Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stag- or- The Importance of Going Solo

I have spent an extraordinary amount of money this season.  Some of it was necessary to spend but a significant amount I spent simply in some vain and desperate attempt to rebuild myself.  Remember those ghosts of mine?  They needed a new wardrobe.  I needed a new wardrobe.  I needed to make myself anew. I still do.  I still struggle with wanting to discard permanently relics from an upsetting time and replace them with delicious books or swank new corduroy pants... or stash those relics away, out of sight until I am stronger and wiser and much much calmer.  More appropriately able to handle them.

Don't worry, I am indeed long-windedly getting to a point of sorts.  The other day I splurged (again) on a tiny folding wallet- one of those you put an ID card and some cash in, shove it in your back pocket, and think 'sorted, I am streamlined.'  The reason I just couldn't help myself this time was the material.  The wallet has tiny silver stags all over it.  I am drawn to stags, amongst other wild creatures, and feel a strong desire to represent that a little more clearly and abruptly in my day-to-day comings and goings.  People should know- they should be a little more aware of the importance of wild things.

The point of the wallet and my musings?

When was the last time you saw a deer, a stag, and thought 'that's a wild creature'?  When is the last time any of us have stopped to really consider the meaning of domestication and domesticity?  Last fall, on a visit to my parents' house,  I watched an eight-point buck leap a six-foot fence with no running start. He just took flight into some unsuspecting suburbian's well-tended backyard.  An eight-point buck.  In the middle of Southside Charlotte, North Carolina.  Just using his incredibly powerful hind muscles.  That was no domestic creature.  That buck represented the wild things that we daily pretend are domestic but are in fact something else entirely.

Right now you are thinking... 'how exactly did we go from wallets to wild things?'

It's all part of this reclamation process of mine- which has admittedly had some setbacks of late- but I suppose all do.  I was a domestic creature for a little while.  I wore that label without fully understanding what it truly meant for my identity.  I disappeared.  I became routine and lost the identity that made me me.  Domestic animals are overlooked, in a way, by their frequency in our lives.  So while I became domestic to one person I became anomalous to everyone else, including myself in the end. I wasn't wild, as I have lamented in past blogs: in fact as I grew increasingly more domesticated I inversely and perversely grew increasingly less noticeable.

But becoming stag again, the solo version of Kate, has given me this strange opportunity to learn about myself again.  At a time when most people are settled into their identities as young execs, bank tellers, park rangers, mothers, wives, whatevers, I was a blank page.  I remain largely so because this process is necessarily slow, excruciatingly so.  I meet some new part of me, everyday.  There are days I don't like those parts that I meet- but they are mine and me so I take them.  For example- I can be a real bitch when I want to be.  But I can also admit to it.  Being stag lets me accept those things with much more grace and humility than I ever had before.

So there you have it.  The stag wallet.  I know, it's all so silly in my head.  Then again, I have never claimed to be anything but.

Until next time, Cheers Friends.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Burn a Black Candle

Because black protects.  It absorbs and repels negative energy.  It perfectly represents duality and balance.  And because black protects.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bittersweet... and then I made Lentil Soup

My roommate in college, who also happens to be one of my dearest friends in the world, wrote me a note on a post-it one night and stuck it to my computer.  When I read the note, I taped it down so that I would see it every day.  It was during our senior year, we were still suffering each other in the dorms, and I was slowly but surely self-destructing between working, writing a thesis, and carrying a full coarse-load.  To this day it surprises me that Suzannah put up with me for so long.  Shout out, Suz.

By now you are asking yourself- and the computer- 'well.. what did the note say?'

'Forget Regret or Life is Yours to Waste.'  My roomie... she sure does have a way with words.

I have been thinking about regrets lately.  Quite a bit today because it is beautiful outside and I am only now remembering what it is like to experience and live in such beauty.  This park season (my life as a ranger takes on strange schedules and time tables) has mostly been a battle to find a person in myself after losing... a lot of things.  I have kept quiet (sometimes), raged and wept (sometimes) but have always always stayed protected.  I patterned my day-to-day existence around isolation, providing myself with an insular life and building and rebuilding fortress-like walls around my heart, brain, and spirit.  I do not regret any of this.  I needed, and still desperately need, the quiet.  I need peace to sort through this... this.

What I do regret is that I became a zombie.  The isolation was complete.  I was protected.  I was alone.  I still am alone to a degree that I believe most people would be uncomfortable with.  What I regret the most is that I was absent.  How can I possibly explain such a regret?  I smelled the salty-brackish water of the sound today, coming back from a run, and remembered the beauty of nature.  I stood in the sunlight at work today and felt warmth.  These are things I did not experience- things I did not let myself experience- for such a long time.  I feel such happiness to reintroduce myself to sensations- but such regret that I let so long pass without them.  Such deep, weeping regret in soul area of me.

Some things cannot be helped.  Sometimes we have to go away, all of us if we are totally honest.  We have to, we need to, be absent.  But when we come back, when we reenter the atmosphere of our worlds, our loves, our lives, it is such a bittersweet experience.  Such a brilliantly and brutally bittersweet experience.  Everything that was there before we left is still there but it is vivid and strong and beautiful in a way that makes us hurt impossibly and individually.

So yeah, I've been thinking about regrets today.  I'm hoping to have fewer.

Cheers Friends.  Take a deep breath, it's the Fall.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Making Deals with the Devil*

*And the Devil Don't Deal.

Once you have waltzed yourself precipitously close to the double-door of death and insanity, and then slammed full tilt into reality, things change.  But they change only after you violently, tearfully, and defeatedly realize that it was you.  It was only you single-handedly dismantling your own life, throwing yourself into a sickness-inducing tailspin that seems to go on and on and on.

But when it stops- now that is something else entirely.

I have been self-indulgent, self-effacing, self-loathing and destructive, and all of the other 'selfs' you can think of, for a long time. Too long actually.  But the 'selfs' have been extraordinarily present in the past couple of months.  And I let them have whatever was left of me after a series of unfortunate events (to borrow a phrase).  I let them become something that passed for a personality- for a person.  A bare minimum of a person in every single definition of minimum.  That's the realization that stopped the spin.

Well, slowed the spin.

Because when you lose your real self to these things that pass as 'self' and then wake up to find your 'self' living a life that is not yours and can, honestly, barely fit the description of life and living, a vivid, surreal blossom of fear spreads through every fiber of the being that is yours.  It stole my breath.  To finally understand what I had done TO MYSELF, it literally stole my breath.  It is a hard thing to describe, the awakening after a long slumber of numbness and disaffection.  It is an exponentially harder thing to describe, the distressing (but somehow refreshing) knowledge that it was only ever me allowing myself to fracture, to shatter, to slide into numbness and disaffection and then not bothering to pick up the pieces.  I left the bits of myself on the floor with whatever desire I had to be a real girl.

Over the past week, however, I have somehow survived a second series of unfortunate events.  They are the Devil of the title.  But they are also the trigger, the gun that finally went off in my painfully dislocated brain and body.  The devil is in the details but right now the details are less important that the overarching view: there is a person here.  She is still (too) small and still a bit disoriented.  But she is finally, finally here.

Cheers Friends.

Oh, and Happy October.