What was it in me that expected and wanted to live?

dancing is the solution

Good morning this Wednesday morning. How is your heart today? What is the light doing with the edge of your teacup, with your mirror, with your windowpane? How are the words finding you? This morning I was up early, 3:30 and the body said, Ready? Let’s go. I had almost two hours with the candle and the notebooks before the light came. That’s some heart-feeding time there.

But don’t I always go back to the same places? The dreary trauma, the swollen girl lost and locked inside? Isn’t there more to that child? Where else can I find in that girl to fall into? What about the endeavorer, the explorer? Talk back to the girl who spent a lifetime listening to birds, harvesting sourgrass to eat, investigating every backyard, gulley and alleyway — what constitutes her humanity now? How did her curiosity survive all that he put her through? The only way I can think is to keep writing. But these bones aren’t mine anymore.

I investigate the shadows, pulling that husk out from under the body of a man who never belonged on top of her. And she had — I would tell you, it would be easy to tell you that she had by then shut her eyes to sweetness, but the truth is harder than that. The truth is she didn’t give up hope, and she eventually released all possibility of a future. How does a person learn to do that at the same time? The flowers that lived insider her had all gone to seed, gone dormant — this is why she was waiting for tomorrow. Someday — not soon, she thought, but someday — there would be a place to plant again.

Rachel Naomi Remen talks about plants forming spores when the conditions aren’t habitable for their nurturance, their growth. She says people do this, too, but we forget to peek out of our shells, our carbon containers, the tight nub our hearts become — we forget to peek out to see if things have gotten better. We remain spored, tightly bound up, protected. Plants know that spore is meant to be temporary.

Who was that girl who turned up the music and danced alone and wild, fully in her body, when she thought her stepfather wasn’t there to see? Who was that girl with so much audacity, so much life? He caught her dancing, shamed her even as he couldn’t hide his arousal. What he took from her body after couldn’t touch what had been dancing.

How frustrated her stepfather must have been with that young woman’s temerity — thinking she deserved joy. What I’m trying to get underneath is this: What was it in me that expected (and wanted) to live?

(Could this be a prompt for today? Give yourself twenty minutes, write all the way in: what was it in her, in him, in you, in me, in us that wants and expects to live? Follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go.)

All the gratitude today. Thanks for your words.


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