Saturday, July 05, 2008

Seven Wholes in Human Head

My teens and early 20s were a rush to maturity, a headlong flight to someplace else. 

My 30s found me working the peaks and valleys of mothering and the shifting ground of a faithless marriage.

My 40s blossomed into my first real adolescence, a renaissance of my soul and body.  

Now, in my 50s, I've stopped moving somehow and consigned sex and love and adventure to memories and dreams. I meet my days as though the mundane life I now live is all there is or will be.

Just read an interview on where Elizabeth Gilbert said, 

" using a diving rod. You know those people who have a gift for walking over the ground holding a stick and then --- when they pass over water --- the stick jumps, an electric shimmer runs up their arms, and they know there's a well to be dug under there? That's how it felt when I was reading over my piles and piles of journals. I would just skim over it until I felt that electric shimmer...."

Humdrum fills the journals of our lives. Even grand adventure doesn't look grand close up. It looks like details, like one foot in front of the other. Flashes of fabulous lie beneath layers of ordinary.

Beyond from her mega-hit book, Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert is a fascinating woman. An article she wrote for GQ about her job in a dive bar was the basis for the movie, Coyote Ugly. She spent years writing The Last American Man, a book about a mountain man she met years after she and his brother worked together pretending to be cowboys in Wyoming.

Check out these photos:

Hard to believe they're of the same person. I'll bet Gilbert is neither as prim as she appears in the first nor as effervescent as she appears in the second. She's probably a 12-bean soup of a soul, grim and joyous by turns, a woman who dances on scarred wood countertops and meditates on stone floors, one who has loved and hated her circumstances with equal passion. Minus the bar and the ashram, the same is true of most of us.

At 30, making superman pajamas for Evan.

At 46, celebrating at a friend's wedding.

The woman in these photos swims naked in broad daylight and swelters in jeans because she won't wear shorts in public. She withers at a corner table at a junior high dance and dances on a bar table 30 years later. She loves and hates (and tries to forgive) the same man. Hell, she loves and hates (and tries to forgive) herself.

Like anyone else, she is not only the things visible at any given moment, not just one of the things she has been or will be. She is restless, aggressively domestic, clueless, sensual, joyful and lost, plus quite a few other things I can't think of right now. 

No wonder it takes a divining rod to find the right spot to dig.

 *divining rod photo by TW Collins. Laughing E. Gilbert photo by wordsmithbooks. Somber E. Gilbert photo accompanies an interview on


Terry said...

I can identify completely with your description of yourself in 20s, 30s, 40s. You could be describing my life. I loved being in my 40s after the shock of the divorce had given way to the peace of solitude. In my 50s I have once again found joy and a man to share my life. But had I not, I still believe I would be much better off living a bit of a lonely life, rather than being lonely while living with someone who didn't love me. Thanks for your blog -- I always enjoy stopping in. Terry

riversgrace said...

You're right, you are the one I needed to talk to today. Yep, I'm right with you on all this. And I feel very kindred to EG as well, for the ways I've heard her describe herself and all the extremes.

Go Mama said...

I wouldn't call it lost, rather, right where you need to be, J.

Isn't it amazing what complex multi-dimensional creatures we are? Unable to pin down, unable to define except perhaps in brief moments, always stretching, moving, growing, refining, reflecting... fascinating. "A 12-bean soup of a soul" the lot of us!

Beautiful insights.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Lots to chew on, thank you, so well said!

Michelle O'Neil said...

Jerri, I do believe you are just getting started. Beautiful inside and out at every age. Just getting started I say.

kario said...

There is something so incredibly beautiful about a woman who knows herself. I have no doubt that whomever you find to share your life with will be one lucky soul.

Love you!

Nancy said...

Ditto, Ditto & Ditto! Love your insight!

Amber said...

Oh, Jerri. " 12-bean soup of a soul,"--- This is brilliant. Gosh, I love that. I am going to write it down.

This post made me cry a little. Heh. I am feeling it.