and if you fail,
think of how well you've failed—Joyce Sutphen (These Few Precepts)
I fail, daily and hourly, to be my own person, when under siege.
I remember out of the blue a house in Oakland with a tangled garden where I (just out of college and far lost from my way forward) shut myself in my room and hid, not wanting to be overwhelmed by my overweening roommate who knew herself already—her tastes, her style—unerringly.
But I have blundered very well into some semblance of a self, even here in this centrifugal force-field. Squirreling one piece of me away, and then another, and a third. The little stone Buddha, Jonas Kaufmann’s Verdi, a sunstruck bench at one of the missions, a red bocci ball and wood grain at Tassajara, my French press for Ethiopian coffee, the small kaleidoscope, a postcard of the Seine, an angelfish, the paper birds, white mint tea, roast tomatoes, beaded bags with semiprecious stones for keys and ID cards, this and that piled against the onslaught.
Mixed metaphors, I know—but that too is a fine failing, and very me.
image: She Who Is