all i want is a bookshelf.
All I want is a big tall bookshelf filled with poetry and inspiration.
It’s been a dream of mine – silly really, since it is so doable. Floor to ceiling. Bookshelves instead of wallpaper. Books for reading. Not books for decoration. A literal library of content surrounding me like a shield.
The library at my elementary school was magical. There were not units lined up one after the other like you see in colleges and high schools and movies and pretty much any other library in the history of ever. It was merely a room with open floorspace and no walls or windows: just books. I was the weird kid who eschewed the youth fiction section and poured over the science books. Especially the ones with beautiful pictures. I would sit and carefully flip through the pages and marvel at the crazy animals and plants and organisms that made up our world. The outer space books fascinated me the most. How could such brilliance truly exist? How were these not illustrations? How were these things just naturally occurring in nature — how were they REAL?
I go through about 200 emotions per day. I’m trying this new thing in yoga, as most of the classes I frequent leave the curtains open and mirrors visible. Great for form; not great for memories of ballet class and leotards at 8AM and seeing yourself next to lithe ballerina types while you fight with your slightly pigeon-toed feet to simply turn the f out. And so I try so, so, so hard to simply feel myself in my body; to feel my toes on the mat and hands by my heart. To turn into Warrior Two or whatever and not cringe when the other women turn and create a sliver of silhouette, while I just seem way too boisterous of a figure to ever be able to glide gracefully let alone pop myself up into a handstand. So I’m trying this thing where I focus on the inner workings. I recognize my thoughts and steer my brain in the other direction. I tell myself how capable I am, how athletic I’ve become, I focus on my breath and on drawing my floating ribs in and melting that area behind my heart. But then I catch a glimpse and wonder why I am not this graceful swan of a creature. One of my favorite yoga teachers once told me I have amazing proprioception. It is a blessing and a curse. I feel my body in the space and I feel without seeing. I feel the space I am occupying and I feel gargantuan, while at the same time envisioning myself a farcical afterthought, unworthy of and unable to receive the kind of respect I bestow on others.
Here is a little secret: I feel sad at least once a day. Sad that I won’t get everything done. Sad that I am not exceeding expectations. Sad that at the end of the day, it’s just me and my decisions; sad that I’d rather be the one holding someone’s hand than asking for a hand to hold – as much as sometimes I feel I desperately need one. I feel sad that my body doesn’t match up to what my mind wants it to be, and feel sad that I have no problem admitting when I am struggling but do have major problems asking for help. I feel sad that somewhere down the line I made this pledge to myself to figure things out on my own. Every moment that I feel is ordinary, every minute that I am not exemplary, that I feel I am living a nondescript and un-impactiful existence, I get very, very sad.
I do not like the fact that I crave affirmation, and I tell myself that’s not how the world works; that it is my responsibility to pat myself on the back and no one else’s obligation to cradle me and tell me everything is wonderful.
I take up too much space, I tell myself. I’ve got a body for speed but a mind that wants distance.
And I know that there is a balance; I know that the beauty I so desire and strive towards in my life is entirely possible and moreover right in front of me. It is real.
To be sad or self-conscious makes me human; to recognize and astutely identify my shortcomings gives me the power to do something about it. If I was never sad I would never feel complete. If I was always a balloon of self-love I’d be kinda eerie. While the experience is not a barrel of laughs, I am beyond grateful for my willingness to dive head-first into my catalog of emotion and experience. I am grateful for it all, because when I read between the lines and find the truths, it really is a thing of wonderment.