I have been doing more writing than visual work lately. So I haven't had much to post. I just finished up a week in an online course called In Her Skin. Our last directive was to write a love letter to ourselves. And to take a picture from a place of love.
remember how it was when you were 23 and reading Virginia Woolf’s diary and she wrote things to ‘old V’, how sad it was knowing that she didn’t get terribly old and how unhappy she was and how you decided never to write things to your old self in case it was a jinx?
And remember that one sentence in the biography that made you just weep….’She put stones in her pocket and walked into the River Ouse.’ For a long time, it was the saddest sentence you ever knew. And then your son died and your mother and your brother and now there are lots of candidates for saddest sentence ever.
And now, you’re older than Virginia ever got.
You’re way happier despite the sad sentences in your biography. You’re worried, though, about future sad sentences. And Alzheimer’s. Decrepitude. More death.
Sink into this moment. THIS moment. It is full of love and peace and dreams and hope. After a few minutes, you DID remember the name of the friend in Brooklyn your daughter stayed with during Hurricane Sandy. You can still do the Tai Chi kicks, stand in Tree Pose nearly effortlessly, and sit on the ground without using your hands and get up using only one. (And don’t forget, you were never very bendy anyway. Oh, that reminds me - remember those pictures of old Helen Gurley Brown putting her leg behind her head? And how you aspired to that…? Just be happy about the getting up from the floor using only one hand thing.)
You used to smoke. You lived for years on caffeine and nicotine and sugar. You were rail-thin and a strong breeze or a bad cold could take you down. And you were so full of anxiety you wrote this line: ‘every nerve ends / in a frantic wasp.’
You’ve got 40 more pounds on young you and that bothers you. I’m here to remind you that last year it was 60 and you will lose 20 more this year because you can. And you will keep the other 20 because it makes you strong.
And you are strong. Your heart is wide open and even in the bombed-out, scorched places, shimmery seams of gold are revealed. You’re full of shiny things. (Remember when you were an elf in Shoemaker and the Elves and they covered your eyelids with glitter and every time you blinked, some glitter fell off and it was just sparkles in front of your eyes the whole time on stage? Well, there is so much sparkle in your world, it’s like that. Only without little bits of glitter getting in your eyes and scratching your corneas!)
You kicked 90% of your agoraphobia/travel fear and every year you make a trip now. Last year you got on a bus and stayed in hotel rooms alone and you wore a backpack and rode the T from the bus to your son’s stop. All by your brave, intrepid self. You navigated the Atlanta airport. All by yourself.
You sat with death. You saw your son in the morgue. You held the hand of dying loved ones. Twice. And you wrote this line ‘grace too big for the room.’
And you still know joy.
How better to tell you I love you than to remind you how strong you are? How you have grown deep roots and wild branches that reach for sky and that sometimes you blossom outrageously . How beauty stalks your life and leaves messages for you everywhere. How better?