And Darkness

February 6, 2013 § 2 Comments


I decided the other day I would only write about upbeat things. And then yesterday, after too-vivid dreams, I woke up feeling worse than I have in months. Same old same old—pain that goes back to childhood but psychotically powered by not-so-recent events, the endless mountain of grief and over-sensitivity, rejection, abandonment, shame.

I can’t write about it because I’m overwhelmed with the voices of those close to me who have told me how ugly, scary and unwelcome these feelings are. I can’t make them pretty. I don’t want to. I’m too angry. But I refuse to give up.

Suicidal ideation (I love that bit of jargon; it’s like a piece of poison Easter candy) has lost its charm. Imagine that. I’ll fucking live in torture if I have to.

But enough of that. Fitzroy is on his back and looking like the sexy cat-god he is; Charles is out hearing music (I can’t leave the apartment), and I’m here in my messy, well-lighted place. I have books and more. I made jewelry today. I made dinner. I have to keep swimming for that shore, the one where creation and helping others is my goal & heart, and the rest is somehow not allowed to kill me. Because I’ll be dead anyway, so why not suffer and let it be enough?

I remember reading a book by Aldous Huxley in my 20’s—I can’t remember the name but it was about a saint being tortured. The torturer (Spanish Inqusition) demanded the prisoner renounce his religion or his leg bones would be splintered. I was wondering how one could possibly hold on to something as abstract as God under conditions of such agony when I suddenly understood that in extremis whatever you have—in his case, faith—has to be clung to because otherwise the personality will disintegrate. It’s taken me this long to get to the point where I feel like my life is nearly empty in regard to selfish pleasures. I don’t mean I’m in an objectively horrible position—far from it— but for me, at this moment, there’s nothing: no desire, no indulgence that works anymore. No escape.

An hour ago, 2 hours ago, this morning, yesterday, I wanted to die and kill someone else (pretty much in that order) but I can’t, I won’t. I’ve always felt contempt people who give in to rage and so there’s no path there, and self-pity’s no good. I suppose this entry has its share of both, but I’m tempering it to your delicate ears, all of you whom I hate—

No, I don’t hate. I’m just so tired of being unhappy; it’s so wasteful.

But I can’t think of it like that. Who privileges happiness?

Happiness ran off like a swift fox, dived in its burrow and left the stumbling cloddish hunter on the horse making slow passage in the February woods, thin branches whipping across her face, the horizon that slate gray where the lowest sky seems to congeal over the frozen snow, the glint of sunset on that icy crest so pure and uncaring.

Oh, the New Hampshire of my youth, the cold, white winters and empty fields, long drives on slick roads, thickets of stars! Always a boy in mind. A boy I saw through a kaleidoscope, fragmented, jagged and crazy-colored; yet when I heard evidence that he saw me in the same broken-up manner, I was righteously angry and terrified of nonexistence. But the air was sweet. I had hope like an abundance of clean laundry.

Now I’m down to one shrunken sock I’ve never seen before. Okay, then.

Carrion Comfort

NOT, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist—slack they may be—these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
With darksome devouring eyes my bruisèd bones? and fan,
O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee and flee?

Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.
Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod,
Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, chéer.
Cheer whom though? the hero whose heaven-handling flung me, fóot tród
Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year
Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.

Gerard Manley Hopkins


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§ 2 Responses to And Darkness

  • Fanny Diehl says:

    I love you Margaret. I do understand your despair; I would give all that I am or have to help you. My life has been worthwhile because of you; you give me so much joy and so much that is good and wise.

    • I love you too. As you suggested, I’m trying to live for other people when I don’t feel like living for myself. I don’t like to scare you or anyone. This too shall pass. Last week, I felt fine.

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