Self-Love in the Time of Chaos

“I thought of that old gentleman, who is dead now, but was a bishop, I think, who declared that it was impossible for any woman, past, present, or to come, to have the genius of Shakespeare. […] He also told a lady who applied to him for information that cats do not as a matter of fact go to heaven, though they have, he added, souls of a sort.” ~ A Room of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf

Has madness ever breathed down your neck?
You know, when the pain twists your shoulder,
kicks you in the hip,
rips at your gut…
does it make you fear you’re losing your sanity?

Flashing my best Wednesday Addams smile, I say,
I keep Sanity tied to the foot of Imagination’s bed…
She’s guarded by a crowd of realities
that won’t stop telling each other,
“I’m the only one!”

You do understand, he says,
that personifying the pain that cripples you
and turning it into a fantasy
will just increase the chaos;
you won’t heal by fashioning stories
or by creatively telling yourself you aren’t in pain.

I shake my head, thinking, 
You poor little man… so blind, so limited.
Then I laugh hysterically
at a personal joke about Poe;
and because I can’t help myself,
I stare him in the eye, and hum,
“Nevermore, nevermore, nevermore.”

After seeing his mouth open for a while,
I start to pity the bastard (kind of),
and choose to tell him the truth:  
I say to him, “Every single time I figure out a new and creative way to live with my pain, I become more. I’ve taught myself to delight in taking my pain (and the hurt that oozes out of the rest of the world) and feeding the lively mixt to my stories; others seem to enjoy reading the fanciful spread, too. My pain and words sustain the kind of sane that works for me. For me, storytelling is active self-love in the time of chaos.”

He squirms almost violently 
when I say “self-love”.
I smirk.
For the longest of seconds,
I consider widening my eyes 
and whispering,
“I also believe in the healing powers 
of masturbation.”

But I don’t say it.
I’m too busy plotting…
The story blooming in my brain
will tell the tale of a learned character
who thinks himself an expert on pain,
healing, imagination, sanity, fantasy
(of the human mind and body!),
but who writhes like a jellyfish
at the possibility of a woman
knowing her Self enough
to love her own body
and to indulge in a little touching

in a room of her own.


for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (In Other Words)
and for me

it can also be for the blade
not sure what blade I’m talking about?
read this post
Wednesday, by Laura Barbosa
(by the way, this Wednesday makes me think of Poe)

52 comments:

  1. Often when we need the creative in the work of healing we must bring our own. Too many of the clinicians are merely technicians.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed! And I think that we need to remind ourselves of this detail just as often. We can not allow other people to make us feel like we don't know ourselves. Never.

      Delete
  2. I agree with Eliora! No one knows quite what we really need like we do. We need to take the oxygen mask ourselves and breathe. Love the story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our body is very smart. And if we let it, it will totally speak to us.

      Delete
  3. You know yourself and your body more than anyone, and you know what you need, including writing your stories. Do what makes your soul sing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. My pain and words sustain the kind of sane that works for me. For me, storytelling is active self-love in the time of chaos.” I like that - I'm not much of a story teller but I am a reader and stories are a balm for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Words are balm for the soul. Yes, they are. ♥

      Delete
  5. Virginia Woolf is applauding those last 5 lines of yours! And me too, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Brilliant . . . I love it. Especially love, I keep Sanity tied to the foot of Imagination’s bed… She’s guarded by a crowd of realities that won’t stop telling each other, “I’m the only one!”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A very crowded room. *hehehe*

      Delete
  7. Sanity & In
    Sanity keep each other
    Company; soft joke.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Never mind, so long
    As no one notices their smile
    Sparkling through one eye.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "Heaven" is a misnomer without cats and dogs.

    Imagination always trumps dry knowledge so keep imagining, telling stories, and smiling like Wednesday! ❤

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Can you imagine the boredom? Besides, we all know cats go wherever they please. ;-)

      And yes, yes, yes, on your last. ♥

      Delete
  10. “I also believe in the healing powers of masturbation.” Hysterical!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Although anecdotal evidence has it a a fix-it for RLS, and a prophylactic against prostate trouble. Not a panacea by all means but better than lumbar puncture. Unless, you know, you're into that?

      Delete
    2. No lumbar puncturing for me!

      Delete
  11. I thoroughly enjoyed this. So delightfully written.

    ReplyDelete
  12. “I also believe in the healing powers of masturbation.” Still laughing over this one! Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm smiling, right now. Just thinking about it, lol!

      Delete
  13. "I keep Sanity tied to the foot of Imagination's bed"---haha....what a great place for her :-) This entire post is delightful, clever, creative, and so very poignant as well!

    ReplyDelete
  14. The voice and dark style of this makes for a fun read...thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So much bright hides in the darkness...

      Delete
  15. I live with mental illness, so I suppose I don't know what actual sanity-sanity feels like, but I do think that in some cases there can be too much rigidity to the personality, always having to do things by the book. I don't think I'd like that very much.
    I always liked Poe's statement about becoming insane with long, horrible periods of sanity.
    http://poetryofthenetherworld.blogspot.com/2014/11/love-in-time-of-pain.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we need to hold on to the fact that just because others aren't exactly like us, it doesn't mean that something is amiss with us. Different is good... and ours.

      And Poe is quite love in this home. Especially his views on sanity! ♥

      Delete
  16. Yes - what we really need is sometimes what we know best ourselves. Dealing with pain anxiety or anything like that start with loving ourselves...

    ReplyDelete
  17. The best thing : not to expect anyhting form anyone. Just stay afloat with the current.

    ReplyDelete
  18. the challenge of "you won’t heal by fashioning stories / or by creatively telling yourself you aren’t in pain." is well met with " I’ve taught myself to delight in taking my pain "...such an enjoyable read & much food for thought...

    ReplyDelete
  19. I loves it when you write dirty to me :D XXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why do you think I do it. *wink, wink, CWS*

      Delete
  20. I am so engaged by your words in this slightly dark piece. You always craft the best snippets of "a reality". Wherever you write, it is healing. Whenever you write, it is healing. Only you can truly know what you need. Lead on my darling girl and I will follow. How could I not? Oma Linda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dancing with dark in the dark. Totally bright.

      Delete
  21. Well, there are plenty of men around to fit the bill! I love this piece, Magaly (with not a few laugh out loud moments) and the bottom line is one we can all surely relate to: know one should tell an individual how to make sense of their own world. It is not as easy as it at first appears to master active self-love in the time of chaos.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Beautiful, honest imagery. Your words are our lives if we are to make peace with our pains and sanity of our world. Creativity within our souls shared helps the healing we know we need. Although I would have loved a picture of his face...Blessings, Rasz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe we should write a portrait of that look. ;-D

      Delete
  23. Bravo, for being brave! It is a constant theme in life and we all struggle!
    Well Done

    ReplyDelete
  24. Writing is healing. I have hung so close to madness at times that without writing I would have dropped over the edge. I love your story. I think it speaks to many of us who pick up a pen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Healing with words in it. ♥

      Delete
  25. You made me smile ;o) Big Hugs ;o)

    ReplyDelete
  26. I wrote something reminiscent of this awhile back. A depressing (and a bit gory - it's up on Foxfire Muse somewhere) sort of thing, but I haven't properly composed the follow-up yet. Possibly because I'm still in the middle of the real-life stuff that inspired the metaphor... I have a hard time translating to the other side while still within it.

    I wrote it because you inspired me to poke at it and then prod it into something more than it wanted to be. Your ability to transmute adversity and make it work for you keeps me looking for ways to follow your example. :) <3

    -your Artful White Fox.

    ReplyDelete