The Blue Lines

When I write letters, I use notebook paper. It’s not fancy, it’s just comforting… kind of like writing notes to friends in school when I was young. The other day I wrote six pages to Argo, a letter that won’t be sent but just live in one of my dresser drawers. I write like that a lot. I still have a 15 page letter I wrote to Katharin somewhere in my archives. I don’t talk about Katharin much, only because there’s a lot of pain and sludge in my soul about that relationship. The point is not Katharin. The point is that sometimes, it’s the writing of the letters that brings the most ablution, not the mailing of them. I’d never put it together before, but perhaps there’s a reason why water and lines on notebook paper are both blue… they both bring out the most peace the longer you stare at them.

On those blue lines, my relationships with people can be what I need them to be instead of what they are. By not sending the letters on them, I can imagine a response instead of getting one. It’s part of my personality- the vision of what things can be instead of cold, hard reality. Imagination has become not so much with the escapism, but the creation of the future I want instead of the one I thought I would have in the years BA (before Argo). I’ve written before that Argo helped me kill the monster under my bed. In the years BA, that monster tied me to the cold, hard reality that I would never get what I wanted… and rumination to change that existence ate up any room I had to process what my life looked like outside of it. I couldn’t let go of the past because on blue lines, I tried to change it every single day.

Here is an excerpt from thinking about that time, in a blog entry from 2012 called When We Were Young:

I went to school and suffered through every class. Nothing mattered except making it to 6:00 PM, where I was supposedly doing homework and realistically writing you notes that I hoped you would enjoy. Over time, I noticed that when I was thinking about you, my handwriting started slanting to the left, my d’s looked like eighth notes and my D’s had to curve just so. I used endless amounts of paper, because if my D’s did not curve just so, I had to start over. It rarely occurred to me to just use pencil.

I’ve often called Diane my blog before I could type, and no sentence in my life rings with more truth than that one. Before I could type, there were more blue lines than you can possibly conceive. I wrote to her every day, at multiple times, because I did not like school and I was actively trying to get away from it. If you read When We Were Young, you will understand why. The $ .50 cent tour is that I could not concentrate on anything but her and how to save her from the life she was leading. I just didn’t understand that it wasn’t my job. She ended up saving herself, but I would like to think that our relationship was a block in the building, one piece of one wall that has my name on it, despite the fact that we have not spoken in years and I’m not really open to it now.

Being a Christian and wanting Christ’s resurrection in all things, for me, does not necessarily mean that I should open myself back up to relationships that hurt me. In these words I realize that Argo probably feels the same way about me, even though she would never use the words “Christ’s resurrection” in the first place. However, I would like to believe that just as I have found peace within myself over what happened with Diane as a child, that Argo will find peace over what happened between us. My twisted heart from childhood showed in my relationship with Argo, and that may not be fixable as I try to make myself clean.

In my relationship with Argo, I do not have the right to get my way… just as I believe Diane doesn’t, either. The difference is that Argo and I are both well into adulthood, and when Diane and I met, she was an adult and I, to put it mildly, was not. Argo and I both have emotional tools that just don’t happen in childhood, especially in a relationship where the balance of power is so off that it is a never-ending tug of war to bridge the divide between “being little and being big.”

The emotional tools of adulthood are something that I’ve had inside me for a long time, but refused to use them because I was stuck… a child in an adult’s body trying to fake it. I could give other people the use of my mental toolkit, but I couldn’t take those words and apply them to myself in any meaningful way. I would like to believe that’s why in the beginning, Argo thought I had amazing insight and clarity, and as she delved deeper into my psyche, she discovered that my id supplanted both my ego and superego, because that’s the engine that drives a child, and not the adult I present to the world. She loved the mask, and when it came down to the real me… well, let’s just say that was far less attractive.

It is the sludge in my soul that I am driving out with light after having lived in darkness for so very long.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

John 3:19-20

Because let’s face it, darkness hides our sins, but it doesn’t release them, either. On blue lines, I name them, and when I say them out loud, they become real. If they are not real to me, they are lost in the darkness somewhere I cannot reach, and therefore become the invisible albatross around my neck that I carry willingly, because I do not want anyone to find out what lies in my darkness, least of all me.

I’ve been reading Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber, and if you are my Facebook friend or a subscriber to my feed, you know that I’ve shared several quotes from it. Yet another line sticks with me, and the context is that she has just become a hospital chaplain for a clinical rotation requirement at Iliff. Someone says from their hospital bed, “I’m an atheist!” She thinks, “good for you. I wish I could pull that off.” Her point is the same as mine, that it takes divine intervention for most people to walk in light, because that thread of divinity is coming through us. It is not of us. I don’t believe that there’s a grandfather in the sky, but I do believe that when faced with darkness, my ego cannot be the biggest thing in the room. There is a submission when you believe in a higher power, and it does not matter which one… because most of the time, it is ego that creates darkness in the first place.

It is amazing how quickly giving up my ego and submitting to the power of the universe yielded much better results than thinking I could handle everything on my own. And by everything, I do mean everything. It may not be here, but you can fucking bet on it that there’s a piece of notebook paper somewhere, spilling it all out in purple or green ink (my personal favorites). In several instances, I have used a fountain pen filled with ink that I thought looked like writing with coffee and one of my friends said, “that looks like shit.” Appropriate, because the words themselves were absolute rage.

The rage was mud, the blue lines water washing it away.

Amen.

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