Sunday, 8 January 2012

the dragon's ire more fierce than fire


I heart beginnings, Hufflepuff through middles, and whimper over endings; so January always tests my loyalty. Do I mourn the old year limping away or cheer the new year with so many fresh start-overs? 2011 was the weirdest year of my whole entire life. It offered up such crushing defeats I can barely stand to glance at it in the rearview mirror. Actually, that's a really good theme for 2011: My inability to look in the mirror. 'Cause dayum, y'all, it doesn't feel so good to see your face after your worst suspicions about yourself have been confirmed. But there was a quiet hope about the thing too. I tripped into storytelling work, pedaled into sunsets, melted into love. I don't begrudge 2011 for the noggin knocks, but I'm not going to miss it either. The treasure I stumbled over is coming with me to 2012, and anyway "The Hobbit" and "The Dark Knight Rises" are on this side of the solstice.

Which sort of brings me to my point. I pulled a dusty copy of "The Hobbit" off my bookshelf just the other day and remembered why I love rereading things so much. It's fun to revisit worlds that enchanted me in my past, for sure. But also, if the book means the same thing to me as when I read it the first time, I haven't really grown. But if it tells me a different story, it means I'm really living. The first couple of times I tackled "The Hobbit" I was aching in my bones to go there and back again. "There" being anywhere, but mostly western Europe. And I did and it was wonderful and it molded me more than I can say. But this time when I read "The Hobbit" I kept clinging to the very first chapter: "This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected. He may have lost his neighbours' respect, but he gained — well, you will see whether he gained anything in the end."

2011 for me was mostly about learning to stand in the Heather Anne-shaped space in the world and halt the perpetual apologies. Part of it is my protestant upbringing, part of it is the circumstances of my childhood, part of it is my southern heritage, and part of it is just an innate inability to purposely offend. But I realized last year that I had to stop saying "I'm sorry" to everyone and everything for simply existing in my natural form. I've pretty much spent my entire life contorting myself into the most apologetic shapes imaginable, trying to be the very thing that everyone needs. Non-threatening, non-confrontational, playing down my desires, my successes, the structure of my soul.

I have a deep faith in the common thread that ties humanity together, a firm belief in our responsibility to one another. I will crave an existence that binds up broken hearted people until the day I die. But also, in 2011, I realized I have a responsibility to myself too. To fully embrace the shape I make in the world.

That's going to be my 2012. Occupying my own personal space without remorse. I may lose my neighbours' respect, but I will gain — well, we'll see whether I gain anything in the end.


eclectic said...

The Heather Anne shape in this world is truly, truly, truly one of my favorite shapes. It soothes me knowing there is one. I wish to encourage and commend you for occupying it bravely, assertively and beautifully.

Jennie said...

For whatever reason, this is now not showing up in my Greader. BUT. I remembered you were posting today so I came to check it out and I'm so glad we're posting again because this was awesome. Wheeeeeee!

linster said...


2. Beautiful post - and testament to a worthy 2011, difficult as it was. Finding room for rough edges rather than spending life trying to smooth them makes for much more freedom and happiness.


Ashley said...


You can call me, 'Sir' said...

Your neighbors' respect is overrated and you should never allow such a fickle and absurd thing to dictate anything you do, ever. Everyone should strive to be Bilbo, hairy feet and all.