When your parents are not nurturing it just feels wrong.
Like: what does that say about you? The person they were supposed to nurture?
The truth is it says nothing about you.
The first time she was abused she was four.
I’m listening to a friend speak truth in my backyard. I sit outside every single day. I watch the birds and plants and (if I’m being honest) my laundry drying. It’s such a satisfying task, hanging laundry up to dry. I watch the water drip off my clothes and think about how many millions of humans have hung clothes to dry over the centuries.
Laundry is a human experience with diachronic depth.
I listen to my friend and I want to hug them. Four. Their mother was four. She was four when people started hurting her. And then later she hurt other people, including you, my friend. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for your inheritance of pain. That is a return to store inheritance. That is a fuck-that-while-throwing-your-hands-up kind of inheritance.
If that inheritance was a ripe nectarine lying on the table I would give my cat full permission to knock that shit onto the floor.
When I was outside this morning I noticed the seasons are changing. Four. There are four seasons. I’m doing Volume Four of Truer Words because if I do then I have forty cards, yes, 40, and that is immensely meaningful to me.
Forty is enough cards for a teacher to do one card a week for the entire school year.
Actually, since a school year is roughly 36 weeks, a teacher could do one card a week and even have….four left over.
When my graphic designer/illustrator/creative midwife sent me our contract for Volume 4 she left a note in the bottom corner:
PS: In Western culture there are four seasons, four winds, four cardinal directions, four elements…In Hindu culture there are four tattavs: animal, mineral, vegetable, mind. Four is totality: plentitude, perfection.
The number of tattavs, or truths, is actually completely dependent on the particular spiritual tradition counting them. My spiritual tradition has five. My spiritual tradition that I joined four years ago today, because turns out everything is connected and meaningful and now we have Facebook memories to both remind us of that and further cloak everything. AWESOME. How is spiritual life going? It’s going fine. Yep. Just over here trying to dig a tunnel with a needle, usually while muttering four letter words.
My teacher has said that if you think about the meaningful thing you want to attain as a mango, but then you go to him and ask him for one of his mangos, he’s going to hand you a seed and a shovel and tell you to start digging. You are likely to be real confused at first, all “but where is my mango?”
We are conditioned to think we deserve things or that working to obtain them means they are in sight the whole time. That viewpoint is demonstrably false.
Seeds go into the dirt.
The task is to go get dirty seeking truth. Go put in the work. You aren’t going to get a mango today. You are going to start digging a hole today. You might still be digging four years from now, trying to make the best place for your tiny little seed to grow. You probably won’t even have a mango seedling four years later but at least you are trying.
In November I will have made some more seeds, enough for an entire school year.
I’m going to try to not be attached to if they grow. Making the drafts this time, the amount of creative energy involved, wow. I think I cried at least four times. It took so much out of me and I wondered more than once why I was even bothering at all.
But I know why I am bothering. I am bothering because this work matters especially when it is hard. This month marks four years for me as a one woman small business.
Four years of trying to plant seeds and keep them alive.
Four years of finding my own way, always with the help of generous friends.
Four years of contemplating my own inheritance of pain, of seeing schools do to my kids what they did to me, and trying desperately to process that pain with them before they too have to pass it on.
Four years of digging.
All I can do is continue to dig. And pray. And then dig some more.