I love Christmas. It brings so much of that sense of wonder that I treasure, crave, and stockpile as healing for the inevitable rough patches. But this Christmas has been a rough one, mainly because of that dreaded social nicety called entertaining. Being a good hostess is fairly impossible for me, as entertaining requires much of that grace and ease of conversation that I so openly lack. I am awkward, confusing, temperamental, stubborn, and a great lover of solitude... all the things that I am told I shouldn't be.
Twenty five continues to be a bittersweet and odd year... I seem to be teetering between states, pulling hard against the pressure to clothe myself in grownupness. With each year that passes, I begin to suspect with increasing conviction that holding on to childlikeness is the best thing one can do for one's soul.
Friends and relatives, God bless them, are far too close. There is little room for individuality and honesty where such relationships are concerned. That odd patina of familiarity prevents us from seeing each other's underlying selves. And it's incredibly sad. Being able to see my mother as a remarkable, resilient girl-woman underneath the layers of motherness and wifeness has been one of the greatest revelations of my life thus far. It has inspired many of my poems, and quite honestly, I am still getting over the shock of the nearness of it all. In many ways, we're all just grown-up children, fumbling about in our private worlds, convincing ourselves that we know some things to be true.
How strange and startling it is that we aren't able to see each other beyond the titles we've been given. I want to reshape these titles in my mind. I've started to do it through my poetry and art, I think. These two lovely ladies came into being the past week, and I think a lot of my thoughtshapes ended up in there somehow.
I am realizing that my girls, with their gazes, defiant, thoughtful, absorbed and intense, are all me. They are me, and all the women I've ever known. Each one utterly herself, each one beautiful.
Happy end of 2011 to all of you. Wishing you only beautiful, true things in the New Year.