Friday, 25 March 2011

Live well / Love your tree

I could, I suppose, for dramatic effect, begin this post with an assertion that my life currently consists in the 11 tiny nylon stitches stretched across the bright red stripes in the veins in my wrists. True, without them, without the firm pressure of my husband's hand that pressed the gaps shut until we got home, without the towel he tied so tight the nurse struggled to remove it, it's possible that I wouldn't be here at all.

Or perhaps it consists in the big white bandage that both hides and draws attention to those stitches, prompting curious looks and concerned questions. In the end I pull on a tubular bandage over the whole thing. "I sprained it", I say, "moving furniture".

But really, life consists in neither of those things. I've quoted Marya Hornbacher so often that she'd probably file a restraining order if she ever came across this blog! But I think her experiences gave her a certain, very wise, perspective on some things. She writes in 'Wasted':
"I have a responsibility to stay here, on earth, in the kitchen, in the bed, and not seep slowly back...", and in 'Madness':
"The world is an orderly system of cause and effect. This is a wonder and an enormous relief. The real things matter. They are the bones on which one hangs a life. Dishes... meals... bills... There are many things to do. There are books to write and naps to take. There are movies to see and scrambled eggs to eat. Life is essentially trivial."

And I start to realise that life isn't in these big epic dramas we create, it's not in 3 a.m. trips to the hospital, or in dishes flung across the kitchen, or in breaking open your skin to let yourself escape. It's portioned out, some of it into big life-changing opportunities and tragedies and celebrations, but most into little humdrum details. It's in the promises we make to the people that we love, that we'll stay here, that we'll try again. It's in taking responsibility for the things we've done and the things we need to do. It's in every instance that we make a decision to do a right thing.

Spring is here. That time of year when people start shaking off their heavy coats and argyle knits and 30 denier tights, in favour of cotton and floaty dresses and the fresh air on their skin. I'm reluctant to uncover the body that's hiding underneath these layers of clothing. It feels like an old cushion - lumpy and ill-fitting and a little threadbare in places. But I'm tired of running from it. I want to live well.

Someone posted this youtube clip on their blog a little while ago, and I can't remember who it was in order to give them credit. If it was you, I'm sorry! Let me know and I'll acknowledge it. You may have seen it before...:

"Love your tree" - Eve Ensler

Y'know, I don't have any idea what the lady in this anecdote looked like; she could have weighed 90lbs or 190lbs. But if you don't feel even a little bit inspired by her, I would be very intrigued to hear your point of view...

Happy weekend, all.

1 comment:

wintergirl said...

While I read this I'm still in bed, tears seeping out the corners of my eyes, trying not to cry. You're right you know - life does not consist of the mad dashes we sometimes make to leave it, but rather in the day to day surviving. Like Marya says, life is essentially trivial, but it's also beautiful in haunting kind of way. You just have to open your eyes to that beauty and see that you too, like everyone around you is perfect just the way you are.

I want you to live well too. To be well. To love your tree. To see that it makes life so much more worthwhile. And to experience the light and warmth that comes from loving yourself.