At first glance, it always just looked like a bunch of random sticks. What did it mean? But, if I squinted my eyes just right, sometimes, I could see between the sticks. That is when I realized that the void in-between those slivers of wood was not just black space. It actually spelled a word: SERVE.
I guess you could call it an early incarnation of the magic-eye trick. On mornings before school, as I sat in my PJs at the kitchen table, it would catch my glance--those sticks-- and I would again clench my teeth and lower my eyes and----A-HA!
You've been served, old block.
In later years, the block kept its place of honor at the kitchen sink, but I no longer strained to understand its hidden meaning. I began to see the word right away, without any effort. And because of that, the piece lost some of its mystery to me. But at times I still found myself squinting intently---not to find meaning in the piece, but to destroy meaning. To rediscover the formlessness of the wood, rather than imposing order upon it. To go back to a time when the world just *was*.... before there were concrete expectations, and rights and wrongs.
I often think about that block now and how--if I tried hard enough--I could float between both worlds. Enlightenment and darkness. Mediation and immediacy. Design and randomness. And I think about how nice it would be if I could just as easily transition between other "a-ha! moments" in my life.... or maybe not so much slide back and forth, but to simply retreat. To throw on my PJs and nestle into the "before" when the world was open and full of possibilities---not tied down by one, finite word: SERVE.
I didn't get much sleep last night because I finally voiced my intentions to quit a volunteer position that nearly killed me this summer. Melodramatic? Maybe. But the stress it induced opened a floodgate of insecurities and guilt within me that I'd like to dam back up again, thank you very much. Quitting was probably the hardest thing I've ever done, because I DON'T QUIT THINGS. I also CAN'T SAY NO. I mean, that's how I got roped into the whole mess to begin with. But, honestly, who of us can say that dreadful word? I feel like many women today silently suffer the same plight because we want to be everything to everyone. I told Husband that at least this horrible experience has taught me that I have limits. No, he said, it just taught you that it's OK to admit it.
Banana Republic long grey sweater; J.Crew black tissue turtleneck tee; Ann Taylor Loft taupe skirt shortened by Mom; Verveine Necklace; Grey tights; Anne Klein Ladell Boot in Black Suede (on sale!)
P.S. I promise that I'm not nearly as pathetically depressed as this post makes it sound! But it was quite cathartic to write this all down in a somewhat productive manner (as opposed to sending Husband yet another "frowney" face text message) And Husband already vetoed my completely reasonable request to move to Washington state....tomorrow.....So thank you for letting me blow some steam.