Tuesday, January 9, 2007

resist voluntary squalor

"Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
and death shall have no dominion."

~ Dylan Thomas, And Death Shall Have No Dominion

Though I move among all of you, chatting with you, serving you, sipping coffee, and doing the normal day’s commerce, my open gashes are invisible to all. It is a tangible perplexity I have known before, in rare instances, that I pursue a normalcy albeit in the form of some eviscerated animal. Indeed, this is self-perceived, otherwise the responses in employment, cafés, post offices, and shops would be entirely different than the usual cordialities. Nonetheless, emotional wounds can cause a sense so pervasive as to debilitate. Or, at least to feel as if this is really so.

Surely, I have enough presence of mind to draw contrasts between the actual and the unreal. That is among the fringe benefits of gainful employment. No matter how I am feeling, I know what is required of me, and how to make the best connections between what is needed and what to provide. It is an undersold skill, and I’ve seen myself capable of such acute performance in the midst of harrowing grief and desolation. And yet, even now- as then- I count it a blessing that I have refused to opt for the cowardice of frivolous amnesia and willful squalor. Rather than slink away, I am engaging the battle to decimate the cumulative pain-body. Non-dealing is no way to deal. Even with the rawness exposed, I could never imagine squalor to be an option. Hardship indicates that sights must be set higher, not lower. Even the depths of crepuscular valleys can reveal gratitudes. One such unwitting blessing is the flat refusal to embrace insensitivity. Feeling wretched may run its temporal course, but it certainly does not imply a choice in favor of wretchedness.

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