Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Angelou, Basquiat and fear

Illustration by Jean-Michel Basquiat.
There IS a difference between frighten and befuddle, though when the lights are out and the water is rising, one might be mistaken for the other.  As I shiver in our 40+ degree dawns I think of Long Islanders who are still without electricity, for whom 44 might seem almost balmy.

I want a magic charm to keep up my sleeve.  I want rows of charms, worn bandolier-style like a Girl Scout sash with amulets in place of badges.  I want pockets for my ammunition in case life breaks out in forms too unexpectedly unwelcome.

Blog writers whom I follow as consistently as I can, which could be defined at the present as not very, confront daily events that would leave me shell-shocked, immobilized.  "Don't compare pain" is advice carried from various recovery group sessions.  Still.  Most of us are given circumstances that we are expected to endure, for it is not within our power to change them.  Once the whimpering, in my case, stops, comes time for the winnowing.  How can I see this (or these) differently, what CAN I change, is there peace to be found within discouragement, certainly within multiple imperfections?

Definitions can be adjusted, the word imperfect changed to read ideal.  How much are we handed that is ideal?   Life is a make-do business.  Mostly.  Am I frightened or am I resistant?  They are not the same.  Am I capable of evolving, of becoming the flexible, adaptable creature that survives growing older with optimism and good humor?  Can I believe in myself and my work when connections to the numinous suddenly feel thin and fragile?

Certainty would be a fine thing, certainty of the good outcome,  unfailing trust in resilience and the transcending of all which is irksome or unsettling, guarantees of safety, of wisdom, of ability.  Wish for the moon, then go back and read the contract.  The word guarantee does not appear.

When I feel, because of orbiting planets or undulating chemistry, that I am flimsy and vulnerable, fear starts to wriggle in under the tent or over the transom.  I forget that I am both wave and particle, solid and gas, earth and sky.  I become foggy and forget the only thing we can count on is change.  I lose the grasp on my gifts, that I am one among the great shape shifters, the mind changers, the course adjusters.  I am most frightened when I fail to remember who I am.


37paddington said...

This is such a song of life, so inspirational really, even though you may not have thought you were giving succor with these words. They are beautiful. The remind me to endure, to remember that so much of this dance is fear, is illusion, and we only give in to all that when we forget who we are. Thank you.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Angella - Thank you. Do you find everything to be a process, as I do? Everything needing to be worked from A to whatever letter we reach, and with good fortune finding something not too slippery to hold on to, the enoughness of us. Perhaps for today we can remember that we are that, enough. xo


Wonderful post, Marylinn . . . and I love this book. It is still in my library after criss-crossing the country several times now and divesting myself of much of my library in the process.

You are much loved for your clarity, your clairvoyance, your crystal clear view of the human condition.


Marylinn Kelly said...

Karen - Thank you. How I missed knowing about the book until recently I can't say but was glad to have found it. We are certainly here, doing hand-to-hand with the human condition, are we not? xo

susan t. landry said...

i did not know about this book, either--and i have to say it seems like an inspired collaboration. maya angelou has become a national salt-of-the-earth fairy godmother, with her beautiful voice and language and her no-nonsense spirit...and poor basquiat, a fallen angel, an artist manqué. your beautiful observations as usual, marylinn, take everything to another level.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - Thank you. Inspired collaboration was just how I saw it. The images which disquiet, the words that reassure, their trajectories in such contrast. xo

Antares Cryptos said...

Don't compare anything.

Looking up at the sky, knowing how inhospitable space actually is reminds me every time how improbable our existence actually is.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Antares - Comparing is the dying star of old habits. It is/we are truly the most improbable result of infinite chances. xo

RachelVB said...

I found this quote from Anias Nin: I must be a mermaid ... I have no fear of great depths and a great fear of shallow living."

I don't know why, quite yet, but your post reminded me of this. I suppose because no matter what we consider our flaws, we can define ourselves as something beautiful.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rachel - What a lovely thought, one to be held tightly. There are too many days when my limited vision has trouble finding beautiful. Aren't comparisons the most deadly things? xo