off the path of least resistance. I have been bludgeoned with adjectives until I just want to roll over and say, "Uncle". But, that's what I've been doing for years. Gotta remember, "Sticks and stones..." This time, I want to stay the course.

Kate's version: "Sticks and stones will break my bones. But tones will just confuse me." [Sarcastic, but carefully executed to sound loving and sincere] Were you aware that I DESERVE happiness?? I do! After all, isn't it right there in the Declaration of Independence? Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? It's the American birthright. In fact, it's admirable. Others would, perhaps lack the guts to destroy everything they have earned and saved. Would cower in the face of their children's poverty and disappointment. Would balk at being a lonely, solitary, unloved and unlovable pariah. But not me. Heroic, really.

I hunch my shoulders and I think: if I ever needed to convince myself that I'm doing the right thing? Here's the proof.

But I still feel like a pointy-tailed she-demon.

Who blogs. I think I may close my blog, because it really is an indulgence. Now when I write, I just think, "selfish, narcissistic bitch". What is the fucking point?


Amy said...

The right to pursue happiness doesn't always mean success at achieving happiness. The guaranteed right is to pursue, not to actually BE happy.

I hope you continue your blog. You have a lot of people rooting for you.

Kate said...

@Amy: Amy, what about you? I wish you had a blog, cuz I sense that things are happening in your life and the comment box is hardly the place to get to the bottom of it. We should set up a private conversation place on Facebook, or e-mail or something.

gibbonesque said...

What is the point? You have a voice, you have a right to be heard! (With apologies to "The King's Speech"). A while back you used the word "tender" when I think what you meant was "raw". Sorry for your sorrow Kate, but it makes compelling reading. And that's another point. If it wasn't for the people who were brave and tenacious enough to set the raw detail of human experience down in black and white, the rest of us slackers wouldn't know we weren't alone. This translates into Cheese as simply, "thanks for sharing". You have been through a lot in the past few years, it seems to me part of your heartache is growing pain. Has your adjective wielding husband grown since you have known him, or is he much the same old same old? Be good to yourself.

JY said...

You have a right to be self-indulgent...that's what blogs are for... and why most people have them, not to blog about OTHER ppl. What's the point of THAT...

The World According To Me said...

There is always a point. Blogging can be therapy and the kindness of strangers can be over whelming. Any anyway, we are not really strangers because we have got to know you and we care and we want to know what's going on in your life, and we understand the desire to blog and share. So don't stop blogging, okay?

Kate said...

@ According to Me: HAHAHAHA! You make an excellent point. If I'm selfish for blogging, I'm at home here among my fellow selfies!

dive said...

Yup, we come over here to read about you and to hear what you think of the world; if we didn't want to know, we wouldn't be here.
Stay selfish (he wrote, selfishly).