Monday, December 12, 2011

Still Gray Here But At Least We Got Some Rain

This morning I saw a hawk fly down from a tree to sit on my garden fence and he stayed there until the baby chicks next door started fussing and then he flew off to investigate and I couldn't bear to watch. How any baby-anythings make it around here with all the hawks is beyond me. Yes, those hawks are gorgeous but scary too with those swoop-swoop wings that scoop air hard. They are big birds. They are predators.

I wake up almost every morning feeling as if I am already a failure at life. Then I spend the rest of the day climbing some sort of self-imposed ladder to something far short of "success" but mostly just acceptance of myself. As if. My craziness is as strong and scary as that hawk and any tenderness I may have for myself is as fragile as those downy chicks next door.
And yet, I mostly manage to do it.
It's a sort of miracle.
And then I get up the next day and have to do it again. It takes a lot of energy. More than I have sometimes. 

When we did our read-through last night I enjoyed it so much but still, after we were done, I had to say ONE MORE TIME- Look guys- I am too old for this part. I love this part but I am too old.
They all told me that I am not. That it will be fine. What touched my heart was when the wife of the man who is playing opposite me said, "Mary, you are gorgeous."
She did not have to say that. She is not one to throw compliments around like confetti. She is a fairly quiet woman.
She had no idea when she said that how hard I am going to hold those words to my chest as protection, as totem, as comfort.
It was a Mitzvah, just like when Jason picked up Owen's toys the other day before they left.

I read an article in Vanity Fair the other day by Christopher Hitchens. Here it is, if you want to read it.
He has recently been going through hell on this earth being treated for cancer and in the article he takes on that old saying, "What does not kill us makes us stronger."
He doesn't believe it and neither do I.

I was reading another blog this morning and in it, the woman wrote that all of her growth and all of her blessings have stemmed from difficulties. She's religious and brings Jesus into the mix and I love her attitude about so many things but this one- nah.
Specifically, I was thinking about how different I might be had I not had to survive childhood sexual abuse. I did survive it but goddammit, I don't think it made me stronger. I think it made me fucked-up in ways that will never, ever be completely healed.
It was not a blessing.

In fact, it has interfered with my ability to accept my blessings my entire life. It has given me the fear that no matter how good things are, there will be a hawk coming from the sky to swoop in and take those blessings from me. The better I have it, the more I have to lose, the more I have to fear.

I thought, I thought...(I was nine years old) that the man who was about to marry my mother would make everything better. He would take away her depression, he would make her HAPPY, he would complete our family, he would father.
Instead, he made everything worse and he filled my life with fear.

You don't really get over shit like that. At least I haven't.
And oh sure, I am more empathetic because of what I went through. I am...well, to tell you the truth, I can't really think of anything else that's very positive to talk about which came from that experience. Nope. Just can't.
It wasn't a blessing in disguise and a whole lot of other horrible things are not either.

I'm not talking about not having enough money to buy a new car or breaking your arm or all of the things that befall us that yes, we do get through and can look back and see that we are stronger than we knew because we survived them. There ARE things which we survive which make us stronger. There is pain which has a purpose. Childbirth, for instance.

But there are other things which come like the hawk- the predator- that take so much from us. Even the basic sense that we deserve a life, not of riches or ease, perhaps, but just a plain, regular old life.

And when I write a post like the one I did last night wherein I talk about the incredible blessings of my life, I wake up the next day and think, "I do not deserve this. Something will come and take it all away." I could sit here and list a hundred things that I fear to the point of almost-paralysis. It would be so easy.

And every day, every single day of my life, I get up and I struggle through those fears and I do put one foot in front of the other and I get through. Just as many of us do who have gone through, who are going through things which seem unbearable. Things which do NOT make us stronger but instead take away all our reserves of strength and leave us panting for breath.

Of course we go on. Of course we do. Unless we don't. And some do not. Can not.

And this is the way it is. We humans want so badly to give everything a happy ending. To believe that there is meaning in suffering and we make up stories and religions that tell us exactly that. That even if this life is cruel and even if we are given more than we can bear, that in the next life, we will be rewarded for our struggles here.

See- I don't believe that for a second. I don't believe that and I don't believe that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger and I surely don't believe that god doesn't give us more than we can bear.

I just believe that it is what it is and that life can be beautiful and that life can be horrible and that life can be easy as walking down a dusty road under a clear blue sky and whistling a tune and life can be looking up to see the hawk flying low, heading straight for you and your babies.

And I believe that any kindness we can offer another is a good thing. I believe that we should be able to appreciate the smallest goodnesses of our lives and not dwell on that which is not a goodness which doesn't mean I am a Pollyanna but that we should do our best for our own self-interest to realize what we do have which is good and true. And that we should, in turn, be aware and grateful when those things are offered to us.

Because what else is there?

Perhaps I focus on the smallest blessings- the egg, the arugula, the softness of Goodwill cashmere, the son-in-law who picks up the toys, the kind comment from someone- because these I can accept. These I can be sure of.

Everything else is too much for me to bear sometimes- the very real and perfect weight of them in my life, my arms makes me know how much I have which makes me know how much I could lose.

So. There you go. Not very uplifting. But it's what I have to offer today.

And I want to say that if you are one of those people who carry burdens beyond what any human can bear (and I do not consider myself to be one of them), I have this to say:
I see you and I do not think that it is fair and I love you for continuing to bear that which is impossible to bear.

That's all.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. of course you deserve it. you deserve all the blessings in your life and more. Try saying 'I do deserve all this' when you wake up. Exclude the 'not'. You don't have to believe it when you say it but say it often enough and you will believe it. You will become OK with believing it.

  2. Thank you. You always seem to know what I need to hear.

  3. Ellen Abbott- Is it really that easy?
    Did it work for you?

    Lois- I'm glad/I'm sorry...

  4. I think that the things we suffer make us different--maybe more aware of the hawk. It did bring me revelations about myself that I didn't know before and had no idea about even after therapy. Am I stronger? I don't know because I was strong before but not aware. I am conscious now. That's better.

  5. Dear Ms Moon...this makes me so sad this morning. all the hell life can storm down upon us and so little I, or anyone can say to alleviate the pain. I am here though, bearing witness and sending you love.

  6. She's right, Mary. You are gorgeous. Every bit of you.

  7. To be everything.
    That's all.

  8. And this is why you are one of my people. And this is why it's people like you who sustain me, when things are extremely rough -- just knowing that people like you are out there -- who get that hardship is not necessarily a blessing but that it's just hardship. It's interesting how people from the beginning of time, I imagine, seek to order their lives -- both the good parts and the bad parts. I believe in the randomness of fate, I think -- and finding meaning in meaninglessness is not something I aspire to. I love you, Mary Moon.

  9. What I would say Mary is that I acknowledge your pain. That what you went through was not something that any religion or group could tell you that you will "get over it" or "bear the pain as you move forward". I don't believe this either.

    We all have "crosses that we can bear" but not all of us fall into the slots of healing, or recovery the same way. Some scars are do not heal but lie there as a tattoo to our inner heart. What we can do, those who have that scar, is to decide who is to rise from the fight for living. You or the tormentor. There will be good days and there will be days when the tormentor wants to dig into our hearts.

    You fight and you keep on fighting Mary. Accept the praise and the compliments as they are true. No, I can't imagine the awfulness you went through as a child...something like that should never every happen.

    Your writing is your is mine.

  10. Syd- More conscious is good but different is not always, I think, better. It's a moot point. It is what it is. Hell. I don't know.

    yolie- Oh love. I am sorry to make you sad. We all go through shit. All of us, every one. And some of us can rise from it and really live and some of us, as your husband said the other day so wisely, just wait for the next thing to happen. Thank-you for everything. I mean it so much.

    Lisa- Oh sugar. I SO wish that were true.

    liv- Maybe that's it. Maybe.

    Elizabeth- I am always thinking of you. Always. If there is any meaning in meaningless, perhaps it is just to recognize it as such and not tuck all the other baggage in with what we already carry.
    I love you.

    Ellen- I think that people who go through bad things can be wounded emotionally as surely as people who go through physically bad things can be wounded physically. There would be no use in telling someone who lost a leg in a car accident that there will ever be a moment in time when it will not be as it was before the loss.
    Just because we cannot always see the wound, does not mean it wasn't there.
    That's what I think.

  11. Yes. I am not one to embrace suffering. I've no truck with it. I agree that things that might not kill still you fuck you up. And sometimes they get us in the end, too :(

  12. Truth is always uplifting. You tell it exquisitely and with wisdom and compassion. This post is a gorgeous essay. I would love to see it spread around the world-- especially in answer to those two cliched sayings you mentioned.

  13. I agree with Denise.

    And I have to mention something that I know you are aware of but that you didn't mention specifically here... the way those hard/bad things can take away not only your reserves and strength, but also your emotional availability, your (my) ability to be present and attentive with the people who love me and need love from me. That is something that weighs on me. I reflect on that in myself when you talk about your mother's depression when you were growing up.

  14. Thank you for this, especially the last paragraph.

  15. Jo- That's the damn truth.

    Denise- It's funny how we just accept those "old sayings" as being true forever when they just always aren't necessarily so.

    Stephanie- That has haunted me my entire life. I know that what happened to me in my childhood has negatively affected all of those I love, despite the fact that I have tried so hard not to let it. It has. It just has.

    Ms. Fleur- Love you too, baby.

    Mary LA- I'm glad it was for you.

    Pamela- To you, sweetie. For you, too.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.