It seems that yesterday’s The Bad Day resonated with far too many of you. Thank you for opening your chests to me, for allowing me to leave a few gently chosen fingerprints on your hearts. I hope that your healing is equally kind; please know that you are very much loved and appreciated.
Today was a better day. At the very least, there was no sadness the shape of yesterday’s. There was chatter and love, a hundred voicenotes and long distance calls to home. A little confusion, but absolutely no sadness, alhamduliLah.
I spent my day walking through this city. I enjoyed far too much cheese at an absolutely beautiful restaurant, books and art filled, called La Fourmi Ailée (8 Rue du Fouarre, where the wait staff are wonderful, even though the woman accidentally sent a bottle of red wine crashing all over her white linen pants, and a quarter of which landed inside of my purse); I people watched at Square René Viviani, my favourite moment when a woman removed her scarf, and laid it out on the ground for her girlfriend; I polished up my manuscript at Shakespeare’s with an excellent latté as companion; walked around both the Saint Germaine and Montparnasse areas for hours; and, finally, had dinner at Le Tourne Sol with Azza (friend, and now editor) as telephone companion.
All day, I had hearts to keep me. Each one of them reinforcing the walls I’d recently erected and which had, over the course of these last 24 hours begun to run the risk of erosion.
There is a very strange thing which we do, those of us with too much softness in us, with too much awareness of the pain of others, the reasons behind their actions. A strange thing that we do when we can see beneath all of their shithole behaviour, right to the best of them – we soften further. Always, to our own detriment, we diminish the pain that we feel at their hands, because we understand our own strength as clearly as we understand the reasons for the weaknesses of others. Because it is only the weak who harm.
What we are inclined to do, unless we have reinforcements yelling for us to hold the line, is we trade off parts of ourselves, that we might help others save themselves, and this, it is absolutely fucking deadly.
Or. If I am to be truly honest, we trade off ourselves, that we might save them.
It’s total bullshit. Because none of us can save anyone but ourselves. Even those who might need and want saving, all we can do is support their efforts, but nothing beyond this.
I’m not thinking that this instinct is something we should ever give up or away. Rather, it is something we have to learn to focus only on those who have explicitly asked for its focus, while knowing full-well that we are merely second-tier support for work which must be done by others. Most difficult to accept is that because we are merely in a supporting role, we have no say in the outcome. Pretending as though anyone has any actual control but God.
We are all such little potatoes.
Today, I am grateful for:
1. The hours and hours of walking. You are the best distraction.
2. Warm weather, like today’s. You facilitated the walking, and I appreciate this very much.
3. Books, serving as bubble-wrap, always.
Paris | March 9, 2019