Thursday, March 2, 2017

To Be Cadavre Exquis

"The labyrinth doesn't tell us how to live. It shows us how we do live."— Scarlett Thomas, Our Tragic Universe

There will be a wall that winds its way toward a center. And the wall will be made of jagged pieces of seemingly impenetrable gray stone. And the mortar will be made of the chunky lies you've told yourself, and only the finest dust will lift from it when you run your fingertips along its surface. On the other side of the wall will be a layer of hedges with stiff waxy leaves concealing tangled thorny branches.

But in the center of the labyrinth is the garden, where you were born. It's been a long time, but you remember that when you were there, each morning when you woke the sunflowers and tulips and roses yawned their petals to the sun, straining for the most saturated rays.You toddled between their brilliant green stalks with no fear or hesitation, only delight. And you know this is the place to which you will always belong, and so you must find your way back.

Remember your tongue is sharper than many, so don't lash out at those whom you love. Don't attempt to bleach your freckles with lemon or douse your hair with Sun-In. Never be tempted by the low-hanging fruit. Don't have your mother buy you the same Madonna-inspired dress as Amanda Scherrer. Don't drink nothing but Slim Fasts and then do shots of tequila. Don't get your belly button pierced. Don't cultivate a bad-girl image. 

Listen. Sleep. Take every dare. Go to every funeral. At certain points, get naked more often. Buy Frieda Kahlo's painting "The Wounded Deer" and hang it above your bed to remind you that you are strong and capable. Fall in love, over and over. Eat bread and chocolate every day. When you meet Ryan, trust your instincts and never doubt that he is the one who is meant to be your partner in this life. When you achieve something, never doubt that you deserve it. Pick up the phone. Hike alone. Read more poetry. Run as fast as you can as often as you can; push your body to its limits. Write down your dreams, your subconscious whispers, before you forget them.

And know that by the time you are ready to make your return, you will have had all of your needs met. You will have given all of yourself. You will have been made a mother out of thin air. You will have survived the surreal and experienced the magical. You will be full and content. And you will find that what you feared was harrowing is exquisite in all its twists and turns, and that you were never in danger of getting lost.