That room

There’s a place in my life, which gives my stomach a little twist of anxiety when I think of it; a definite mental tug, trying to suck me back in. I need a sharp intake of breath and a deliberate effort to focus – to shake the mental dust from my metaphorical heels, and stay away. A place which has become slightly legendary, a little bit mythical, and probably a lot out of proportion within the context of the rest of everything.

…and yet.

If I imagine it, it’s as a closed door in my home. A room, deliberately left alone. A shrine unseen and left until I can bear to open the door, let some air in, and move things around; reinstate some purpose.

I can stand in front of it, fingers resting on the well-worn handle, forehead against the wood, the grain an inch in front of my eyes too close to see, even if my eyes weren’t closed as my breathing struggles to stay calm against the insistent thudding of my heart. I can teeter for long minutes, muscles clenching, nerves afire, wondering whether or not I will have the courage to go in. Some days I get as far as turning the handle and feeling its distinctive click. Some days I will stay there, deflated and afraid, trying myself several times, testing my mettle and finding it wanting again and again and again.

Sometimes I will ignore it for months on end, barely registering its presence.

On the occasions I make it through the door, the room is unassuming.

Knowing this, I take a steadying breath and all at once, go in.

The air is cool, flat, stale – unbreathed for so long it has forgotten how to nourish properly. The walls, once a glorious riot of colour and shape, now seem to have withdrawn into pale, unremarkable surfaces, reflecting the nothingness. Drawn curtains let through a chink of light in which dust motes swirl like galaxies, speeding into a frenzied chaos as I trail a finger experimentally through their orbits. A single table stands sentinel with an old chair tucked neatly under it. The hub of the room lies silently on that table; still, cold, brooding. Even powerless it emits an aura I still know to respect.

I run a finger across it, knowing it will only wake to my command, and even though I have gotten this far, have breached the doorway and entered the room, I know there’s no real danger of that.

The problem was the window, which I think got installed somewhere along the merry way of Before. Even with the curtains, I couldn’t deny its presence. Even with them closed, I couldn’t unsee, and having seen, could not continue.

I decide to peek, to see if anything has changed.

The fabric of the curtains feels warm and soft in my fingers as I lift sideways, widening the chink into a gap big enough to see through. Blinking my eyes against the light, the world outside comes into focus, and seeing it, I wonder if things are worse than ever:

Hurricane destruction; child abduction; earthquake devastation; divided nations; kids self-harming; factory farming; sea temps higher; 45’s a liar; people getting sick, getting high, getting killed; another oil slick; creatures die; landfill; media gone mad; quick! follow this fad; white supremacy; what’s the remedy; hashtag this, hashtag that; whole world in your lap; stick it in your pocket; tweet this; forgot it; try to keep up, catch up, get up; gotta wise up, get fucked, unstuck…

But things are never worse than ever. Probably. Because history works in cycles, and the world has been through these things before…though perhaps not so much has been known by each individual. They say ignorance is bliss, and truly these days I think half the problem is knowledge, because howΒ can life just go on as normal, knowing that there’s genocide in Myanmar, utter destruction in Puerto Rico, homelessness crises everywhere in the West, despots going off the deep end in the East, an ever-present threat of war and famine in Africa, gay men being slaughtered into non-existence in Chechnya…not to mention global warming, the oceans filling with trash, and the rising concerns about our data being gathered, collated, used nefariously to help social-engineer us into some advertiser’s ideal of a consumer society – it just isn’t possible. LifeΒ cannot go on as normal, and yet it must go on – outside that window, and within.

I could spend hours transfixed with horror. I could spend hours with my back turned, plugged into my hub, pretending it wasn’t out there. Time was, I could almost do both in the same day, but no longer.

Palms to the glass and tears in my eyes, I can’t work out whether the space inside me has shrunk, with the stuff on the outside crowding in…or whether the my inner space has grown and enveloped the stuff on the outside and now it’s all in the same place, but *something* has fundamentally changed. My life was thrown up in the air to see which bits snapped off on the way down, and I find myself reconfigured. A little restructured, definitely repurposed, and hoping not to recycle the rhetoric of old, which suggests that life is life is life, and even though it happens as it will, a lot of it is what we make it.

At my core, I am the same: a deep thinker; a believer in love; a seeker of good things and silver linings. I hope that my character is set, somehow pointed towards vague optimism, in spite of the evidence of, well *gestures vaguely at everything*.

I’m still a writer, but you’d never convict me of it.

So before I close the door to that room, and leave it be for another however long, I pause long enough to write my name in the dust. Gently, with just one fingertip.

It might be a promise, or it might just…be.

 

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68 thoughts on “That room

  1. Oh, I’ve missed your words, Lizzi. They wash over me and soothe me, even when they speak of all that is wrong in the world. Because you ARE a believer and a seeker of silver linings, and the world needs that, more than ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we all need that. Looking for the good is something I think more people need to learn, and I fear they will have plenty of opportunity to practice. It might just be growing up, but joy seems more hard won these days. I am glad you liked what I wrote though 😘😘

      Like

  2. I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed your writing until I sunk in to your words again. I love the natural way you weave beautiful sentences together. I hope to see more. Whenever you’re ready. I missed your words but not as much as I’ve missed YOU.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you want in on a secret…as of today I have more! I am astonished! I will post soon. And thank you for saying such lovely things! I am so glad you like what I write…more glad you like me…EVEN MORE GLAD I get to see you SOON πŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’›

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  3. YESSSS….. Oh, how I’ve missed your words, your heart in this space- in THE BIG SPACE.

    Oh Lizzi, this is utterly breathtaking, heartbreaking, profound, and beautiful.

    THIS is the most gorgeous take on it all, that room, our vision, our hope, our tragic reality, humanity.

    Please PLEASE keep writing, love. Your voice is POWERFUL. You ARE a writer- always have been, always will be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Kitty. I have had no words at all for the longest time, or just a few scant poems, and I have so missed even WANTING to write…and then to write in the face of all that’s going on in this world seems somehow callous or distracting…I dunno. I think I am returning. I hope I am. SO glad you liked it 😍😍😍❀❀❀

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  4. Swoon! Your words, oh your words. I relate to the world of being a sensitive, and I’ve had to teach my very sensitive son that news is about readership and viewership, and when we are frightened, we react. It’s that simple. Fear and discomfort moves us into action before the reasoning part of our brains kick in. I’d leave the curtain drawn and the door closed as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is it – as much as there are genuinely horrific human crises occurring all over the place, a LOT gets sensationalised by a profiteering agenda and we the consumers are just left in an utter muddle, struggling to mentally juggle all the information and categorise it. It’s difficult to know how best to respond in so many circumstances. I think you’re doing a really good thing by teaching your son to understand this from the offset.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks so much. I used to worry about how to respond to some of the big news, and then I discovered the Heart Math Institute. They have figured out that prayer, meditation and intention can actively help the world. And then I got into metaphysics and not only learned about, but actually experienced things like angels and pre-birth planning. Having a very different perspective of life really helps. A lot.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You ARE a writer, no matter what you (don’t) say. This is beautiful and heartbreaking and just all of it. I hold my forehead against that door too… I enter too often, and usually throw furniture around but sometimes, I cry, walk back out, and shut the door again. XOXo and LOVE YOU!.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are one of the people who I hold in such high regard because you keep going in, sitting down, and getting it done…even if you throw furniture around or leave on other occasions, there you are showing up nearly every week and it’s wonderful and (knowing how much I have struggled) I am a bit in awe. I am glad you like this, and me, and LOVE YOU right back πŸ˜˜πŸ˜˜πŸ’“

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  6. Why do you insist on SLAYING me with your words?? You amazingly talented, deep feeling, deep thinking, (she said deep), complicated, complex, BEEEYOOOTIFUL human being. This was gorgeous(ly painful). I know that room. I’m in it more than I should be lately, I think. Maybe. Or maybe I should visit it more. I don’t even know anymore. I turn inside out with anguish every time I’m reminded of the things in that room. Every day.
    Thank you for writing. I needed to read your words again. Your beautiful, magical words. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • No ‘should’, my lovely BW. As soon as we let it bully us it becomes a chore rather than a delight and I think that rather contributes to the fear of ever opening the door and stepping in. I am so glad you liked this, though, and I love that you get it. Also HA! TWSS!!!
      Also…this WORLD *sigh*
      πŸ’šπŸ’™

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  7. I normally keep the blinds closed on that window, but sometimes they open all by themselves. I rush to them and close them once more, horrified by what I see. And hear. I would cover the window with bricks, but every once in a while I look out and see something beautiful like this post and I think maybe, just maybe, we might one day have a world worth seeing again. But today is not that day.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on The Heart of Sassy Lassie and commented:
    My dear and lovely and most talented, amazing, brilliant Lizzi has touched my heart so, once again, with her magical and wisdomly (yes, I invented a word) words. She leaves me breathless, in want of more, and in a state of wonder. I love you so, Lizzi. This is nothing short of magnificent. Wow. Just fucking wow. I wish I was a writer so I could put into words how beautiful you are.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Stunningly beautiful writing, Lizzi. I am so GLAD I did not miss this post. Please visit That Room again soon. Leave the curtains closed and write from the inside out. We need no other vistas when the ones you pen are so vivid.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. *well, you know lol ’cause it’s what we do… good to read new words from your reality. If I can clever-up, I’ll stop back.

    “But things are never worse than ever.” you realize, of course, that the number of people who can get as much from those six words as you do is vanishingly small. I admire your ability and your essential strength (even though it can be the source of pain and unpleasantness).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much. I sometimes think we clarks all live and write and work in echoes of one another, and it’s good. Fear not, for inasmuch as things are never worse than ever, there will always be people who get that. Ripples, right? I guess we’re all just questing to figure out who threw the first stone…

      Like

  11. I don’t know which is affecting me more, your post, Lizzi, or these comments on it. Yes, I too have missed your writing, and, like you, have been, not avoiding, but neglecting that room of my own (unless comments count). This is a wow and the verdict of your sisters of the word above is absolutely right on.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. i don’t know how to begin to formulate the best response to this. I’m afraid that by responding the words will stop, and that would make me sad because your words are always breathtaking/heartwrenching/spinetingling/insertyourownadjectivehere. I wish there was a ❀ button instead of simply "like" but then maybe it would begin to mean nothing more than "like" as well. And it doesn't really describe my feelings anyway.
    Still, it's good to hear your 'voice". And this is all I'm leaving because I'm afraid more might break the delicacy of your words. ❀ you Sweetness.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow. I am seriously bowled over, Pinky. These comments – you, Crystal, Samara – this feedback and the knowledge that even for a few moments I changed someone’s inner landscape – that is SO what I want, and so what I’ve missed. Wow. Thank you. And I promise, your presence and your words will not make ANYTHING less sweet, Pinky πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ˜˜

      Liked by 1 person

      • I truly wanted to write something to match the beauty of your words but I couldn’t. I am still trying to figure out what I could say. It’s like when you get that one gift that leaves you speechless and “thank you” seems too small to convey the emotions.

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  13. This is so beautiful I was holding my breath as I read it.
    I didn’t realize it until the end, when I just exhaled.

    Oh, it’s so fucking GOOD to read your words. You’re a writer, conviction or no.
    I remember wanting desperately to write like you when I first read you. But no one writes like you.

    I want to read it a few more times before I comment further. But I had to comment now, because I exhaled so palpably- I suppose I needed you to know that you still affect your readers that way. That hasn’t changed.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Samara, isn’t it ironic that we wish we could write like someone else and then find out that maybe that someone else wishes they could write like us? Half the time I wish I could write like Lizzie and the other half I wish I could write like you. But I can’t. I write like me and that has to be good enough. And so you know, many is the time I’ve snorted a drink up and out my nose because of your writing. So, there’s that. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 2 people

    • That is such a massive, massive compliment, Precious. Thank you so much. I wondered if I had stagnated and atrophied for lack of writing, but it sounds like I still got whatever spark it is πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ
      *grins* You really held your breath? *glee*

      Liked by 1 person

      • I posted a reply yesterday! Or thought I did…

        Anyway, yes. I really held my breath. Really, truly.

        I saw in my emails that you posted, and I devoured this! In my haste, I forgot to say, FRIST! But I believe I was…

        I’m so grateful that our friends are saying such nice things about me here, but let’s keep the focus on you.

        I’m ridiculously happy you wrote again. It’s purely selfish but please never stop.
        This kind of written work I why I write.

        I’m on my phone posting this comment. If it gets eaten again, I may throw my phone across the room.

        Liked by 1 person

        • IT DIDN’T GET EATEEENNNN! And you TOTALLY got FRIST, which I was also too excited to consider…and STILL WOW. I am so just incredibly amazed by the generous things you and others have said about my writing and it defintely makes me want to start doing it again more consistently. THIS I have missed. This interaction and building each other up. THAT πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

          Liked by 1 person

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