She slips into shoes. This is her literal preference, to slip, sliding toes to the rounded end, soft canvas and faux-skins enveloping the feet. So close, they are like tissue paper taped to a small gift. The offering is concealed. But it appears dainty, neat. Someone has used the words
-- has applied them to her. He says,
The shoes tell a story.
I started paying attention to how I change.
In my mid-twenties, I thought, it's time to take stock of the lumps (on the breasts, in the taut-pulled fabric of life).
I would note these life changes -- some subtle, some vast, some important, some not -- on paper, in the morning and at night. (The breasts appear fine, thankfully, for now.)
I saw increases -- in frivolous things, like the number of black dresses in my closet. (Which feels majorly like growing up in fact. A woman doesn't want to give such weight to physical things -- but this is the truth about black dresses.) And other things. The number of finished pages adding up. (And the way it felt to take stuff from yourself -- how writing oddly felt like getting it back.)
I logged, too the volume of changes -- my buttocks growing plushier with age, the distance between full nights of sleep elongated -- I am finding this inverse ratio of fattening and thinning things is, exactly, aging.
And I logged the frequency, the quality. (Like: each year I am shockingly less of what I was. I am learning, with adulthood, to forgive myself. This may be the most pertinent lesson yet.)
No. Actually, it's this:
When we let ourselves (finally) change, we (suddenly) change more.
That is to say, more rapidly, unexpectedly, funnily.
It happens like this:
when you quit measuring yourself against your own ledger of experience and former versions of self -- a surprising person may take form. Perhaps, she's become a morning person after all this time. She's calmed down, or revved up. And the fickle things, too, like a new mole blooming on the middle of her thumb.
This is basically how it happens. More exactly, it happens like this:
You (finally) say no. You (suddenly) are able to say yes.
To eschew is its own generosity. (You knew this about writing. Remember? The way it felt to take stuff from yourself -- how writing oddly felt like getting it back.)
(So it took longer to learn the rule applies elsewhere. That's ok.)
I saw her. I saw her shoes, neat and flat and pretty, pinkish, peddling along the road, toward some impossible future, as all futures are impossible, really. Until they're present. I saw the vessel which isn't the body, the self, just a tissue-thin layer that nicely ties up the yeses and nos and misshapen toes, and self-doubts until finally, suddenly, they exist. (Which is to say, you let them.)
This is the offering.