Cheryl Strayed wrote a review of the book "Wave" by Sonali Deraniyagala. The power of Cheryl Strayed to influence decision making... after quite literally years now of avoiding all sorts of water imagery, it's pretty strange that I found myself wanting to read this book. Not only is she (Sonali, not Cheryl) a water widow, but her children and her parents were also killed. Yes. I am maybe crazy, and I probably won't actually read it. But I read the review, sat here perched on the couch crying, and also kind of laughing in that maniacal way, thinking - I can never escape water. That I did, then, that day, that I got out, is immaterial. Somehow, today, it seems - not exactly a blessing, but a relief that water will always be with me, grief, Matt, that day, the days Before, the days since.
It's a measure of growth maybe, or maybe just a simple measure of change. But what's also weird or interesting to me, and the reason I won't likely read the actual book, is that I could deal with her images of her family dying. (that's probably b.s., but this was my thought train...) But I do not want to read about her experience in that water. I do not want to see me. I do not want to see myself, to be brought back to myself in the water. Even now, I want to run away from that. I forget, sometimes, if that is odd, that I was in there too - like the lens is never, ever turned on me, not in that same way. There are things I cannot withstand yet, and might not ever. So while in a theoretical moment, I felt drawn to read the story of her entire family drowning, and what the world has been since then, there is no way I can withstand her words like mine, to hear myself back there again. It's not fear. I was not ever afraid, not like that. It is love for me. It is sheer love for me, that I do not want to turn and see the full force of my own pain, not that day, not there in that place. The places I can go do not include a view of myself there.
This is the second time within a few days that I have had a sudden view swing into place, seeing myself as someone who loves me might see. I am so accustomed to my normal grief, it's like there is a haze of normalcy around it. This view is different, more raw; new and intense: to feel the weight of what is broken, to feel so much pain, love, compassion, grief for who I see, even though who I see is me. Schizophrenic love perhaps, to be both the one in pain and the one outside of it, looking in.