A Gift from Alice Walker

January 28, 2015

 

I’m reading “The World Has Changed: Conversations with Alice Walker” and she is gripping me—or rather, I am gripping her, like a lifeline of some sort.  There’s something I want or need that she has lived, is still living, has written, may still write…..I did not have her writer’s life, and yet I know that writing this journal is the most alive I have allowed myself to be.  It is the way in which I allow myself to discover, to uncover…and even at that, it is a small window because more appears than I write.

 

I’m suddenly remembering that as a child (age 8? 10?) I wanted a typewriter.  My father said no, my handwriting was not yet fully formed, and wouldn’t, if I learned to type.  He said it was most important for a woman to have beautiful handwriting…..Thinking of that now, I am nearly shaking with rage—at the stupidity, the blindness, the incredible superficiality of his vision for me.  And how little it had to do with me, and how much it had to do with him.  What, I wonder, might I have written?  And what if someone had been interested in that…in what I might have wanted to say?

 

I don’t remember that there was any “what”—any sense of pressure to express—so that isn’t what was lost, if anything was lost.  I must have chosen that environment, those parents with their blindness for a reason, so thinking that my life was wasted is a mistake.  After all, 20 years later I did learn to type (first Saturn return).  So what about now?

 

Now I see that I’ve had a habit of being influenced, of allowing myself to be influenced by men whose vision was much smaller than mine, and abandoning myself to that constriction….thinking it would provide safety and love.  Not noticing that what it did provide was insecurity and self-hatred, as I tried to squeeze myself into “being acceptable.”  Oppression indeed—so familiar I married it, lived in it painfully for 18 years….but at least I took my freedom when it appeared.  Bless me Father for I have sinned—missed the mark—but I am not sinning now!

 

Now I’m able to feel the joy of liberation, of having the space I have (physically and metaphorically)—and recognizing that I have chosen this, in all its glory….This enchanted cottage…the intention to make use of the life I have now…to not bedevil Alan in any way (SO not his fault that I used him for such a purpose, but he was perfect for it)…to keep exploring… to find a way to connect to life, to share what I’m learning…to let go of what I hold too small.

 

Let me not fall into my father’s pattern, where what matters is how it looks, not how it be….Let me not live life on the surface…Let me dive deep, to my own real depth.  And if there is no limit, no boundary, then may it be so.

 

The longing to be real….I don’t understand it, I don’t have more words for it, no way to describe it or even track it.  However, I recognize those words and their power.  Some part of me says YES, THAT’S IT!  I AM the longing to be real!  One step at a time…not yet I AM real, though inevitably that will come…

 

    I AM the longing to be real…

    So many detours into trying to look real…

    So unsatisfying, especially when won.

    See what Temple Grandin says about SEEKING…

    Read Alice Walker…library?

    Be seduced by something that gives life back.