Courage

paradoxicalsentiments:

by Anne Sexton

It is in the small things we see it.
The child’s first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

Later,
if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

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(Source: apoemaday)

compromisedanalintegrity:

this is all I’ve thought about for five days, which is pretty impressive given that I graduated college three days ago and should therefore only be thinking about the impending doom that is adult life

compromisedanalintegrity:

this is all I’ve thought about for five days, which is pretty impressive given that I graduated college three days ago and should therefore only be thinking about the impending doom that is adult life

Maybe dullness is associated with psychic pain because something that’s dull or opaque fails to provide enough stimulation to distract people from some other, deeper type of pain that is always there, if only in an ambient, low-level way, and which most of us spend nearly all our time and energy trying to distract ourselves from feeling, or at least from feeling directly or with our full attention. Admittedly, the whole thing’s pretty confusing, and hard to talk about abstractly…but surely something must lie behind not just Muzak in dull or tedious places any more but now also actual TV in waiting rooms, supermarkets’ checkouts, airport gates, SUVs’ backseats. Walkman, iPods, BlackBerries, cell phones that attach to your head. This terror of silence with nothing diverting to do. I can’t think anyone really believes that today’s so-called ‘information society’ is just about information. Everyone knows it’s about something else, way down.
life update-ish

its been a while since i’ve given a personal update. ha! lately things have been a complete paradox. I have been going through a lot, emotionally. took a road trip and cried my eyes out, can’t eat a meal without sobbing, can’t sit down long enough without sobbing, can hardly function as a normal person. i’m pretty good at conducting myself as normal (bland), but truthfully i’m finally letting things go. right now, i’m looking forward to school in august. i’ve finally mustered courage to apply myself and am no longer ambivalent about the whole subject. i’m tired of adults trying to set me up with men, just yesterday my aunt tried to set me up with a lawyer and he was pretty cute. i’ve had an attraction for one person for a long time, but we haven’t met yet. he’s moral and ready to be a parent, apparently he’d make a great/fun parent. today i am purposing to research constellations and making a mobile for my nieces, hopefully it turns out pretty spiffy. oh yeah, i cut my hair pretty short and it is burgundy-ish. an elder complimented me yesterday and i was gleaming for a minute. i love elders, and loners and quiet people. i’m google-ing the difference between rifles right now and am anticipating hunting sometime soon with some guy friends. i’m sorry this is a bit scattered, its difficult to form a thought completely and then follow through with conveying any sort of coherence. anyway.

If you don’t know Tom Waits’ work, you’re missing a lot. I don’t know how to describe Tom Waits, because to me he’s like some strange, very rare mushroom or something, growing out in the forest and there’s no other species like him. You know, he is a kind of poet, troubadour musician and there’s almost something like, carny about him too. I don’t know; it’s very hard to describe Tom Waits. I could tell you an anecdote that sort of explains…When he was living in New York in, I guess, 1985, he was living in a kind of burnt-out loft on 14th Street and I went up to visit him. He had a black suit laid out on newspapers on the floor and a spray can of yellow paint and he was spraypainting yellow stripes on the suit. And while he was doing that, his little daughter Kellesimone was drawing all over the walls. So all around the loft, whatever her height was at that time, there were drawings up to that height. And I remember walking in and Tom spraypainting yellow stripes on a black suit that he bought on 14th Street, and his daughter saying, “Look, Daddy, I made a horse,” or a dog or something, and “Oh, that’s good, Honey. I’m making stripes on the suit.” He can use storytelling in a very beautifully simple, poetic way. In one of his songs, a line is: “I bought a second-hand Nova from a Cuban-Chinese and dyed my hair in the bathroom of a Texaco.” And that’s like, oh wow, that’s the start of movie, you know, or a whole little movie right there, in just a couple lines. I don’t know how to describe him. You have to just listen to him and it becomes very apparent that it’s a very rare kind of perspective on the world.

As women, when we’re children we’re taught to enter the world with big hearts. Blooming hearts. Hearts bigger than our damn fists. We are taught to forgive - constantly - as opposed to what young boys are taught: Revenge, to get ‘even.’ Our empathy is constantly made appeals to, often demanded for. If we refuse to show kindness, we are reprimanded. We are not good women if we do not crush our bones to make more space for the world, if we do not spread our entire skin over rocks for others to tread on, if we do not kill ourselves in every meaning of the word in the process of making it cozy for everyone else. It is the heat generated by the burning of our bodies with which the world keeps warm. We are taught to sacrifice so much for so little. This is the general principle all over the world.

By the time we are young women, we are tired. Most of us are drained. Some of us enter a lock of silence because of that lethargy. Some of us lash out. When I think of that big, blooming heart we once had, it looks shriveled and worn out now. When I was teaching, I had a young student named Mariam. She was only 11 years old. Some boy pushed her around in class, called her names, broke her spirit for the day. We were sitting under a chestnut tree on a field trip and she asked me if a boy ever hurt me. I told her many did and I destroyed them one by one. I think that’s the first time she ever heard the word ‘destroyed.’ We rarely teach our girls to fight back for the right reasons.

Take up more space as a woman. Take up more time. Take your time. You are taught to hide, censor, move about without messing up decorum for a man’s comfort. Whether it’s said or not, you’re taught balance. Forget that. Displease. Disappoint. Destroy. Be loud, be righteous, be messy. Mess up and it’s fine – you are learning to unlearn. Do not see yourself like glass. Like you could get dirty and clean. You are flesh. You are not constant. You change. Society teaches women to maintain balance and that robs us of our volatility. Our mercurial hearts. Calm and chaos. Love only when needed; preserve otherwise.

Do not be a moth near the light; be the light itself. Do not let a man’s ocean-big ego swallow you up. Know what you want. Ask yourself first. Decide your own pace. Decide your own path. Be cruel when needed. Be gentle only when needed. Collapse and then re-construct. When someone says you are being obscene, say yes I am. When they say you are being wrong, say yes I am. When they say you are being selfish, say yes I am. Why shouldn’t I be? How do you expect a woman to stand on her two feet if you keep striking her at the ankles.

There are multiple lessons we must teach our young girls so that they render themselves their own pillars instead of keeping male approval as the focal point of their lives. It is so important to state your feelings of inconvenience as a woman. We are instructed to tailor ourselves and our discomfort - constantly told that we are ‘whining’ and ‘nagging’ and ‘complaining too much.’ That kind of silence is horribly violent, that kind of insistence upon uniformly nodding in agreement to your own despair, and smiling emptily so no man is ever uncomfortable around us. Male-entitlement dictates a woman’s silence. If we could see the mimetic model of the erasure of a woman’s voice, it would be an incredibly bloody sight.

On a breezy July night, my mother and I were sleeping under the open sky. Before dozing off, I told her that I think there is a special place in heaven where all wounded women bury their broken hearts and their hearts grow into trees that only give fruit to the good and poison to the bad. She smiled and said Ameen. Then she closed her eyes.

Another myth that is firmly upheld is that disabled people are dependent and non-disabled people are independent. No one is actually independent. This is a myth perpetuated by disablism and driven by capitalism - we are all actually interdependent. Chances are, disabled or not, you don’t grow all of your food. Chances are, you didn’t build the car, bike, wheelchair, subway, shoes, or bus that transports you. Chances are you didn’t construct your home. Chances are you didn’t sew your clothing (or make the fabric and thread used to sew it). The difference between the needs that many disabled people have and the needs of people who are not labelled as disabled is that non-disabled people have had their dependencies normalized. The world has been built to accommodate certain needs and call the people who need those things independent, while other needs are considered exceptional. Each of us relies on others every day. We all rely on one another for support, resources, and to meet our needs. We are all interdependent. This interdependence is not weakness; rather, it is a part of our humanity.