"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Friday, February 04, 2005
im-press Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin impressus, past participle of imprimere, from in- + premere to press -- more at PRESS
1 a : to apply with pressure so as to imprint b : to produce (as a mark) by pressure c : to mark by or as if by pressure or stamping
2 a : to produce a vivid impression of b : to affect especially forcibly or deeply : INFLUENCE
3 : what our beliefs do to our children
I looked at her AOL profile a while back, and I had tears in my eyes. Little girls aren't supposed to feel that way.
It contained a love poem. The poem attempted to express emotions that she felt so very deeply, but through it all you could sense her bitterness and confusion. After all, it was a romantic poem. Written for her girlfriend. At thirteen, it's difficult to put things like that into words, especially since it's something thirteen year olds should have never had to deal with at all.
Then again, my niece has had her share of things to deal with, and few of them are pleasant.
I can't fault her parents, at least not in their love for her and her younger sister. I have always felt that both parents loved both of their children deeply.
Perhaps the trouble was that they didn't love each other enough.
There was always a selfish streak in the family, a sense of competition where there should have been cooperation. Or maybe it was a feeling of struggle when there should have been sacrifice. When the marriage began to dissolve, selfishness and pride overwhelmed both of them, and there is no quicker way to kill a marriage.
I haven't been told any details, but I can only imagine the terrible arguments that must have happened in that house. At least twice, both little girls ran away from home. I can't imagine them running from a peaceful loving house.
No, the terrors of the darkness were less than the terrors of home.
The younger daughter called my granddaughter on the phone one day. The younger daughter was, I believe, nine years old at the time. My granddaughter was 14.
The younger daughter informed her that her older thirteen year old sister was a lesbian, and had already had several lesbian lovers. And, she added, she herself was bisexual, and had been having sex with both boys and girls.
My granddaughter determined not to speak to her again. Ever.
The older daughter, to me, seemed like she was hurting terribly inside. I think she remembers a time when life wasn't like this. I think she can't figure out a way to find that place again. I think she knows it's not along the road her father is traveling, and her mother has already left.
So she has pursued a radical lifestyle, a rebellious stance, and sought comfort and belonging in a small ostracized group. The last time I saw her, she was wearing spiked jewelry, had an almost shaved head, and wouldn't introduce me to her girlfriend who was in her room. She apologized, and said that her girlfriend had made her primise never to introduce her to her family. With the family that was there, I could understand.
The younger daughter, well, it felt to me that she had such incredible bitterness in her. She is jealous of the attention her older sister gets. She is jealous of the attention her father demands. She is jealous of the attention her mother demands. She wants so badly to be in the center, to say "Look at me."
But she has filled herself so with the bitterness, I am not sure she will ever see the light again.
They are both drowning, drowning, and I want to help save them so badly, but there really is nothing I can do. They live hundreds of miles away, and our families are not close, so there is no lifeline to throw.
We like to see stories like this have a happy ending. Even on the Lifetime channel they will. But in real life, in real life, things usually don't work out that way.
I wish I knew how to reach over the miles and years, to a girl who is now fifteen and torn inside, to let her know that yes, she is loved. But I have no clue how. I wish I could let a girl who is now twelve know that she would be loved even if she is not extreme, and shock isn't really a part of it. But there is a wall, and I can't get over it.
The fifteen year old is using a broken heart as her icon on AOL.
The poem on her profile ends with "I still love her."
Well, you know, so do I.
So do I.
Talking perceptions, people. Do we really see each other for what we really are, or do we just see what we want to see, the image distorted by our own personal lenses? I lost someone today and the funny thing is, I don't even know who she was.
--Jeff Melvoin, Northern Exposure, Lovers and Madmen, 1994