Friday, November 22, 2013

At A Loss For Words

It had never really occurred to me before, but it turns out if you’re finding yourself starving even after eating, it could be because you’re missing an essential vitamin or mineral that was not in the food you just ate – or the food you’ve been eating lately.

I have recently found a similar deficiency in my language, and suddenly I have realized that I am starving.

It didn’t occur to me until lately that words possibly could not be enough; that this vast and varied language that I love to play with could be missing anything at all; that there wasn’t a word for absolutely anything I was feeling, even if I personally didn’t know it yet.

Recently it has begun to occur to me that it is very likely the language I love so much is skewed: skewed toward a logical existence, and away from a creative one.

Certainly, there are many words that I can string together to create a creative picture: I can roar and scream and wail my words; the flame can burn, char, crackle and stutter in the rain if I so wish. The words are sufficient, invisible audience, but suddenly, they are not enough.

I’ve been feeling a disquiet lately. It’s the kind of discomfort that causes me to squirm in my skin; to sit staring out at the rain from my porch, my journal in my lap, trying to find the colors to paint a vibrant landscape with a palette of beige.

The words are no longer enough. Screaming out loud comes closer; breaking things for the sheer joy of hearing them shatter could possibly be the right track; setting a painting on fire might just be the way to convey the heat I’m trying to capture. It’s as if suddenly I have awoken inside a black and white world and I am trying to describe the brilliant hue of the sunset in my dream. It’s as if I want to break clear out of my skin, slough it off like a snake, and slither away cloaked entirely in sunlight.
Suddenly, words seem too logical for what I am. The creativity is leaking out of my every pore; I find it difficult to sit in front of a computer and type black onto a white page when I’d rather be screaming in ecstasy jumping off a cliff; I’d rather have my hands in the dark dirt and see it gathered under my fingernails; I’d rather run until my breath is ragged in my chest and I collapse, my entire body spent.

I’d rather be flying, and yet it still wouldn’t be enough. My creativity, my sexuality, my appetite, have all started screaming that they are starving for outlet; they are all the same thing, you see: the craving for connection, for intimacy, for fire, for art, for moments that stretch the heart chambers and cause the head to bow in disbelief; the moments that take my breath away and cause me to gulp it back in in huge deep breaths, because it is not enough to live one lifetime on this wondrous plane. Instead, I can only look forward to many lives left to come, because each moment is a new one: each sunrise a new brilliant flame, each full moon a new poem to be written, each star-studded sky a new chance to lay out in the grass and ponder how small I am, and how large a universe I get to explore.

Love and wordless kisses,

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dear Prince Charming: You’re Fired.

Dear Prince Charming,

I am pretty sure that your only job is to ride around rescuing maidens and performing knightly deeds for damsels in distress, and based on this job description, you are fired.

It is not necessarily because you are doing your job poorly; rather, it is the broader implications of your position that need to be eradicated. I am not sure how much learning large words is part of your training, so I will try to put this in terms you can understand.

It’s not you, it’s me. 

I don’t mean this in that the problem is with me; unlike many people who use this phrase to “let someone down easy,” I am not lamenting my inability to love you despite your impressive list of accomplishments. “If only I weren’t so broken,” they wail, “I would love you, wonderful person that is in front of me.”

No, I don’t mean it like that, because – shall I be blunt? – that’s a bunch of malarkey anyway. When people say that, it means that they can’t for the life of them get the attraction juices flowing, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, for some reason people think they need to simper and apologize for a basic human right: to fall for who we fall for without having to explain or justify it, and to not fall for someone with the same rights.

No, what I mean is that the idea of YOU showing up in my life has made ME lazy. My entire life I have been told by every Disney movie, most other movies, media in general and a big black paradigm cloud that if I’m a good girl and I wear nice dresses and suffer soundlessly and get my nails done so my toes don’t look gross when you put that glass slipper on my foot, all my problems will go away and my dreams will come true when you show up. 

I was also told that I’d better not act like I need you or need anything from you when you get here, because nothing will scare you away faster. Instead, you will naturally intuit all that I want and need, so I'd better make sure what you're intuiting is what I want. I’ve been told to play hard to get; to dumb myself down, and that there’s nothing sexy about being myself when I could be a simpering, bustle-wearing beauty instead.

It’s actually not you OR me, but US, Prince Charming. Because I never learned to chop wood, knowing you would do it when you showed up to show off your manly prowess, and you never learned to cook, because that was women’s work. I never learned to slay dragons, because that would emasculate you when you finally did come to call, and you never learned to cry, because if you were crying, then who would I lean on?  No, your job was to be stoic and mine was to faint at the site of danger, despite the fact that eventually I will have to muster everything to shove our child out of my womb in a mass of pain and blood, and if that is not a brave or emasculating endeavor, then just what the hell is?

I know it’s not your fault, Prince Charming. I know you can only know what you have been taught, and they certainly didn’t teach you how to appreciate a woman who would have the dragon spitted when you got there, or how to swaddle a child. They didn’t teach you to open up to me, because feelings are not manly. Instead, they taught you to want to rescue me, and me to want rescuing.

I suppose now that I’ve fired you I’ll end up an old maid, because according to “them,” there is no in-between: you mind your p’s and q’s and wait quietly for your prince to come, or you die an old maid because you didn’t deserve him in the first place; you must have done something wrong if you ended up alone. There is no room there for the kind of relationship that would truly be of equals, because that would be too much to expect or ask – and also, it’s not the stuff that fairy tales are made of. No, no man is wowed by a woman’s brain. Instead, her beauty sets her apart, makes her different and desirable. If I ask you just where the hell you got the idea that it was my job to clean your boots and be impressed by the fact that you killed a deer and tracked its gore into my kitchen, well then, I’m just being ungrateful. No one says anything about the rabbits I snared that kept us fed when you went sullen and decided you didn’t want to hunt for a month while your drinking buddies were in town.

Oops, I’ve gone and done it now. I’m all fired up and speaking my mind. God forbid. I am certainly not the stuff that fairy tales are made of, because that would mean that I was docile, unable to care for myself, and that I needed you to think for me and protect me from others AND myself. I guess I’d better go work on that shawl. It will keep me warm when you aren’t there, because even if I hadn’t fired you, nothing in your experience has taught you to appreciate what I could give you: an equal, a confidant, and a partner. 

No, for that I’ll have to go somewhere else. Maybe there’s a woodsman in need of a wife; maybe there’s a shepherd who hasn’t heard anything about a need to rescue a woman perfectly capable of rescuing myself. Maybe there’s some man out there who has not heard anything about this superiority crap, who can just appreciate my humanness and my femininity without making it into a game of whose genitals and temperament are superior. However, if he sees you when he shows up, he’s going to turn and walk away, because it’s a logical conclusion to think that no self-respecting woman would be sitting at your feet, batting her eyelashes and oooing and aaaahhing at your stories. 

So off with you, Prince Charming. I wish you the best, but please don’t come around anymore. From now on I’ll slay those dratted dragons myself and wait for someone who will be willing to do the dishes if I’m willing to learn to chop the wood. If that person never shows up, I won’t be worse off, because I’ll no longer be waiting for that space to be filled, or an imaginary hole in my life to close. 

Love and fired up kisses,

Princess Morgan

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Turtle: Coming Out of My Shell

Judith Grob in the Turtle Pose. Read Judith's blog here.
About five years ago, a friend of mine’s mom gave me a necklace. It’s a carved woman, naked, with a turtle shell on her back. She is the woman who carries her home with her, and Jane gave her to me because I am her: I move around often, and I can feel at home wherever I am.
I have always identified with the turtle, although the extent of which I did so has been lost to me until recently. Before, I would have said that I identified with her because she carries her home with her; because she likes water, and because she has the ability to find safety inside herself, despite what is happening in the world around her.
Last summer at Yasodhara Ashram, someone showed us the turtle pose in a Hatha yoga class. I don’t remember who the first instructor was, but I do remember when Judith showed it to us again, because she could get into the FULL turtle pose, with her arms under her legs and back behind her on her butt. I was impressed and wowed, and even if I could never get into FULL turtle, simply wrapping my arms under my legs and around my ankles and breathing into the shell I created with my body was soothing…and also made me cry.
One of the first legends I ever heard was the one of the turtle creating the world by bringing sand up from the bottom of the ocean. She can dive deeply, hold her breath, and find herself and the answers in the underworld. She is unafraid of the dark, and capable of covering long distances with a slow and steady yet constant pace. She is wise, older than time, and manages to survive despite lack of speed or defenses that will not hurt others, and consist of simply hiding herself without having to go anywhere to do so.
These are the good parts of the turtle; the safety of eons of slow forward motion; self-defense without attacking others, and the ability to dive deep. Just as important, however, is the shadow side of the turtle, which I have only recently realized I also identify with.
The shadow side of the turtle hides when things get tough. She goes mute and can do nothing more than keep her limbs in as she is skittered along on her back by forces greater than herself. Her strength is not in lashing out when needed, but in staying in her shell until the coast is clear.
The coast is never clear.
I love feeling at home wherever I am, and yet I am ready to pick up another totem or animal to identify with. I want something loud and raucous this time, with the ability to reach outside itself for affection, and also to bite, HARD, or claw, or otherwise use tooth and nail to protect my niche, instead of being forced within myself until the predator loses strength or interest and wanders away. It is not that I am forsaking the turtle that has, until now, taught me how to survive with the resources I have had available. It is simply that now there are MORE resources outside of simple patience, slow forward motion and a shell to hide in. Now, it’s time for me to take wing, bare my claws if needed, but also find a different view besides the plodding one I have had until now: the one where only what I can see from the ground is available to me; where my only defense is to hide, instead of to shine.

Love and out of my shell kisses,