In the silence of consciousness I asked myself:
why did I reject my life? And I answer
Die Erde überwältigt mich:
the earth defeats me.
I have tried to be accurate in this description
in case someone else should follow me. I can verify
that when the sun sets in winter it is
incomparably beautiful and the memory of it
lasts a long time. I think this means
there was no night.
The night was in my head.
Louise Glück | from “Landscape”
I want to lay to rest what I saw and felt when I went home almost a month ago. A home that was a desperate sanctuary during those teenage years of economic struggle, maternal abandonment, and good old fashioned repressions of thought, body, and spirit. I feel compelled to honor those sharp memories of family, community, and those intimate transgressions between loyalty and independence.
I’m old enough to know better that I should not force this process of internalization and still I desperately want to name these experiences. I don’t know how to own them.
The endless landscape connected by bridges and resistance shaped my core sense of self. I returned with an embodied joy in knowing conscious disobedience yields revolutionary results. I may have adorned myself with fancy theory and identities that I have fought to name in my own words but the class I was born into, that binding agent of perspective, is unescapable.
For now, I distilled these details:
- my grandpa did buy a car with only silver dollars (two cars in fact!)
- my value was defined by others who did not exist (husband and child)
- survival is predicated on silent obedience of unquestioned rules
- broken sidewalks paved a geography of constrained despair
- if you look up and out, the clouds will guide you
- I’ve always been this way
- the consequences of choice matter and language continues to fail me