In the Magic Mirror, 1934 by Paul Klee
Truth be told, I’m a recalcitrant pain in the ass. Ask anyone who has known me for more than 30 seconds, and they will agree to, at the very least, a certain degree of stubbornness, bullheadedness or, if they’re being kind, tenaciousness.
Stubborn, sometimes to my detriment, and sometimes to my advantage, not that I have any clear indication which way things will ultimately be viewed by me, by others when I start down one path or another. There is much to indicate that I was born with an innate intractableness. I was a “you’re not the boss of me” kind of toddler (child, pre-teen, teenager, adult….) I’m sure I was a very difficult child to parent. I have also had a series of life experiences that have reinforced this tendency.
I have lived two years longer that my father did, a curmudgeonly and proud man, and 14years longer than a dear friend, a tenacious and brave woman. How much wisdom, if any, the extra years have given me is difficult to say. It has been my experience that I am the only person who will take care of me and my children. I have spent decades wishing for something different, for my champion to appear, preferably on a horse (I also have a rather strong sense of imagination and a certain dramatic flair), to protect and to save me. I have looked at other’s lives who seem to have that support in a partner, in a family, with great envy, and ultimately cynicism, sadness, and then finally with the conclusion that there is no one who will step up and take care of me, and I best get over that idea and get on with taking care of things myself.
So today. Today I found my mind wondering down that well worn path where there is no help to be had and, I did something that on the outside could be considered brave or, in equal measure, moronic, but in actuality was pride, injury and stubbornness. Today I sprayed a paper wasp nest in my yard. I’m allergic to them, and should have found another way, another less allergic person, but then my injured ego steps up and I find myself donning jeans and long sleeves, and putting Benadryl in one pocket and my phone in another and marching (too strong a word, walking slowly is better) to the nest. It was larger that I remembered, and buzzing with activity. I was, scared to death. I also was resigned, and my mind was sitting firmly on past memories of being left to fend for myself when what I longed for was for someone to help me, a learned helplessness sort of thing. Learned helplessness, except I don’t lie down and whimper, I push myself to do things I maybe shouldn’t because I believe that no one will help me, or if they say they will, they won’t actually show up. It’s a destructive and self fulfilling cycle of thought, first expecting to be abandoned, and then acting like it’s happened whether or not it has.
At a Window
Give me hunger,
O you gods that sit and give
The world its orders.
Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!
But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.
In the dusk of day-shapes
Blurring the sunset,
One little wandering, western star
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow.
Let me go to the window,
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait and know the coming
Of a little love.
I didn’t get stung, but the nest is still buzzing with life, just damp. I stood for a long time in the hardware store with a can of Raid wasp killer in one hand, and an organic alternative in the other. My organic choice resulted in a damp, more irritated and very peppermint smelling wasp’s nest. So tomorrow I will try again. I’ll try again alone, because that’s how I do this sort of thing, afraid or not, this time with the toxic stuff. That’s the stubborn pain in the ass part of me that is just going to get this thing done, dammit, but I’ll still have the Benadryl.