Friday, June 20, 2008

Expanding My Shrinking World

When what I recently saw described as the "brown meanness*" descends, I give up bigger and bigger bits of my house until I find myself spending most of my time in my bedroom.

It's pretty much the same with my life. When my internal sun is shining, I wander far and wide, but when the brownness comes to call, I live inside mostly inside my head. (Which, at that point, becomes a pretty tough neighborhood.)

The brownness. Let's talk about that for a moment. Not black. Not darkness, exactly. More a dimming of the essential nature, the vivid colors of life. Cooking fresh food for myself becomes too much trouble and I eat from boxes and bags. (Yuck!) The basement corners need attention (spider webs and bug detritus), and I don't go down there for months on end.

A psychologist once noted my ability to comparmentalize and asked me if I'd been abused as a child. No, but I somehow developed an uncanny ability simply not to acknowledge anything that doesn't fit with my view of the world, not to see anything troubling. One could call it "rising above." One would be fooling herself.

Recognizing a problem begs action. Me and my buddy Thomas Gray got a good thing going: "Where ignorance is bliss, 'Tis folly to be wise."

Sometimes, being wise does not merely rock the boat, it capsizes it. To avoid huge losses, I cede small ones, day after day. And that, I've come to understand, is the source of the brownness. I don't end up living in my head in my bedroom because of the brownness. Instead, the brownness settles over me because I've shut out the light with the blinders required not to know that which I do not want to know.

The National Eye Institute describes cataracts like this: The clear lens slowly changes..., adding a brownish tint to vision. ...At first, the amount of tinting may be small and may not cause a vision problem. Over time, increased tinting may make it more difficult to read and perform other routine activities.

Yep. That's it. And, like cataracts, when the brownness becomes intrusive, it's time to get out the lasers, to open the doors and windows and let in the damn light.

I've spent the last two evenings cleaning corners of the basement. With the blinds open and the moonlight streaming in.

*term used by the character Slim McIlmore in Liberating Paris by Linda Bloodworth Thomason.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

"I've spent the last two evenings cleaning corners of the basement. With the blinds open and the moonlight streaming in."

Hope that's both literal and metaphorical. Just a little moonlight might change the whole view? Hope so.


Deb said...

I'm amazed that the moonlight can stream into your basement. That's so cool!

I love how you explore the brown and can so relate to it. Anything we push away somehow ends up driving the car - and in directions that are in no way good for us.

Sending love and light your way for when you tackle the big corner cleaning of your mind's basement.

Michelle O'Neil said...

: )

Doubting Thomas said...

Everybody deals with some form of what you describe as the brownness. It's the human condition, I think.

It's a good thing for you to be clearing the spider webs out of corners. Go to it. Metaphorically and literally.