Written by a Sister who wishes to remain anonymous…
“The heart wants what it wants – or else it does not care.” No, that was not Woody Allen, (although he did quote an obscene version of it as a way to justify running off with his adopted daughter). It was Emily Dickinson, my favorite poet. She also wrote in the same letter to Mrs. Samuel Bowles in 1882, “We won’t break, Mary. We look very small – but the Reed can carry weight.”
I don’t look small, some believe I am reed thin, and I can certainly carry weight. I know heaviness. Heaviness follows me caught up in its own morass, too thick to move far enough away from itself. Not dream or nightmare, but some dense mess in-between. Dream lies to me with whimsy daring me to buy her story. Half cocked smile, maybe coquettish at times, Dream calls me in and I don’t as much fall for her as say, “oh what the fuck.” Nightmare has no patience. I must be hit on the head to get his point but then, because he is so sharp, I hide again under heaviness because what I cannot feel has no chance to penetrate me.
I am not sure that I know the difference between sleep and awake; both states of temporary being interrupted by time. Is one ever more real than the other? The mind is real only if it is our own mind. My mind doesn’t know your mind. We can never know each other’s mind, can we? I have said this as though it is an absolute truth since I got into shape to carry Heaviness. Heaviness is my space between asleep and awake. Heaviness is my no-woman’s land. I didn’t stake it out as much as leave it up for grabs by Dream and Nightmare. They don’t want the permanent mortgage either. They want to fight over my space just so that I don’t have it.
Have I have been living in a trauma of my own making? Maybe it wasn’t Nightmare who shackled me to the bed-post and said “look at this, look at this.” Or Dream who said I will only show you from a distance what it is possible to have. Maybe it was me, the illusionary me. The me who isn’t real and lives between two other unreal states. The me who isn’t big enough to move to upper-case.
I am wondering because my mind is a wandering wonderer. It goes all over the place and says things like “this might be a good place to stop, nah nothing here let’s keep going.” My mind is busy, peripatetic busy. Looking for the minds of others that are impossible to see. Maybe that’s infinity?
You see I mind about all this stuff. If I didn’t mind my mind would be free. It would truly understand that it is alone. That it knows only itself and needs only itself. That existence is not relative but absolute. ‘I think therefore I am’, no? No, that is not enough. I think therefore I think of others and I want to know that I am thought of too. Is that love? Is thinking about each other love or is that another dead space that we occupy when we afraid of our aloneness?
I thought I knew what it meant to love. There goes my mind again. I hear that I am supposed to love myself but I only hear that when someone else tells me. If I lived as alone on the planet as I do in my own head would it even make sense to tell myself that? When a tree falls in the forest and all that crap. Love isn’t something I ever gave to myself it was something I thought was coming my way when I slithered into the world through the story of my mother. Well I didn’t think it then, but I counted on some form of it for my survival; food, shelter, someone to hold onto. I discovered early that food is not love so I have put that fork down.
Babies aren’t thinkers – that is their mistake. They look at us without thinking and we tell them the lie we want them to hear. That was me back then in my dream state setting my babies up for their first encounter with Nightmare. We all do it don’t we? But now I am the mother and I don’t get to blame my mother or anyone else’s mother I am after all, alone, in my own mothering. Yet, it is impossible to speak of me without speaking of you. I am trying to I promise. To see the improbability of truly sharing minds and yet in my mind it happens all the time. When I speak, look for the right word, hold my eye to that of another, feel the vibration through the space between bodies that are unable to make physical contact. I think that is love, or at the very least it is the desire for love. Lies rupture love. Dream and Nightmare thrive on rupturing love because they don’t know how to stay in one place. They are servants of time. My peripatetic mind is trying to resist the grand lie. The lie that told me all love has the same narrative and that if I love you I will be loved back, the way I want to be loved. Not true.
Truth is stunning. Truth smells like babies, especially babies who have soiled themselves and are asking to be cleaned. There is nothing more humbling than being loved in your dirt. Truth is not perfect only perfect truth is perfect. Truth is love because it sets the mind free. When I look to your truth to confirm the presence of mine I have committed the ultimate betrayal. Do you see how I have set myself up to live in heaviness? I am no longer a baby. Food, shelter, and someone to hold onto isn’t enough. I know about the Holocaust. I know about Stalin, Jesus Christ, and Judas Iscariot. I have heard the truth of what human beings do to each other and I have hidden it under heaviness. I am not alone in my suffering because I have been the donor and recipient of suffering. If I refuse to look at how we hurt each other then I truly am alone.
Woody Allen’s arrogance is in believing that his heart is the only one that counts. Emily Dickinson’s courage reminds me that if I also believe that lie then I am doomed to nihilism. Heaviness has been a counterpane for my soul and its comfort and warmth a grand deception. My heart and mind were damaged by the discovery that love is built on a lie but the rupture of that lie has been devastatingly beautiful. I am mindful that I not truly alone. I want to connect and I am worthy of connecting with. To love you I must love Me but I cannot do that unless I see you, thank you for showing Me the unbearable lightness of being. I have put the weight down.