It’s 6:57 a.m.
I’m listening to Sonata 3 in C Major BWV1005 by Bach and crying over Sylvia Plath.
I’ve been on this Plath kick for almost a year now. I used to be so harsh and judgmental of her. (“Well that’s what she gets for sticking her head into an oven!”) I didn’t understand her, nor did I try to until I read Rough Magic- her biography by Paul Alexander. Sylvia and I share several things in common. We’re both writers (dare I make such a claim?), perfectionistic overachievers, we both lost our children, we both went mad, and we were both locked away in an institution many years ago- having suffered breakdowns halfway through our college majors (and before)- and then immediately dusted ourselves off and jumped right back into the academic ring- no small feat.
I have a new respect for her, and until I began comparing notes, I had no idea how similar our lives were/are. I think she’s one of the most courageous women I’ve ever known. It’s not easy to have a colossal breakdown (pardon the pun) then pick yourself up again and carry on in the faces of all of the inquisitive eyes and naysayers…dream shatterers…
I’ve been reading her recently published (very private) journals, all night in fact. What a privilege to be able to wile away the hours reading her personal diary! I clearly have a fascination with her, but not only that- her poetry is by far, my favourite of anyone’s- Anne Sexton weighing in at close second. For me, nobody can touch these immensely talented and troubled women, who were both personal friends of each other (In fact, they shared a poetry workshop class and Plath admired Sexton greatly) who took their own lives at their own hands.
I read this in Sylvia’s journal earlier, and this is what made me cry:
Remember about the shadow of past knowledge. Write about your own experience. By that experience someone else may be a bit richer some day. Read widely of others experiences in thought and action– stretch to others even though it hurts and strains and would be more comfortable to snuggle back in the comforting cotton-wool of blissful ignorance! Hurl yourself at goals above your head and bear the lacerations that come when you slip and make a fool of yourself. Try always, as long as you have breath in your body, to take the hard way, the Spartan way – and work, work, work to build yourself into a rich, continually evolving entity!
I’m listening, Sylvia. :0)
I received my audit from my University several days ago: my petition to graduate has been accepted and I’m expected to graduate this December on the 7th at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center. It’s been a long four years! I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to pull off a Behavioral Sciences major- I had to face certain doom and unspeakable tragedy (sexual abuse as a child, institutionalization, the loss of my children, insanity, years of being battered relentlessly by an unforgiving system), but it’s been worth fighting for and I had to prove to myself that I am more than a “label” that has a fancy name of this disorder or that. I will not be defined by a clinical title or even the thought of another person, for I’ve chosen to maximize what I’ve learned in school and minimize the trauma I’ve lived through.
Still, I can’t help but to be heavily influenced by the likes of Plath- she stood up in the face of terror itself and fought as long as she could. But what an incredible talent! I’m going to heed the words in her journal and I’m not going to be ashamed of my past and what I’ve lived through. It’s a miracle just to be alive.
I’ve decided that after I graduate, I’ll transfer over to Southern New Hampshire University, which is a private coed and one of the best schools in New England to work on my BA- not for Criminal Justice- but for Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry. Plath has inspired me, completely, and has reminded that I’m an artist and a writer, and have been my whole life. I have the skeleton already- which is the passion- but I need the BA in Creative Writing so I can flesh out the bones.
I’m already a starving artist, what will it matter?
Life has been a blur lately of exams, cramming, writing essays and reports: I have 5 weeks to go!
And, I have 5 A’s in all 5 classes still. Go me. :0)
Josh stands in the golden hour sunlight down at the River.
Canon Digital Rebel/Super Takumar 135/3.5 film lens
And Heidi, if you’re reading this, thank you so much for your introduction to Plath at Olive Garden years ago. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t even be doing this whole school thing. xo
Josh and I were driving back from seeing his family in Shelbyville and we saw the most beautiful double rainbow. The skies had broken out in a split panoramic light show of epic proportions: oversized rays were spilling out onto either side of the highway and we thought we were in for a storm. Midway through our return, a rainbow broke out into the sky. We talked about his mother and family and what a great time we’d had; the rainbow agreed and it duplicated itself- making us both smile as it followed us all the way home.
(Taken with 2 MP crap-cell phone.)
Life is back to its busy self; I’m lost in my studies, teetering back and forth between Criminology and Therapeutic Interventions with Substance Abusers II- but I love it. I’ve bought a new laptop and have turned it into my essay writing machine, loading it up with Microsoft Office (Pro) and a plethora of other goodies. I’ve paid close to $4,000 in bills and things in the past few days alone, which included a $900 car debt my mother couldn’t pay. I was honoured to be able to do that for her. We haven’t two pennies to rub together hardly, but everbody’s paid and I’ve managed to book one of the most sought after cabins in all of Tennessee for our little getaway, a little place called “Unforgettable”. (Yes, the cabin is actually called “Unforgettable”.) I’ll be posting pics and updates on that at the end of September. I’ll be taking my Mom and Heidi, my oldest daughter, along with Josh. The cabin, along with the cleaning fee + taxes is $441 for two nights; an unbelievable steal for a multi-level luxury cabin in the Smokies with not one but two hot tubs overlooking the mountains, one of them being outdoors on the deck.
It looks a little something like this (website pics):
Definitely one of the nicer cabins I’ve ever seen and the reviews are incredible. We can’t wait! We’re fortunate that so many people are superstitious about Friday 13th- September was booked solid for the entire month, but the 13th and 14th were open so I snagged them immediately. (13 is my favourite number so that works well for me.) We’ll probably go to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum also; this is a dream come true as I’ve been wanting to take Heidi to the Smokey mountains for over 10 years. Well, my Mom too.
I have more to write- some things not so grand- but I’m tired and will be returning to my bed to continue reading Rough Magic: A Biography of Sylvia Plath. I was far too busy to finish it a year or so ago when I checked it out at the library: I’m much more eager to do so this time, in between essays and drug and crime reports.
Josh is whistling at his computer like a deranged bird, rubbing a metal “this or that” between his lips to make a warbled sound. I can tell by his fixed gaze on his laptop game that he’s happy- his belly, fat with mesquite-grilled barbecue that we slow cooked out on the deck yesterday. There’s a pleasant buzz in the air lately. Carl is still with us and our morale has been reestablished, if not altogether fortified.
And now I’m off to bed.
It’s 2:50 a.m.
Chance is going nuts, ripping and running around the living room. I just gave him a bath.
Brian Bob is chilling in his room- Brianna- the same. I should be sleeping, or doing homework, but I’ve just downloaded Tex Murphey: Overseer. Gaming is one of my coping mechanisms, much like millions of other people. Until my heart heals, I’ll trudge along the motions of my life- school, cleaning, cooking, sleeping, etc. and slip away into my game as often as possible. I just can’t process any more raw emotion at this time. Tex Murphy is a welcome escape.
I’m torn between another pistachio and almond ice cream cone and Guinness Extra Stout. I have a 6 pack in the fridge and it whispers to me. I keep forgetting to drink one. I decide on lemon and ginger tea with honey instead. I’ve had a migraine for two days now. (Imagine that.) I can’t do this again tomorrow. After two days, my mind starts fracturing into tiny bits of livewire pain- sizzling every nerve until it’s raw and jittery. It does little good to complain other than to serve as a reminder that I’m still suffering. It too is a welcome escape from the pain in my heart.
There’s nothing one can do but ride the wave of heartache after a breakup. One of my x’s is all over me like white on rice- I’m disgusted. He thinks it might be a good time to squeeze back in. I think it’s highly disrespectful and pretty insulting to me. I know people do that- the rebound thing- but if you’re crawling away from the battlefield of one relationship, why would you hop into the trenches of another? That doesn’t make any sense to me, and it’s the furthest thing from my mind. (And heart.) I think I’ll be alone for a very long time. I’m a one man woman, and I think it’s necessary to experience the pain after a breakup. It tells me that the love I knew was real and that’s why it hurts so much. My friends don’t know what to say to comfort me, and that’s ok. There’s only so much another human being can offer in the way of companionship and support. If it weren’t for my love, relationship, and friendship with Jesus- I would absolutely crumble and die. I have no doubt. I’m not enough to keep myself going- I think of Sylvia Plath- and can understand how a broken heart could make her stick her head in an oven and forget to live. She couldn’t bear to lose her man to another woman. But Sylvia Plath said when she was just a child, “I’ll never talk to God again.” And I suppose she didn’t. So, she killed herself. I think she should have talked to God.
That’s where she and I differ. I love life, and as painful as it is to feel your heart being ripped from your chest, I do have a very close relationship with Jesus. We talk, commune, and just have a good time together. When I think about His love, and how He’s able to reach into every tiny place in my heart- I can’t be angry or sad for long. I smile, and know I’m loved. He washes away every awful feeling, and the bitter tears become bittersweet. They eventually become joyful, and I become like a child again, marveling at the beauty of God’s creation: I rise above the pain.
I’ve gone and talked myself right out of my misery again, and feel a half-smile creeping across my face.
Oh heart, you’re going to make it…