I am

This post was inspired by this. Thanks Angela.

lake yoga

My mind is often a crazy thing. It takes me down some dark and convoluted turns that lead to wondrous places. It broods over calamities for so much longer than is healthy. It gets stuck, fixated on how other people feel about things because, for some reason, this is what my brain really wants to know. I don’t just want to analyse another person’s feelings, I want to feel them. Often times this is what drives my writing. But it’s also what leads to the problems in my writing. This outpouring of empathy, of feeling, can swamp the story; it wallows in it, weighed down, waterlogged.

I have no doubt, though, of how much it helps me in my job as a weight loss consultant. I know how my clients are feeling in their struggle to be free of the fat suit that weighs them down in every conceivable way. I validate but don’t excuse the behaviour that got them there. I listen and I advise and I allow them to remember what they truly deserve, because ultimately, that’s where they’re going wrong.

And then, at the end of the day, I’m tired. My brain hurts. I’m tired from feeling all these feelings that don’t belong to me. I get out my notebook and I mine these feelings, these women, these events, this current I feel under my feet, for stories. I mine. I muse. I write. And then I lie on the floor with a rolled up towel under my spine, tourmalines at my feet. I close my eyes and I focus on my breath. This is the only time of the day that I truly come home. To myself. And out of myself so that I can connect to the space around me; the bits of me that aren’t me, which go such a long way to defining who I actually am. I am part of everything, but I really only come to know that when I shut everything out. I am a sponge and I am a preacher. I am a scribe and I am a witness. I am tired and I am stimulated. In this world I am 36 years of memories and stories. Out of it my story is eternal.

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18 Comments

Filed under Art, Fiction, Flash fiction, Health, Inspirational, Love, Reading, Spiritual, Weight Loss, Women/Feminist, Writing

18 responses to “I am

  1. Wow, Angela’s post was eerily familiar… although I’m concerned that I’m 12 years her senior and still have little more than that whirring mind and empty wallet to my name! Oh, that’s not true, I jest, but not by a whole lot.

    Your job sounds exhausting, Simonne. Excellent fiction fodder, I imagine, but exhausting. I couldn’t do a job like yours for that very reason: an inability to create boundaries between their experience and my own. I’d want to know. That’s my problem too – I always want to know. It’s extremely hazardous, I think! Hey, please email me that short story – and let’s chat on email about a swap.

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    • I too am 12 years Angela’s senior, Di and also share those concerns 😉
      It’s a bizarre job I have. I love it, I always have loved talking to women about nutrition and self esteem etc, but yes, it can be hard to let it go at the end of the day sometimes.
      I’ll send you that story, and yes, would love to swap. Talk to you soon 🙂

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  2. There is no real boundary between the self and the world, just an undulating flux and flow which you have captured so precisely here in your beautifully balanced prose. What’s a tourmaline? It sounds like a very yummy pastry.

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    • Thank you Paul.
      A tourmaline is not a pastry, although lying with a pastry at my feet is an interesting idea, I’ll give you that! It’s a black crystal – a very grounding one 🙂

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  3. “There is no real boundary between the self and the world, just an undulating flux and flow…” How perfectly that encapsulates it, Paul!

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  4. ‘This outpouring of empathy, of feeling, can swamp the story; it wallows in it, weighed down, waterlogged.’ I have the same problem with my writing – it’s so hard to step back. And it’s hard for me to ‘let go’ of feeling, too. I don’t let things ‘pass through’ so much as store them up, hold them in, and get overwhelmed. Sounds like you are similar there. x

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    • And you know I think it’s a good thing – that we do/have this – it’s just a matter of learning and practising to use it in a subtle way in our writing x

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  5. sandybarker

    Living vicariously, as often writers do, means that we can experience much more of the world from the safety of our selves.

    We know our own distresses and triumphs acutely; it is a gift and a curse at once to also know those of others so intimately.

    I had to say to my partner once, “Don’t mind me when I am indulging the tortured artist inside me.
    I need that indulgence to create.”

    Doesn’t mean I hate that I can’t turn it off sometimes. Am with you.

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  6. I’m not a writer, but I can completely understand. I’ve never been able to really detach…I stopped watching the news ages ago, it’s too painful (and I’ve found it even harder since having children). I see what’s happening in other places in the world and in my mind’s eye, I’M right there. My husband tells me I think too much, and maybe he’s right. Maybe I need to write, something, anything…a journal perhaps, just to exorcise it all. It is exhausting sometimes, when you feel you’re carrying a little bit of everyone else’s pain, as well as your own.

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    • This thinking too much can be very difficult, can’t it?! I know what you mean about watching the news etc, but, honestly, I think it’s better to be involved with it all. Much of what we create in our art ends up with a political undertone.
      Also, somehow I think we owe it to the people who have no voice and no access to information to know about their lives, to use what we have for knowledge and growth and empathy.
      My uncle is a federal environmentalist and he asked people (via email) to watch a god-awful video of animals being skinned alive, which I know would have near killed him to see. But he said it was important to really know what we’re trying to fight, to be properly informed, to know a ruse from the real, heart-achingly dreadful truth. It is exhausting, but it’s necessary, I think.

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      • Dawn

        This sentence
        ‘Also, somehow I think we owe it to the people who have no voice and no access to information to know about their lives, to use what we have for knowledge and growth and empathy.’
        shows who you are Simonne and why you will become a writer on the world stage. It’s only through empathy, determination, compassion and grit that things change. Change is so hard but it will and does come about by people like you who just keep on doing what you do best. When it gets too hard remember those who love you and will always support you.

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  7. Hi Simonne,
    I think most writers have this ailment – and it is ever so exhausting. Yet, what’s the alternative? To live on the outside looking in? I don’t think so. Or maybe it’s the intense empathy that writers seem to possess that drives them to write in the first place?

    You have heart, my dear, never lose that.

    Annie

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  8. I just spent a week traveling with my sister. We are so different, she unsentimental and unapologetically matter-of-fact, me ultra-sensitive to those around me. This post made me think of that dichotomy that is the two of us (my sister and me), and that you, too, are a sensitive soul. Maybe it’s the writer in you (in me) that causes one to want to understand more than what it on the surface.

    Your job sounds rewarding. Coaching others to find a better way, have a better life. And yet, draining. But aren’t many of the best things in life just that?

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    • My sister and I are very different too. She’s my best friend, but, like yours, she’s the logical, more matter-of-fact one, and I’m melancholy and sensitive. It’s a good combination 🙂

      And yes, I agree, many of the best things in life are hard won, and must be thought through with time for pause and reflection and a willingness for change.

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