I am, I am, I am

” I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart: I am, I am, I am.”

-Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

She was my brave Esther and I had her back. Even if she was dead.

It was on a Monday that I decided that I hated Ted Hughes because my muse Sylvia Plath had stuck her head in an oven and died.  He refused to share her unfinished work, which was a very mean thing to do since he was the reason she died in the first place.
Having idolized Sivvy since I was like 5 or 15, I was naturally protective of her. Even if she was dead.
I was livid when Mr. Hughes was named Poet Laureate in 1984. It seemed unfair, to say the least. It didn’t matter to me if he was a highly distinguished and gifted poet.
The beloved and beatific master of poetic license was in actuality a murderous, proud monster who would be Poet Laureate until he died.  I decided to start a ” We hate Ted”club. We would drink Earl Grey in dainty tea cups with cucumber sandwiches and scones on Saturday afternoons at 2 while refusing to read his work.I wanted to hate you, Mr. Hughes.  I couldn’t.

It was another dreaded, morbidly correct Monday that I bought “Ariel’s Gift: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and the Story of the Birthday Letters”.

When I dug deeper, I found an unexpected treasure. Along with profound sorrow, understanding, and respect for the man I had talked myself into hating- without even giving him a chance.

I hadn’t imagined the weight of holding your wife’s unseen manuscripts, unable to move from the limbo that was your purgatory.  Literary agent and legal (though estranged) spouse did not make a happy couple.  Not terribly surprising -but it surprised me still. What transformed you into my eyes, Mr. Hughes was the revelation that you didn’t seem to care so much about protecting yourself as you did shelter your children and Sylvia’s mother, Aurelia.  Sylvia style was so blatantly confessional and painfully honest, it couldn’t help but sting. I like to paint you as the true romantic who saw no need to torment them with the prelude to the only release Sylvia had left: A legacy of herself thrown into print, disturbingly poignant, brilliant and perfect.

Please forgive me, Ted Hughes. You were silent when hounded and accused.  Dragged through the mires and still – you remained stoic and strong. Your perceived guilt was of no essence to you. You were loyal, fiercely protective and the much-needed voice of reason.

Old, despicable Ted –  an anomaly in a sea of fame, power and copyrights.  You chose the fiery path right through the gates of hell – where you were the villain in Sylvia Plath’s history books.

I bought “The Birthday Letters ”  on a warm Saturday- a sunny, balmy, glorious Saturday when the air is the sweetest. The title was so happy, just reading it made me sad.   The previous script was a wash of clarity with a voice that soothed, as it transversed through my world.  Down the path of a multifaceted gem, it will never be dulled by time.

Once written, words become immortal. As are you. As are you both.

Writing has always been cathartic to me.A bittersweet balm on the gaping wound that presented itself as life. I guess I was born with a flair for melodrama. Not that surprising for a child whose grandmother sang Italian opera.

I wanted to be Linda Ronstadt when I was four or five .Walking around the house like a miniature drunk, stumbling into the walls -I couldn’t see where I was going with an album cover over my face.

Now I wonder if that was merely child’s play or preparation for true adulting. In the way that as adults, we pretend to be anything but who we really are.

Why do we feel that our authentic selves are meant to be hidden? Am I the only one who thinks this way?

Writing turned from my most beloved friend to an imaginary one. When I try to write, it sounds hollow. The only time I am my authentic self is when I let my thoughts explode on paper.

That is the goal I set for myself today. To let my constant churning find it’s home without the inner screaming voice of criticism.

The confusion of delusion

 

It’s been three months since I killed my Facebook. I won’t lie – it wasn’t my idea . I was forced to .My sanity and self worth demanded it.
When the pain of losing the valuable friendships I’d made with people I didn’t know and having to block some that I did ( no , you don’t get details) finally subsided , I made an astonishing discovery.
I was amazed at how much of a soul sucker it had been. Without the stress of wondering if any of my posts were liked or if I had been unfriended by someone I didn’t even know, I felt amazingly light. It was time to discover myself.
With so much time on my hands , I just knew it was my chance to do some deep soul searching. Who was I ? Why am I here? Do aliens exist? Does my dog really like me or is her behavior just a highly evolved form of manipulation designed to provide her with Maslow’s hierchy of needs? What shade of red was Taylor Swift wearing in her internet breaking new video ?
My self -help train wreck didn’t have a designated stop for instructions or how to apply the brakes. If it did , I was too busy juicing to notice it.
Lymphatic cleansings , heavy metal testing and no gluten, soy or life… had left me empty.
Like really empty- the kind that can’t even. Can’t even . Like I can’t even believe that I would ever use such vulgar terminology. I used to have a vocabulary that wasn’t banal, insipid and let’s face it – uninspiredly wretched.
Is this who I really was ? Just a pseudointellectual , a decidedly unclever being who liked nontrendy trends , one who actually read Sylvia Plath and listened to Lana Del Rey?
Unpretentiously I knew that I was deeper than that . Maybe new lipstick would help.
I’m not a makeup fiend who has to have whatever is on my Instagram . So , I bought the most delicious tube of happy – one that I had been drooling over .
Yes, that one. Anastasia of Beverly Hills in Smoke. It was a dreamy , darkly stormy haze that reminded me of tornadoes and Grapevine Fires. I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t sold out in stores everywhere- it was the only shade any respectable Nightwalker would be caught dead in. I was drolly estastic. Where had this color been? The teenage goth girl I used to be rejoiced. They didn’t make this hue of dismal abyss when I actually coveted it.
At this point enters my oh -so clever, witty and mostly delightful daughter. She cooed jealously over this holy grail of instant gratification while trying it on. ” I might need to borrow this for Halloween, I’m going as Anne Boleyn.” Of course she is . There goes my costume .
You have by now surmised that new lipstick changed nothing. At least not this time. Now Speak Up, Taylor. I need to know who makes that perfect red.