Sunday, December 2, 2007
I just cleaned out my hall closet. Purging feels so good - thoroughly, solidly good. I found four of my old journals. One is shiny with pictures of clouds on it and opens like a regular book. Another is an extremely peculiar and profound square shape with lined paper, covered in a thin layer of rust colored velvet. Then there is the matte vinyl, gilded and inscribed notebook that's sophisticated and built like an envelope, that locks with a secure flap to keep precious thoughts private. The final is an incomplete and simple black book that reads more like a sketch pad or a pamphlet. I have yet to excavate all four separate historical accounts, but one journal did get cracked briefly and to my surprise, what I read rings as true, if not more than it did in December of 1999, my nineteenth year.
Allow me to share the lovely text, A Cure for Self Loathing, written by Alice Hoffman.
The remedy, to be followed more or less: do not look in the mirror for three days and do not speak with anyone you suspect of agreeing with your current opinions of your self.
On the first day: wear blue, buy roses, fix something broken, polish furniture. Allow yourself a mistake, drink a mixture of lemon juice and water, cry all night, then shop for new pillowcases.
On the second day: make jam, visit an acquaintance unable to leave the house due to illness, sorrow or advancing years, fix a pot of tomato-rice soup and let simmer. Give your coats away to those who cannot stay warm. Forget what you could or couldn't or didn't do right. Run for two miles, paying attention only to the shape of leaves, the sound of birds, the idea of desire.
On the third day: paint your bedroom, absolve an old enemy, braid your hair or cut it all off. Think about November, imagine starts and clear skies, believe in possibilities and in hardship. Study signs, be grateful, consider devotion, moonlight and your own dreams. Early in the morning, at the hour when the grass is still damp and the sky above you is cracking open like an egg, walk a dog through your neighborhood. Then and there, while most people are still asleep in their beds, forgive yourself.
The photo was taken at Ocean Beach by my special friend, on his tiny phone, as we saw the great sun hide behind the sea and listened for the green flash.