The Dismemberment Journals: Part IV
Tonight I am prostrate to the Beautiful Death. For two years I have been apprenticing to Her, in the form of a sculpture of a Catrina of Frida Kahlo. The Earthquake Man and I found her while exploring along the borders of Arizona and Mexico, in an artists’ colony where She was rather innocuously resting. Waiting. She stood about 5’ tall, her dream totems of the black irreverent monkey and the brazen red parrot, resting on her glorious boney shoulders. She was covered with a fine layer of dust. I imagined the dust was from her impossible migration from the inner city of Guatemala, where her creator resides, to the sleepy artists’ colony where she was found by me. But honestly, the dust was probably from sitting in this gallery for way too long, being unnoticed by tourists who are looking for the thing that will buy them a piece of indigenous Mexico rather than require them to stare into the abyss of their own unclaimed life.
Honestly people, this one, this Beautiful Death, will fuck you up.
She fucked me up. In the most exactly right way. She taught me that Life is actually the harshest, most brilliant, most intense, most unapologetic, most Love-struck, most heart-breaking endeavor any of us will ever participate in. And we may, most of us in fact do, choose not to participate. But that’s not my style. Despite being a consummate introvert, I am a fucking participator. I am going to throw myself into the deep end and, goddammit I’m going in, getting thrown around in the waves of uncertainty and certainty with moments of insane choice - where I’m sure I need to collapse into a cave of self doubt but where, if I can manage to stay even one inch above water, I will see the path lying clearly before me - out of which I emerge, a woman who has been so exquisitely honed. Honed into a Warrior with a Brilliant Offering. I am capitalizing for a reason. People....I mean this. If you are reading these words then understand the path ahead of you. These deaths....these places of impossible and necessary pain....they happen for a reason. They help us clarify what we are doing here. They help us continue to choose WHY we are here. Here, in the face of such discomfort and unknown, we could become so small. We could imagine something very one dimensional in this place. And yet.... so much more wants to (needs to) happen here.
We are, each of us, Warriors of Brilliant Offering. Stand in front of your mirror tonight and ask yourself ‘What is my Brilliant Offering?!’ Insist on the outrageous discomfort that comes from asking, ‘Do I even fucking know?! Have I listened to one too many small stories of my inconsequence?!’ ‘Do I even have the capacity to imagine my necessity in this moment?’ ‘Can I allow myself to imagine that I matter, intrinsically, to The World?’
Please. Listen to me here. You are necessary. Take this seriously. If you do not know the particulars of the specific way in which you are necessary to this World then you must stop everything you are doing, STOP EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING. And learn how to listen because it is right behind you. YOU are right behind you.....
Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known. The forest breathes. Listen. It answers, I have made this place around you, If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches are the same to Wren. If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows Where you are. You must let it find you.
And I repeat:
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows Where you are. You must let it find you.
(A Native American Elder Story translated by David Wagoner)
Tonight, I am loving each of you as you read this. From the dismemberment that is my particular life at this moment, you are beautiful on your path. And we stand together.