Saturday, December 26, 2009

By The Light

It is sundown in the Sonoran desert. The edge of the east horizon is scarlet. A dog is barking somewhere. No sign of the great old horned owl that usually sleeps in the palm tree near the peanut-shaped pool. The east horizon, above the Rincon Mountains, is a delicate blue, almost turquoise, and I want to wear it, like a dress, with a scarf around my neck the color of the east horizon.

Mario has gone to town to get dinner. I have a headache. The sound of the heater is annoying. The light from the compact fluorescent bulbs hurts my eyes. I am certain one day they will tell us that exchanging all our incandescent bulbs for these fluorescent bulbs was a bad idea. The light is stark and clinical. Incandescent light is...well, incandescent. Fluorescent bulbs aren't going to save us.

But I digress.

I am trying to unwind after a very scary and traumatic week. I woke up today feeling as though I'd been hit by a truck. As I stumbled up out of bed, I could only imagine what my father felt like. All day we kept getting good news about him. He was out of bed. He was joking around. They took out all his lines.

I felt more and less stressed all day. Mario started his new novel. I wondered if I would be able to begin my writing project. It is the reason we come here every year: to write in a beautiful (and sunny) place. But I need to relax. I did some meditation today, something I should do every day and do most days when I'm feeling good. It's those times when I don't feel like doing it that it would most likely benefit me.

This afternoon I have been thinking about why I write about taboo subjects. I have been writing on a blog for a long time now, since 2003. I've written about politics, my fury and despair over the Bush years, my depression and anxiety, food, nature, my travels, my writing, ecstasy, and various other things. I've had people I know say, "Do you really want to say these things in public? It's so personal."

It's an interesting question with a simple and complex answer. I have been writing since I was five years old. Writing was always how I communicated with the world. It has also been how I figured out the world and myself. I have written publicly about my own struggles with depression and anxieties because I think it's important to do so. Depression is still one of those things that people do not talk about. And anxieties or fears are even more taboo subjects. In fact, any kind of illness, especially so-called "mental" illnesses, are restricted topics of conversation. There is still so much shame attached to any kind of mental illness.

But mental illness is not a character flaw. Having fears and anxieties is not a character flaw. No one wants to be mentally ill. No one can just "snap out of it." No one gets depressed or becomes fearful on purpose.

For years I didn't tell anyone about my off again on again depression, besides the numerous therapists. And no one knew about any of my fears. Even today when people who have known me for years find out, they often say, "But you seem so confident. I can't imagine you afraid of anything."

I think the people who have fears and who carry on with their lives are the bravest people in the world. If you aren't afraid of anything, you aren't brave; you're just clueless and/or lucky as hell.

So I write about depression. I know how lonely and hopeless it feels. I know we are so brave for trying to struggle our way out of this damn proverbial paper bag. I want everyone who has depression or who has had depression to know that they are not failures, they are not unlucky, and there is light at the top of that paper bag.

And it helps me to write about it. I still don't talk about it much. People don't know what to say when I do speak of it. I told a friend about it once and she said, "I don't have time to be depressed." At my two year Celtic program, I told one of the participants about feeling depressed and she said, "It's because you aren't connected to the Divine Source." Neither of these responses was appropriate or compassionate. What they should have said is something along the lines of: "I'm so sorry. I'm here to listen if you need a sympathetic ear."

Another strange thing I write about publicly is my relationship with the Invisibles. I talk about fairies and plant spirits and other such goodies. And I talk to fairies and plant spirits and other such goodies. I come to all of this honestly. I grew up in the country, and my best pals were the trees and plants and animals all around me. I didn't get people. What they said often contradicted what I thought the truth was. (You know what I mean. "Nothing's wrong. Every thing's OK." When actually everything was wrong and nothing was OK.)

But trees! Ahh, they were my saviors. I'd climb The Lullabye Tree, sit on one of the limbs, and sing for hours. It was my favorite place in the world, there where the woods met the marsh. I left food for the hawks in an old scraggly evergreen. I named rocks and had conversations with them. I stood at the edge of the marsh and watched for ignis fatuus (and flying saucers). And I had an entire "imaginary" world where the girls and women had magical powers (and men and boys didn't). I was only visiting Earth and disguising myself as an Earth girl to learn about Earth ways.

I spent most of my time out of doors. It was my father who taught me the names of the flora and fauna. It was my father who sniffed the air and said it smelled like snow and from then on I knew what the air smelled like just before it snowed.

I was completely in love and entranced by the natural world. It is no wonder or surprise that as an adult I would rekindle my love affair. I have experiences with plants that are just as real and incarnate as my experiences with human beings. So why would I doubt the veracity of them?

I believe we have more than six senses in our beautiful bodies. If we're open to the possibilities, who knows what we can sense, what we can experience. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a scientist. I still consider myself a scientist: I am constantly studying and learning about this old world of ours. There is so much more to learn.

I suppose I could say I write about what I know, but I also write about what I don't know. Sometimes in the writing of it, I learn more or realize I know less. I write about what I love, but I also write about what I despise. Sometimes in the writing of it, I change my mind. I write about my life because it is fascinating to me. Sometimes I am amazed I get through it; sometimes I am amazed at the charmed life I lead. But in the end, it's what I do. I write. I live. I write some more.

Ain't I lucky?

Mario just got home from the grocery store. He brought me a present: incandescent light bulbs. We go around the room and put them in here and there. The room feels better immediately, more homey. Softer. I'm sure all the Invisibles in this room quite agree with me.

Or maybe it's just me. But I feel positively glowing.

1 comment:

John Carosella said...

Thank you, Kim, for this lovely post. It brought back memories of my childhood and my best self throughout the years.

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