recovering today with kate. my back hurts. i am spending the day in bed.
it's good to finally be reading this book. i've been a bad friend in that regard... we artists are supposed to stick together. but i've been a bad artist lately too. i bounce in and out of enthusiasm, in and out of my once-unshakable integrity and devotion. maybe i've just needed a bit of a break? maybe i am, once more, in the wool-gathering time...
today, i return to a previous self. maybe the pain is good for me. as a result, i am caged (beautifully so) in my new grey sheets, in my new bed, in my new room at the front of the house. last week, i upgraded. i jumped from renting the smallest room in the house to the largest. private bathroom and all. this aspect alone makes it feel as if i suddenly live by myself save for the occasions when i hear a roommate drop a dish in the sink. it is beyond nice. i can stretch out again. i am no longer cramped. my books no longer crowd me, dominate the room. i enjoy the light that spills in to my room each morning from the window above my bed. i wake up feeling free. i wake up feeling grateful.
even today. despite this pain. a day in bed should rectify this ache. tomorrow will be better. tomorrow i should be back on my feet. but until then, let me languish in this strange variety of luxury. though i am in pain, it is fantastic to be able to spend the day in bed with a book. especially Kate's book. i think back to that weird, wonderful era when we communicated across the electric blue line of the internet in the comment boxes of each others' blogs. so many of us, us girls and women trying to say something about our lives and find a site of understanding... having to fashion our own nests out of words and sadness and the light of a computer screen... i lived for my blog in those days, and i lived for hers, and i lived for rebecca's. i was obsessed. pleasantly obsessed. i was so miserable in my daily physical reality, then: trapped in the deadening silence of little Calistoga, in the deadening silence of a dead relationship.
it's hard to even talk about it. not because it hurts but because it seems (and feels) like such an impossibility; a falsehood. it feels like it never happened. that wasn't me. i was never that girl... but i was. i lived it. and it feels just as much a lie now as it did then. jose reminds me: "but you made so much good art there". he's right. i did. but i have a hard time calling that a fair trade. i have a hard time looking at my work and saying, "yeah... that's a good consolation for what i went through".
i used to write everyday in this space.
i wrote everyday in this space because i wanted desperately to have someone to talk to. it is horrible to me that that was the impetus and i was in a relationship at the time.
on page 24: "I am realizing you become a wife, despite the mutual attempt at an egalitarian partnership, once you agree to move for him."
perhaps, i became a wife when i agreed to follow a man out to the California countryside, a place i had no desire to be, in order to feel some sense of safety... for so many reasons. so many hard, horrible reasons. the collapse of my biological family being central to that decision. and we were never officially married but everyone saw as as married anyway. toward the end, i resented that. as if my decision to remain unmarried didn't matter. there were good reasons for remaining unmarried and it upset me that they weren't acknowledged... and this Upset led me to look at myself and what i'd chosen to be a part of... i helped keep those good reasons a secret: the lies we tell ourselves and the lies we tell each other and the lies we build together. it's easy to allow oneself to become lost in the haze of desire. especially the desire to be Right... the desire to avoid the shame of being Wrong.
perhaps i became a wife when i chose Silence.
perhaps i became a wife when i chose to endure Silence.
it horrified me when i'd hear women far older than i complaining about how their husbands never talked with them and how deeply i related to that deep pain. the ignored wife.
years later, i lay in my own bed reading about the silencing of wives... the necessity of a wife's silence. i recall the years i offered up my own Silence as a benefit to the lives of the men around me. my lover and my father and my step father... all the things i never spoke of because, in telling on them, i told on myself (or so i believed). in telling the truth about my own circumstances, i somehow became a Judas. i somehow betrayed my mother. i somehow betrayed everyone by simply telling the truth about my own life and self. the knots of silence that keep a girl in place. the knots of shame that keep her poised and pretty and appreciated by everyone around her. the prize of her silence. the reward she receives is simply the absence of Shame.
perhaps that's why i put so many words out in to the street now.
perhaps it's why i am so slow to trust men and so slow to trust the idea of family. i need a new definition for these things... a new understanding of what relationships can be and what they are for. i am most comfortable and happiest in my independence. and so i paint my nails lavender and turn the pages of a book. i lay in bed, shopping on the internet, and choose to not feel guilty about any of it. if i am silly, let me be silly. let me be what i actually am: a non-wife and a non-daughter. i went down the other roads and it nearly destroyed me. i am making my way out of silence.