Wednesday, August 28, 2019

on symmetry





I became obsessed with symmetry some months ago. I would feel it more than see it, in an erotic sense or an emotional sense - everything in equal halves; I wanted to draw the straightest line down the middle of my body. I wanted to live on the center line of the Rorschach.

Nature throws a lot of symmetry. Teeth and toes as are horns and hooves. The liver really throws you off though as do the intestines and a spleen. I skirt these physical outliers and narrow my preoccupation to the metaphorical sense. Actions and reactions. Essentially Newtons third law. Maybe I'll teach a physics class at my new school.

Lusty for this new descriptive tactic, I began to silently categorize all of my experiences as functions of a sine wave. The amplitude of the crests corresponding to the troughs. A drought/a deluge. Ecstasy/Misery. Sometimes I save the water I wash salad greens in, the next week I take a bath. The pendulum swings.

It's what we didn't get as children, or in past consciousness that we so desperately crave now.

If I'm talking about symmetry, I may also be talking about karma. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I have a second cousin named Karma... as a child her name registered as notable. Even before I knew what the word meant (although can anyone know?) I knew it was very different than my name, and that she was different from me - her family different from mine. Its a reminder to me how powerful language - the act of naming, describing and labeling is. I like to pretend I could merge myself into the world of the animals around me who have no language. No math. For them relational hierarchy seems much simpler. The mystery of love reduced to nature's laws of gene distribution.

A mysterious anger visits me often. It is so strong I want to break dishes, slam things. I fantasize about being tied up and beat up in bed and then being cared for; my body oiled and wrapped in warm towels. If I allow it to fully boil then the heat dissipates and is followed by an overwhelming sadness. Does it matter where this comes from? I'm tired of intellectualizing it and trying to assign it's origin.

Symmetry or any other creative metaphor I dispatch hovers above the one terrifying thing I know to be true: in the end, I am always left alone with myself.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You write prose that are more like poetry. One of the few writers who shock and pacify me w the mystery.

Megan said...

I don't know that I can speak much to symmetry or physics, but I do know that it's possible to listen to your anger without having to assign it or understand entirely where it comes from.

When I was running my own farm business, in addition to the urgency and apparent futility of my chosen occupation, I also carried around a white hot anger in my belly, and directed at anyone who wasn't willing or able to help me carry my burden. It was exhausting and wrong and I still don't entirely understand or care to understand why I had those feelings and why they were directed at others, but I heard myself and decided that it fucking sucked to carry those feelings around, and that it only hurt ME and those who cared most about me in the end. So I sought out something different that would give me the time and space to live in joy and some amount of peace with myself and the world immediately around me. I leaned on my intuition to guide me to that path. I love how it all comes back to this.

Stripping my life down from the distractions of pursuing ideas and dreams and doing 'notable' work that bolsters my sense of identity and purpose has been difficult (duh?) Now, there is nothing between me and the pains of my existence, which frankly, are minimal when compared to some of the worst human experiences happening in the world right now. Without distraction, I feel things that I hadn't allowed myself to feel for a long time: Mostly loss, issues of self-worth and existential woe. Things everyone feels, but now there is no cushioning the blow. I have to steady myself and take it. How else am I to learn how to be in the world if I can't even figure out how to be in my own skin. In my own home. In the arms of those who love me? You don't get to skip over those things to get to a prize at the end. There is no prize. It's only you. It's only ever been you, and that's not a punishment for feeling too much. You get to decide what it is, for better or worse.

The best advice I ever got was from someone who didn't like me very much but perhaps took some pity on me. He told me after watching some of my interpersonal drama blow up in my face that I needed to learn to take care of myself, to be kind to myself. I thought that seemed a little trite and wasn't sure why he thought I wasn't being kind to myself. I was doing whatever my heart desired, how is that not self-love? He shared advice that someone had given him once when he was struggling, and it's never left me and I still think about it all the time. He said, " If you have a hard time understanding what 'be kind to yourself means, find a picture of yourself as a child. Keep it in your wallet or somewhere close to you. Look at it often. Tell that child that you will take care of her, keep her safe. Love her. That you won't allow anyone to hurt her, even if she wants to hurt herself. See how that changes the decisions you make over time."

I was really deeply moved by that, the imagery was powerful. To perceive yourself again as pure and vulnerable and deserving of love and peace and safety was a real shock to my system and I think from then on, I really tried every day to make steps towards building a life of warmth and protection and joy for myself. There are always missteps, and times when I take a notion a bit too far. But I think of little Meg and I self correct.

Sorry to make this post about myself. I peer through the limited lens of my own life to try to understand other people. It's flawed, but it's what I have to work with. I just thought I'd share, because I thought I caught a glimpse of a feeling that I know and thought that maybe we could help each other. I can't tell you how to live, but maybe I can show you how to be a little more gentle with yourself.