Sometime in the last part of last year, you called me up and told me to buy a book and then to stop reading everything and read this book right now because it would change my life. And I did it. I stopped everything and bought the book and started reading the book and then wept and wept and wept because I got to the part about a woman who had lost her baby and how she didn’t fit anywhere because no one understood.
But, in a way, I understood.
Not because I had lost a child. But because I had never really found myself.
But then, I stopped reading Tiny Beautiful Things and started reading other books (please see yesterday’s post for a more comprehensive view of what I read last month).
So, I’ve been working out at the gym a whole lot more and I take my Nook with me so that I can read while I work out. And after I had finished some of the January books, I scrolled through my library and there it was, this precious nugget that you told to stop and buy and read and I sort of did and then I didn’t.
And I started reading it all over again. Fortunately, I know how to maintain my composure at the gym and chose not to cry but instead followed the lives of men and women who are attempting to make decisions or live with themselves when they feel like they can’t live with themselves and I found a place where, even briefly, I fit.
This book has made me come to reconcile myself with myself. I am neurotic, so much so that it nearly cost me my marriage and, to a degree, my sanity. I wear my insecurities around my neck, like a toxic pearl necklace, opalescent, beautiful, deadly. With each pearl, I have my oracle of who I think I should be or how I should want to be but can never achieve because I am not….fill in the blank. I have done it so many times, and I’m done.
Each insecurity, each petty jealousy, each frustration about myself or something that I can’t control is nothing more than a hard boiled Easter egg wrapped up in a ceramic shell that I’m constantly trying to juggle because I’m afraid and I’m tired of walking on egg shells. And these egg shells have destroyed my feet.
Or have they? Because my feet are incredibly calloused and tough…
Are all those tiny, beautiful flaws still there? Are they still little bacterium floating around in my gene pool? Yes, they are there, damn each and every one of them.
And yet, at the same time, maybe they are not so much bacterium so much so that they are little stars in this nebula that is me. Last month, my husband, daughter, and I went to the Virginia Science Museum to peer through telescopes and see the worlds beyond this world. I saw, as a glowing dot, Mercury. I saw a fuzzy lump that was the Comet Lovejoy (not named for Revered Lovejoy of the Simpsons…I checked). I saw the Orion Nebula which is the birthplace of entire new stars.
If I looked at the Orion Nebula with my naked eye, though a telescope, it is a misty, astronomical womb situated just below Orion’s belt, almost at the tip of his sword. It is a hazy grey, almost nothing to look at. But, when I looked at a special screen on a different telescope, colors blossomed as the telescope’s computer picked up different elements and assigned each a part of the spectrum. Suddenly, this almost insignificant cloud of space-sex was a brilliant, nuanced cavity of life.
Life was being born before my eyes, and I was a part of it, even if by bearing witness to this, I was a part of the great cycle of life.
For years, I have castigated myself for my flaws, loathed all the mistakes I have made and apologized profusely for minor harms and insignificant pains. For years, I have held my head down and ducked behind shadows because they were easier for me than the brilliance of light which might show all my dirty scars and broken stretch marks.
I’m not saying that I’m about to change. The spotlight is an incredibly frightening place and I’m much happier in my “blue chair.”
But I know that I’m not quite so alone, so out of place..so out of fit.
Maybe I’m not too disjointed after all.
So thank you, Bethany. For having the courage to call me and tell me to stop everything and buy this book and read it like I have never read anything in my life. I regret that this book is not infinite. I regret that this book has an ending.
But I know that I can always start over…
Or write my own chapter.