Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Hot Tin Roof

What happens when we begin to realize we are walking the final miles. When we see ourselves as a matron; someone's wife, mother, grandmother. No longer the lithesome desire of some young man's fantasy but rather the odd older woman patronized, not eyed.

Along the way, the stuff of life gets in the way, the routine takes over and we forget what we saw when we first looked. We forget the tingle, the rush of air, the impulse to hold our breath. We complain about the lack of attention. The insensitivity. The way he holds his fork.

Sometimes something clicks. The long abandoned need to be seen as a vibrant being allows her to become enthralled by someone younger who catches a fantasy. The tingle once more, can't breath and don't care who is in the way. Sometimes, realizing it is themselves, they try to remove that obstacle as well.

I watched a woman implode over the last few years, her desire for the young man so intense she hummed with it. She did not care that he was a man almost a child, a child man, she knew he would love her. She did not care that she repulsed him. She did not care, nor would she believe he was attracted to men, not women. Not even an old woman. She pursued him with fire eyes and passion. She lost her dignity; she lost her mind. She did not care.

Today. Today I hear from two people the same story. Lives shattered, desires burning, needs driving an impulse to commit self-hurt. Ashes are stirred and the flame becomes a pyre. Nothing survives, the heat sucks the oxygen out of the lives involved. Pick through the ashes, only the ghosts are awakened.

This has made me restless, made my skin itch. I am sad, I am amazed and I am almost able to see it. The crazy that happens when you can't help but look. I remember when I was young, I remember I did not care. I sang alleluia and gave myself to my impulses.

I grew up, I became a woman. I accepted life as it is, full of promise and just as full of pain. The reality is, I am glad of it. But I wonder what drives people to toss away all. To cry out alleluia and jump into the abyss. Are eyes wide open? No, I think the heart is crying and the eyes are blinded, but the need is so strong. The devastation is so final.

So I am in a mood. And I think of this. Almost perfect, this. It captures the feeling, you can feel it. You can.


  1. Interesting writing Sandra! Not the usual stuff for sure. Yes, there certainly are things about getting older to be glad about...I am much more at peace with myself these days....and that's a very good thing!

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  3. Just when I think I understand, you elude me. I have a sense of what you're writing -- and then it slips away, but it works. And I love that song -- haven't heard the Jeff Buckley version, though -- I've always loved the Rufus Wainwright one --

  4. What a post! I could feel the suspense and could almost grasp the feeling of those who do let go...

  5. One thing only I am immensly grateful for: I never, ever want to suffer that angst again. Once was more than enough. The heart must be desperate indeed to lurch after that teen angonising for a second time. Not for me.

  6. That was riveting and provocative Sandra. My experience has been that those who are driven to such humiliating measures have not done what you've done - 'accepted life as it is'...

    It is evidence of an equanimity unattained and a desperate grasp (gasp) to restore their own youth by merging with someone youthful.

    Under it all is a terror of ageing and death. And in the end this last grasp/gasp only becomes further proof of their mortal condition.

  7. I wonder why people depend on others to save them from themselves.

  8. Oh! and thanks for sharing that song/video...it's a good'un!

  9. This brings memories that are best forgotten, involving people who once were very close and dear to me and who sacrificed everything for...rust.

    With my degree and my life experience I fail still to recognize or even to comprehend their story. They were madly in love once, he grew older and so did she but she pretended by botox and other disguises that she was still the same. She dyed her hair - she was truly appalled that I let my gray grow as soon as it showed up - she went to the gym, she bought age "inappropriate" clothing and suddenly the marriage was over. The rest of us were left wondering what next? He moved out of town, she of course lost the object of her affection when the money run out and I am still wondering if a good heart to heart with her husband about her needs and his wouldn't have been the answer. Maybe not. But we will never know.

    We grow older and indeed once in a while look back with a touch of rue at the stranger who looks back from the mirror. No longer the soft, smooth skin, the eyes we remember were never this tired. But there is a fire that was missing then, and that it didn't come from excitement and expectations. There are our own stories, the ones that are meant to be kept, not forgotten. As Michael Meade said "Ancient stories are not aimed at the front of the mind, but at the back of the mind & at the depths of the soul" so, alleluia and amen!

  10. Men have done this for years, but I have seen women become pathetically dysfunctional when chasing youth. Thanks everyone for your thoughts about this.

  11. I will leave you with your hordes of mosquitoes I'm afraid and instead comment here. Like Allegra I have watched a good friend gradually self destruct rather than accept that she is in fact aging ... and that aging is both natural and beautiful.

    Leaving her long time partner for a younger model only to find after quite a short time that her younger model was in fact only a transient visitor in her life. It has been heartbreaking to see these two dear friends lives shattered by this infernal drive towards perpetual youth ... it is after all a sham.

    I am grateful for the things that this age brings. Grateful even for that "invisibilty" that comes with it. Fewer urges perhaps, but more peace with it.

    One more thing ... about these mosquitoes ... 2 summers ago I went on holiday to PEI (Canada). I thought I'd seen a fair number of mosquitoes as a kid growing up in Toronto, but the PEI versions were monsters! I hope your plague is soon over. xx



I really appreciate the concept and sentiment behind awards, but I cannot participate in them anymore. I have too may and I have not got the time to devote to participating properly. To all who have honored me, I am grateful but I don't have seven more things to tell anyone about myself! And I'm a terrible passer-oner.