Monday, July 19, 2010

crossing the shadow of the sword

Darling friends,

I am trying to go super slow so I can savor every second of this delicious novel.  I have managed only to allow myself to read ten pages in two days.  It helps that I've had lots to do, so I've had minimal time for reading.  

In her thirtieth bead (chapter) Liz talks about how her sister comes to visit her in Italy.  She writes about some of the things she was thinking in terms of the way her life and the life of her sister flowed in different ways.  She says "I am so surprised sometimes to notice that my sister is a wife and mother, and I am not.  Somehow I always thought it would be the opposite... we grew up into different adults than anyone might have foretold when we were children."

I loved this part because this past week in my Columbia writing institute class I wrote, in my writer's notebook, and then drafted onto yellow paper the astonishing thoughts of the way my sister's and my life have flowed and ebbed differently too.  I realized at some level, I have always been competing with my sister.  I was also first at all things because I was the oldest, so I was used to having the upper hand.  I was the first to be born.  I was the first to go to school, so I showed my siblings the ropes.  I was the first to learn, so I taught.  I was the first to be allowed to shave my legs, so my cousins and sister used to enviously watch.  I was the first to get my driver's license, so I was the cool older sis with the ability to drive places.   The only thing I was not first in was marriage.  At first, I didn't think this bothered me.  I love my sister, naturally, and I love her husband, he is everything I could ever want for my sister.  And I am so happy for them.  But, people started asking me insensitively and curiously "does it bother you that your baby sister beat you to it?"  And other variants of the same question.  "No, no of course not," I would respond on auto-pilot.  Deep down though, it did.  In the past week, I realized that the "deep down" feeling I was grappling with was jealousy.  Writing, as it always is, was therapeutic in the sense that it gave me closure to this feeling.  As I no longer care that I wasn't first.  I no longer care if it never happens for me at all.  

Liz wrote once that she used to look like her men like some people look like their dogs.  This would happen because she would change herself in her relationships to fit the projected needs of her partner.  She came to terms with this.  I think I'm battling some kind of a similar illness... hence this project of self-discovery.  

Liz also talks about Virginia Woolf, a modernist woman for her times.  Liz quotes Woolf in her book: "'Across the broad continent of a woman's life falls the shadow of a sword.'  On the one side, she said, there lies convention and tradition and order, where 'all is correct.' But on the other side of that sword, if you are crazy enough to cross it and choose a life that does not follow convention, 'all is confusion.  Nothing follows a regular course.'  Her argument was that the crossing of the shadow of that sword may bring a far more interesting existence to a woman, but you can bet it will be more perilous."

That's the feeling in my soul pushing me into spontaneity and adventure.  There is a piece of this sword in each of our spirits, the one that Peter Pan chose, I can imagine.  The one that screws any thoughts about life but your own.  

I choose to cross the sword!! I have come to understand that I would rather be alone than married to the wrong person.  That a relationship will never define me.  That bringing children into an unhappy marriage, that marrying for the sake of getting married would be just as irresponsible as quitting my secure job and traveling the world ten times over with no money.  Some irresponsibility's are just accepted by society more than others. 

I choose a different life.  A unique life... one like no other!  So, be prepared sword, be prepared to be wowed, then crossed!!

Love Always,


Maria said...

Good Morning, Amanda!
What a journey you are on!

Awakening to the beautiful creation you are ... awakening to your purpose is the most important thing in life. Most of us rediscover the answer to these questions over and over...

...kind of like when the GPS says "recalculating"

Those are the moments when God "opens another window or doorway" so that we can redirect our lives toward our destination...

"Kingdom Living"

Being 'real' in this journey is the only way to travel!

♥ love you lots ♥


Maria said...

ps. I enjoyed the prior post as well... you have treasures in such lovely friends ♥

Diana said...

Amanda this reminded me of my own oldest daughter who chose to cross the sword so to speak! As a matter of fact one of her past professors compared her to Virginia Wolf!
I think that it is a very courageous thing to not choose the traditional route. Much better to be happy with your life than to always wonder "What if?".
Love Di ♥