waiting room

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“’You got the good heart. Underneath all the other stuff. Good heart is eighty-five percent of everything in life.’” –Telegraph Avenue, Michael Chabon

But… what about the other 15 percent? A mess? Evil? An eternal waiting room.

Cold never bothers me, but the snow. My god, the snow. Watching each morning dawn earlier, light filtering in before 6 in the morning, I want to squeal with delight. Even if it’s -20C. It’s bright! Is anything sweeter than the combination of early, ever-lengthening light and the slow promise of warmer days? Just a matter of waiting for it to change completely.

I keep thinking of something I want to write, but the thought slips away from me before I write it down. So I wait.

I keep finding myself having to say to people, who ask me supposedly simple questions about myself, “We are people. Not elevator pitches.” Yet, every day we are asked in one way or another to reduce ourselves to 30 seconds or less. Take up less space and speak fewer words. I patiently wait my turn, only to be told to hurry it up or be interrupted; no one has time for more than 20 seconds of your face and words.

Presence is, after all, just waiting. I am just waiting.

“…’isn’t it strange that we don’t know who we are? I mean, we know so little about ourselves it’s shocking. We tell ourselves a story and we go along believing in it, and then, it turns out, it’s the wrong story, which means we’ve lived the wrong life.’” The Blazing World, Siri Hustvedt

I am waiting (waste of time) to see if I have lived the wrong life by choosing never to decide anything. Never to involve anyone else in the decisions I have made. I am waiting to declare that my prime has passed (“‘One’s prime is elusive. You little girls, when you grow up, must be on the alert to recognise your prime at whatever time of your life it may occur. You must then live it to the full’.” –The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark).

Perhaps there never was a ‘prime’ – and even if there were, I lived it within the wrong confines, the wrong story or context, afraid to embrace it and afraid even of myself. Until a cascade of waiting rooms and endless waiting became the definition of life. Was the prime of life eaten away slowly by waiting – for something to happen, for something to go away, for something or someone that could never fit into the context I was hiding myself in? Waiting, still waiting, be present. It’s only later, in some new reality, that this waiting feels as though it was tedious. The waiting, as it happens, feels full of questions, urgency, anxiety, imbuing each moment with the feeling that something is happening, – or will, any second now – good or bad. Only much later, if I make it, does the perception change.

“‘Why are things as they are? Must they be as they are? What might they be like if they were otherwise?’ To ask these questions is to admit the contingency of reality, or at least to allow that our perception of reality may be incomplete, our interpretation of it arbitrary or mistaken.” –No Time to Spare – Thinking About What Matters, Ursula K. LeGuin

Feeling – Poetry – Moments / Momentos

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Another one of those poems stumbled upon again in reaching for words that explain the malaise, the feeling of waiting for something and being perched on the edge of something that never quite arrives.

Moments – Julia de Burgos

Me, fatalist,
watching life coming and going
from my contemporaries.
Me, inside myself,
always waiting for something
that my mind can’t define.

Me, multiple,
as in a contradiction,
tied to a sentiment without edges
that binds and unbinds me
alternately,
to the world.

Me, universal,
drinking life
in each shooting star,
in each sterile scream,
in each sentiment without edges.

And all for what?
-To go on being the same.

Momentos
Yo, fatalista,
mirando la vida llegandóse y alejándose
de mis semejantes.

Yo, dentro de mí misma,
siempre en espera de algo
que no acierta mi mente.

Yo, múltiple,
como en contradicción,
atada a un sentimiento sin orillas
que me une y me desune,
alternativamente,
al mundo.

Yo, universal,
bebiéndome la vida
en cada estrella desorbitada,
en cada grito estéril,
en cada sentimiento sin orillas.

¿Y todo para qué?
-Para seguir siendo la misma.