Wisdoms for Self

I’m wrestling with the letter I want to write to introduce my 2020 100 Day Project when I release it later this month. I’m feeling the pressure to get it just right. To say it just so. (Sound familiar? I keep finding different elements of this project to obsess over as a way to avoid sharing it. Go figure. Just share it, Lucy.)

I poked my head into Instagram briefly this morning and found Anis sharing a project that has its roots in a much older project and is now reemerging:

Back in 2014/2015 I was in a place of heavy loss, a place of relearning, rewiring, reforming my self, & began writing down & sharing online these monthly wisdoms/lessons for my self to learn, think on, & try to remember. Have wanted to return to this for years now, & being now in some months of heavy reflection seemed a good time for this returning. Here’s things I put down last month for me to hold & turn over & try to remember.

Here’s one:

12.21 Lessons for Self
(to learn anew &/or to be reminded of to continue learning)
Anis you do not need to straighten every wrinkle. Nor do you
need to respond in a moment. If someone is upset & out of that
anger speaking poorly to you, it is not your job to temper
-if you need time to acknowledge your transgression to
them without theirs to you, step away & come back.
Dont forget Anis, no one gets to tell you how you process your
loss & rowboat your grief.
This means too, don't forget, you don't get to direct how others
process theirs, to expect them to rudder across the lake in the
way you might.
Decisions are not just cerebral in nature. Not all abstracted can
be bent for the brain to weigh, Anis you have to also recognize
that the heart & the body are part of the decision making pro-
Indecision is an enemy of vulnerability.

This subtitle sings to me.

It’s a funny thing how we all begin turning toward the same subjects at the same times (or have already been turning for several years). Reminders. Permission. Speaking to the self as the self, but at a removal from the self. This is the energy of the thing I’m about to release, too. Seeing it reflected in these words from my brilliant friend fills me with compassion and energy and, okay, a little envy, too. I have to elbow myself in the psychic ribs as if to say “Hey. Cut it out. There’s no race here, ya dingbat.”

On another slide, Anis writes:

I sometimes use vulnerability w/self to avoid vulnerability w/others. I wear my heart, but wearing can be a costume.

This is one of the things that drives me away from sharing such a personal thing in public. I want it to be known (I want to be known), but not in a space where I’ve traditionally used perceived vulnerability to mask real connection.

The greatest pleasure I’ve gotten from this project has been pressing the physical prototype (or the Dropbox folder of images) into the hands of trusted friends, and then talking about it with them. That’s energy I want to preserve moving forward. This connection. This depth.

The VR Tightrope

I’m having one of those days where everything comes unstuck and I suddenly reply to all the emails I’ve been putting off replying to for months and months and months on end. This often ends up being a hugely heartening exercise because I find that my “Reply Later” stack, grown into a source of guilt and avoidance, is actually full of the loveliest stuff—the internet penpal stuff, the unexpected fan mail stuff, the slow motion friendship stuff. It’s because it’s lovely that it gets shoved into that folder in the first place! I want to give it time.

And you know, maybe that’s okay.

Anyway, I’m going to do something potentially gauche and quote myself because I jotted this thing down in an email to James back in January and I realized instead of waiting to write the perfect blog post about it I could just copy and paste right out of the email and be done with it. So that’s what I’m doing.

Your comment about “the arbitrary nature of the rope” brought back a memory I kept wanting to write about of seeing folks trying a VR tightrope simulator for the first time in 2016. They just had to walk across a rope lying on the floor, but of course the headset makes you think you’re wobbling along over 50 metres of thin air. Watching people try to accomplish something that was, from where I was standing, clearly safe, but behaving as if they were performing a death-defying high wire act…god. It just felt like such an accurate metaphor for the process of creating anything. Our brains convince us that certain death awaits on every side, but we’re absolutely safe. We are.

There we go. This thing I’ve been meaning to write about for five years now exists on my website. Incomplete, minimally described, but whatever. It doesn’t have to be an essay every time, y’know?