The Conspiracy of Silence
Everything conspires to silence us,
partly with shame,
partly with unspeakable hope.
- Rainer Maria Rilke, "The Impermanence We Are," from A Year With Rilke
Hi! I'm still here! It's been a year since I've been able to write. And frankly, I'm not sure about this post, even as I sit here and click the button to send it out to you. I'm not sure if or when I might feel like writing another. For some reason, it felt right to sit down today and get this out; a part of me wanted to share with you. Another part wants to stay quiet.
The last year has been one of isolation for me. More than usual. I like staying in, being quiet, being alone. But I think what started as a choice, or possibly a coping mechanism, became sort of a trap. After such a long silence, I didn't know what to say to anyone anymore, or how to begin to say it.
I haven't really changed my social habits. I'm still in most of the time. I've not been active on Facebook or Twitter, and I haven't joined any mom's groups yet. I've been socializing in the way I learned to do as a child, in books. I've found that reading every night does so much for my mental state. It's exercise for the mind! And as I've discovered in the past, reading inspiring things inspires me to write inspired things! It's felt so good to get some things out of my head, and though I enjoy writing for the sake of itself - again, it's exercise - I know there's a part of my shy, introverted self that enjoys sharing my writing, because it's the way I feel I best communicate my self and my thoughts.
I'm working on some things to send out as submissions (I hope telling you will hold me more accountable to follow through with that), but I've kept the website up for a whole year, paying the fees and wondering if I would come back to it and want to keep up with it. I still don't know. I struggled with that initially, as I knew it would be a challenge for me to want to share my life, and many particulars about it, in a regular and public way. I didn't want taking photos to get in the way of enjoying something I cooked for lunch. Or ruin the fun of a creative project, because I FORGOT to take photos of the process from the beginning. I don't want to constantly be mining my week for blog material. It seems a little cheap, you know?
And I've struggled to know how to write about motherhood and Nettie in a way that doesn't compromise her privacy and personhood, since she can't have that discussion with me yet. I'm conflicted. But I'm not feeling so very quiet anymore.
I received a very useful birthday present last year, called A Year with Rilke*, and it helps me to take a few minutes each day to reset. So often, what I need, maybe even what I've been longing to hear, is just waiting for me to open my ears or eyes, and receive it.
That Rilke quote about silence was part of yesterday's meditation, and it nudged me to the keyboard. I recognized myself, and the shame I've felt as I've let things go and drawn inward. I've justified it by saying that being a mom to Net takes all my time. And I can allow it to take all my time. I have. But I've been denying a part of myself voice, and I think it's a part that needs a platform, however painful or difficult it is to find one.
I was surprised when I also felt a little flare of hope as I read the final line, and I recognized it as muse. I've been feeling little itches for a week now, since the turning of the year, but haven't known what I should start or how to release them. I've sat down and started half a dozen drawings and have begun knitting a cowl three times. But yesterday I knew without thinking that I needed to write, so I've come here again today, to try to start saying just a little of what I haven't found voice to speak.
January often brings these little needles of hope for me. I don't know what it is, exactly. The days are still short. It's ridiculously cold. Every day's a bad hair day. I've made all the soup in my arsenal half a dozen times. The light is unforgiving: I can see every pore and new wrinkle, and the dust floats and sifts endlessly.
But I love the color of the sky at dawn. It changes in January, and it reminds me of my old Latin professor at the university who would recite Homer's Odyssey with his eyes shut, rolling back and forth on his toes, "When Aurora's rosy fingers stretch across the sky..." That's what it's like. January skies are poetically pink, the color of a thousand beginnings and a goddess's fingertips, the color of unspeakable hope.