Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Barbarians at The Feast



Grace continues to elude me. Moments of grace, yes. But graceful living? I eat and realize I am stuffing my mouth as if it were a hole I am filling with sod. I leave my car so carelessly the seat-belt hangs disjointed and ruptured between the inside and outside. I clean dishes so aggressively they fly from my fingers and shatter against each other. I cook haphazardly and burn my arm in hot grease.

I have always been a passionate person, since my earliest memory of self, the little me who spent hours every late night, long after my parents were asleep, tiptoeing with tears in my eyes to where our white cat Sugar kept her litter of kittens, to check that she had not smothered any of them. She was deaf, and I was afraid she would roll over on one and not hear it's frantic cries. I understood fully the futile wailing of the young and invisible, the helpless. I could not remove myself from my own suffocation, but I could save those kittens, and I was determined to do so. Passion proves to be a powerful life force, moving mountains when I was sure I was too spiritually exhausted to move a foot, rekindling over and over in my marriage, like a restless bedmate. My passions have rarely formed in grace. My only moments of sustained grace have been while dancing, and strangely, while parenting my children. The absolute determination to do whatever is necessary for my children has led to periods of grace, and dancing has always left me moving through air as though my limbs were attached to the notes of music they moved to.

Grace is forced on me. I am at least aware enough to embrace it when it arrives. Ever, her fully formed foot jammed up into my right rib cage, reminds me hourly to slow down, to observe, to be aware, to be grateful. Gratitude is a high form of grace. I am so lucky, so very lucky to have this little girl growing inside me, only a short six weeks from announcing herself in our family. The turn of her foot, the smack of her hands against my pubic bone, the bulge of her back against my belly button like a great humpacked whale- these things stop me, stop my ears and eyes from their frantic programming and bring me gently into the present moment. I am about to have a baby, I remember, and then even more astonishing- there is our baby inside of me right now.... the joy of her infant self rolling in my abdomen grounds me. Joy grounding? Yes. It grounds me, it removes fear and projection and musing and immerses me entirely in the flesh and blood and heart of now.

The last few months I have been flooded with unstable situations and emotions, times which have called for quick feet, strong character, instinct, determination drive and commitment, but grace has fallen short. The quicker my feet and mind move, the clumsier my communication, my body, my expression. Remember when I told you my mother had admonished me to ' look more hopeful '? Well. Her graceless child may have an unpleasant expression but she never, ever left her family wondering where her heart and her every effort lay. I may break plates and wrinkle my freckled face, I certainly say the wrong thing and yes, fling myself across my bed crying like a maudlin teen, but I think a hidden beauty of love is that sometimes, inside it's most graceless gestures, like Matryoshka dolls, is the most graceful heart.
rachel... said...

I remember those forceful kicks and turns in the last month or two of pregnancy. Strong enough to hurt, but I loved every single second. I loved knowing that I was just a thin layer of skin and fluid away from my baby's foot, or butt, or face. I loved the anticipation. SO excited for you.

Annie said...

Dear Maggie,
This is a beautiful post. I have always thought you have a graceful heart, and I see grace in everything you do; and if your grace is ever hiding, there is always determination shining through any doubt. Throw those dishes, and fling that seatbelt- it's all a part of your own dance. Caring for those kittens- that is grace. In my view, your passion is grace. Graceful- that's a whole other thing, and less important. Joy is definitely grounding, and wonderful to feel, immersing us in the now. Thank you for sharing that observation.

Maggie May said...

Annie you brought tears to my eyes. What a completely wonderful thing to say to me. Thank you so much. xoxo

Rachel that is exactly how I feel :) Thank you for the supportive excitement!

michelle said...

this is amazingly beautiful. your story about the kittens blows me away because I know how you felt. It was the same for me.

you are a lovely being, Maggie May

xoxoxo

Sarcastic Bastard said...

This is almost unbearably beautiful, Maggie. I love you for worrying about the kittens, by the way.

Thinking of you,

SB

Kristin Hjellegjerde said...

Beautiful post! Wishing you so much luck! From one passionate woman to another.. becoming a follower:)

Ms. Moon said...

And besides that- you are IN grace, whether you can always feel it or not. I believe that, Maggie May. You are in a state of grace.

Annje said...

I am with Ms.Moon. Maybe your definition of grace is too strict and punishing. I think working through all you have had to struggle with and still have the dignity, compassion, and determination (and a hundred other characteristics) IS the essence of grace.

Allison the Meep said...

I swear, every post you write makes me like you even more.

the real mia said...

This is fantastic. It totally reminds me of my friends, Jeremy Kirsch's, work. You might appreciate his Freekmagnet stuff from here: http://jeremykirsch.com/sites/freekmagnet/

Mechelle said...

You are such a wonderful writer. I love to read your posts. So real, raw and right. You should write novels. You have a gift. Keep doing it. I also remember those days of the babies inside of me, and being excited to see them, yet wanting to keep them inside of me all to myself. Enjoy.

Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress said...

Thanks for writing this. I often feel graceless... graceless in a sea of effortlessly graceful people.

I'm still new to your blog and I feel a little silly in saying this since I haven't "been with you" for too long, but I'm so excited for you! New babies always seem to bring a renewed sense of joy to their surroundings.

Phoenix said...

Grace is hardest for the passionate among us because the highest form of grace is getting ourselves out of the way. This is a hard thing for passionate people (like you and me) to do. Passionate people feel like they own their passion and then our selves, our personality, is attached to what we are passionate about.

The only thing I have ever learned about grace is that when I tap into something bigger than me, a passion that is all movement without any of the ego - then things start to flow, and I'm in the zone, and I am fucking POWERFUL.

But I don't let it happen that often. Restraining my ego is a muscle that I'm working on exercising more and more. :)

Angella Lister said...

you say it so perfectly.

you are pure grace. you are.

Mwa said...

Thank you for this. I like the thought of forgiving myself for the ungraceful times, when they arise out of love. I will remember this.

Millie said...

Hey MM - you can only do what you can only do! Go easy on yourself, do I detect a little of the old 'trying to be all things to all people' here? Grace has eluded me my whole life too, I'm far too impatient to sit long enough for it to find me. Yet despite the absence of grace, life is really quite wonderful. You are an amazing gal, don't you forget that!
Millie ^_^

Bethany said...

this gave me goosebumps.
yes, graceful heart indeed.

i loved your describing the dishes and seatbelts, me too! i am always hurried and messy and graceless.

love your kitten story too. you are such a sweetheart.

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