Tuesday, September 23, 2008

If you love something, give it away

I loved you once, Atthis, long ago.
~Sappho

I have spent the past two days hanging out with my friend, Laura, with whom I find a gentle quiet. We are two souls at peace with one another. Having met five years ago, and then having lived together for probably a quarter of that time, we have our own rhythm. We parted in September 2007, both in search of love and adventure across the seas. Her journeys took her to Japan and Australia while my own presented me with glimpses of civilization in the east. All the while we lamented the absence of each other's company, yet we carried on, writing to one another across the great divide.

Now, a year later, we are reunited. I am in Los Angeles for a few more days, and she has just arrived to put down roots in Venice Beach. I love how easy this is: she sits across from me, furrowing her brow over school work, while I furrow my own over my dear Mac. We don't need words, just each other's presence. We have our wine (a delicious new discovery-- Sweet Pea which is preciously packaged in a cute bottle. It is a wine made from apples: crisp, sweet, and pale in color), music streaming from her iTunes, and a serenity in one another's company that comes from longstanding and comfortable friendship.

In our silences, we also catch up. What has transpired since we parted a year ago? What wayfarers have walked alongside of us? We talk of boys and I mention the most recent to scar my heart. Yes, Atthis, I did love you once. It was a long time ago. I have cut them off.  In my months at home I reorganized my life. I finally started to remove the clutter, both from my room and from my heart. I reread them, perhaps shed a tear, and then placed each letter in the recycling bin. Possibly it is my heart that is being recycled, used but starting its journey anew. What liberty it is to be set free!

I am reading a book entitled Smashed, by Koren Zailckas. She is a friend of a friend, a girl my own age who has written her first novel (which also happened to be a New York Times Bestseller) about her experiences growing up drunk. She discovered alcohol at a young age, and developed a love affair with it that spanned through her college years.

When I read, I like to highlight passages that catch my interest or speak to me in some way. I dog ear the pages, and later transcribe them if I am so motivated. This book has been short on those memorable passages, although I do think she speaks to our generation and more specifically of what it means to grow up girl. One thing she writes which caught my eye, is (on being what she calls Generation Safe Sex), "We've been taught to BYOC (bring your own condom) as we BYOB (bring your own beer). We fear HIV before the unplanned or nonconsensual sex through which it's contracted, which is like not listing injured troops among casualties: The number of battle deaths is tragic, but it's only part of the carnage." Koren herself is a victim of this mentality, not contracting HIV, but amassing the emotional wounds which comes from waking up next to men who are not her beloved. It's an observation that stops me and makes me think. It makes me wonder how much my mentality is a product of today's society, and moreover, I think tenderly of a fourteen year old niece who is entering a world that believes the former.

I never was very good at wrapping things up in English class. I do not tie things up, nor are they wrapped in a little bow. What do all these things have to do with one another? I'm not quite sure except to say that it involves my heart. I'm feeling good these days, unencumbered, moving forward. I have friends, am making strides in my personal growth, and am loved by the God of the universe. All in all, it feels pretty good.

3 comments:

Sierra Sullivan said...

Elise, you are such an incredible writer! You choose your words so eloquently and are quite an inspiration to me. I absolutely love reading your blog entries.

elventryst said...

Thanks Sierra! Thank you so much for the encouraging words-- they mean a lot to me!

erin fazz said...

loved this passage in your blog. very moving, and yes, very much from your heart.