Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Ripstop


I'm only an hour into the morning but already it's coming up storm-driven. Woke with thoughts lumbering around in my brain, dyspeptic thunderheads all bellying into one another so that I couldn't track any of them. I got out of bed to write them down, and when I opened the drawer to my writing table I dropped its entire contents on the dog, who was just, at that point, about to catch the dream-rabbit he was chasing. Pens, notepads, phone cords, Travels With Charley, some stray lip gloss, and last year's novel ideas, along with the drawer itself, crashed into his peaceful sleep and he levitated off the Pergot, eyes wild, already hating me. I served him apologies along with his breakfast but forgiveness takes time, and I get that. I'm still forgiving (present tense) myself for things I did (past tense) yesterday; I will be forgiving (future tense) myself for a long time to come.

Anyhow those thunderous ideas that woke me are long-gone, having disappeared through an obscure vent in the side of the universe, and I am on the couch where I spent most of last evening, only this time surrounded by a swirl of half-written ideas from past efforts, hidden in the back of that dog-hating drawer. Writers' detritus, tossed up on the waves of an uneasy mind, beached and forgotten. I stare at it, sip my coffee, set adrift. Most of them are fits and starts of book ideas and scraps of poetry born from outpourings of grief, joy, love, despair; both the lightness and the incredible weight of the human condition entrusted to paper, which hardly seems made to bear it. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better to inscribe my passions on something more durable; ripstop nylon, or the sails of a tall ship. Then the breath of my dreams and desires could carry me literally, to someplace more useful than this damned couch. But here I sit. It seems, this morning, that there is a hurricane in my coffee mug. Something is stirring in there. Every time I take a sip, a weather system passes through the mug's ecosystem; it must be highly disturbing for any microscopic individuals who call it home. I imagine the "severe alert" posted on the weather channel: "Hurricane Possible! Scratch that--Hurricane Definitely Happening! Shit--Tsunami!"

I know how they feel. The past few weeks, or years; oh hell, the past lifetime, has required a constant adjustment to the weather. Some of it comes from the outside, like it does for everyone; parents splitting up, losing people I love, having to do stuff I hate (taxes, small talk at parties, adulting in general). But mostly it's this irritatingly high capacity for internal drama, in which I turn inward and start gleefully ripping myself apart: "Self! You are THEE worst! Nobody wants to be around you." I do this because, internally, I've committed the crime of having (sshhh, don't tell) feelings. Or sometimes, Feelings. And when I have those, it scares other people. Somewhat like a hurricane. But the scared people don't broadcast their fear out loud ("Shit--Feelings!"); they just...disappear. Confirming the idea that nobody wants to be around me, a scary feelings-haver, who meanly drops drawers of things on top of innocently sleeping animals. I would take the luxury of wallowing in self-pity here, but I don't think I'm alone. A lot of us, being human and thus deeply emotional, limbic-centered beings, feel things very deeply; and many others of us, being human and thus out of touch with our deeper emotional lives, run away at the first sign of "weather."

Which, when I stop to take a breath and think about it, is just kind of fucked up on the part of the people who run away. Because feeelings, lalalala feeeelings.... are not a hurricane, unless I have a terrible misunderstanding regarding meteorology. They aren't generally life-threatening, unless the feeler is extremely enraged with the feelee, and has an axe, and is expressing an immediate and unrelenting desire to use it in gory and horrible ways, ala Walking Dead. In which case, yes, by all means, run away very quickly from this person. But if someone reaches out to you--in an honest, brave, vulnerable way--and hands you a tiny piece of their heart; then for the love of humanity, do not disappear, either physically (by hiding behind whatever object you find handy, because I can still see you and you look ridiculous, you little bastard) or emotionally, which is infinitely more painful. If you don't want that fragile bit of heart, pretend you're an adult for a second and politely, sweetly, kindly, give it back to the person. 

As for myself, here on the couch in the middle of all these half-written love poems and unfinished books; these bold ideas and shining moments of a heart-mind that I love, emotional undertow and all--I think I'll invest in some ripstop canvas and make a shelter, a sail, a sanctuary, for my heart.


KB ©3/2015























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