The Uses of Sorrow

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

Mary Oliver

Thanks to Elaine Thierry for sharing this poem on Facebook.  It made me remember...

About 20 years ago I had an epiphany about what I had considered to be my "sordid past."  I had felt bad about how many men I had been with and had allowed self-righteous, judgmental people to shape my own opinion of myself.  I had acted as if what they had to say about me was true, rather than an opinion based on less than the full truth.  No woman wants to be thought of as slutty or easy.  Definitely not me.

I had recently gone through my third divorce and was planning on going to law school.  It was my decision to divorce a man that I loved because I realized that I was not going to be happy with my life if I considered it from the prospect of being eighty years old looking back on my life.  I knew that it meant I might be alone the rest of my life, and I still went ahead.  I didn't want fear of being alone to be why I did anything.

Sometimes, to be completely free, we have to give up what others think of us and recognize the nature of what we have actually done rather than allowing ourselves to be swayed by the self-righteous judgments others burden themselves with,  and then inflict upon us for their own reasons.  We don't have to believe or adopt their judgments and opinions of us.  We don't have to make what we have experienced mean more than the information we gleaned directly from the experience itself.  

We can never recognize the natural light within ourselves if we are focused on only the darkness with which others wish to crucify us.  

That darkness we judge ourselves to have embodied is most often made up of the mistakes we make in our youth and innocence and what we or others have said about it, for which we can only forgive ourselves. We create awful guilt and terrible stories about ourselves because we have adopted ideas that were not ever our own original ideas.  Those ideas did not spring from our consciousness; and they are not our own, those ideas are not our truth, unless we claim them.  If we don't allow ourselves some kind of forgiveness for adopting and living as if those alien ideas were our truth, completely letting them go, there is only us being cut off from living fully, only terrible sorrow and disappointment and being stuck with a misperception of who we are.  

Where is authenticity if we live our lives as if we are awful people for having been lonely and searching?  

When I was a young woman I did a bit of sewing wild oats.  I had a few adventures.  I learned a bit about what I love, what I value, what has meaning for me.  I learned some of the most important things that I know by making mistakes and some of those mistakes were painful and heartbreaking for me personally.  But I don't think I broke a lot of hearts, perhaps a few.  I know I didn't leave anyone  in a permanent state of emotional pain.  I didn't ever do anything that was outside my own personal responsibility to do.  And by choosing one day to free myself I went on to build a glorious life that was not accidental.  I freed myself to find the love of someone true and good. 

"All these roads steer me wrong, but I still drive them all night long"  Bruno Mars

It's what we do until we learn who we truly are.

Views: 485

Comment by DaisyJane on January 4, 2013 at 9:34am

definitely cant take other people's opinions on our shoulders, susanne.  if it was right for you, no harm and no foul.  hell, as a once wild young girl and oat-sower, i am pretty fond of my memories, and still friends with plenty of my oat-sowing partners.  if god didnt want us to have sex, he wouldnt have made it feel so good, is what i always say.  glad you learned to think well of yourself.  not much is more important than that.  and it must be mary oliver day here in america.  she is all over the place today.  she sure wouldnt judge us for being idle and blessed.

Comment by Susanne Freeborn on January 4, 2013 at 12:00pm
Thanks green heron. It is really good to see you. This was definitely an "inside job."
Comment by Susanne Freeborn on January 4, 2013 at 12:00pm
thanks Daisy Jane.
Comment by Arthur James on January 4, 2013 at 12:40pm

` Suzanne Freeborn. You are my Favorite Therapist Today.

I once observed a Woman weep Terribly. I Embraced Her.

`

She Mentioned that She has Been Extremely Sad Today.

I ask Her this:` What was the date that Your Mother passed.

Passed- as in Died? It was the Very Date. It was Evening Time.

`

Her Mother Died in a Manhattan Hospital. Her Father Died Too.

Mom and Dad Died in Manhattan Within Two Saddest Months.

Thersa's Mother Died - after Her Father Died from a Suicide.

`

Please . . .

Pause . . .

Imbibe ...

Breath Life.

`

Socrates wrote this after aged,

and reading a book with a Woman:

`

Our shoulders accidently touched.

Our heads touched. I felt a flea.

Socrates meant He was ` Bitten.

`

For five days Socrates mentioned:

His Heart itches. But not as once,

and Full of Youth's Beautiful Vigor,

and She Renewed some` Sprite.

`

smile . . .

`

I'll read comments.

Comment by Arthur James on January 4, 2013 at 12:41pm

` Suzanne Freeborn. You are my Favorite Therapist Today.

I once observed a Woman weep Terribly. I Embraced Her.

`

She Mentioned that She has Been Extremely Sad Today.

I ask Her this:` What was the date that Your Mother passed.

Passed- as in Died? It was the Very Date. It was Evening Time.

`

Her Mother Died in a Manhattan Hospital. Her Father Died Too.

Mom and Dad Died in Manhattan Within Two Saddest Months.

Thersa's Mother Died - after Her Father Died from a Suicide.

`

Please . . .

Pause . . .

Imbibe ...

Breath Life.

`

Socrates wrote this after aged,

and reading a book with a Woman:

`

Our shoulders accidently touched.

Our heads touched. I felt a flea.

Socrates meant He was ` Bitten.

`

For five days Socrates mentioned:

His Heart itches. But not as once,

and Full of Youth's Beautiful Vigor,

and She Renewed some` Sprite.

`

smile . . .

`

I'll read comments.

Comment by Susanne Freeborn on January 4, 2013 at 1:27pm
How lovely! Art it is Sooooo GOOD to see you here. Thank you for your poem twice and twice as much too!
Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on January 9, 2013 at 5:54am

This is a remarkable, soul-provoking piece and I thank you for sharing it w us.

Comment by Susanne Freeborn on January 9, 2013 at 12:04pm

Thank you Jonathan. You so often say the kindest possible thing!   Like you, I have meant for my life to contribute something of value to life.  Sometimes it is just a nice cheesecake or a good dinner.  Sometimes it is what I have learned.

Comment by Harp on January 9, 2013 at 6:03pm

There are simply too many touch points here to truly open up at the moment.   Suffice to say this is beautifully written, beautifully rendered (meaning the combination of your text and images) and beautifully discussed  with heartfelt conviction throughout the comments.   

You are new to me but I am very pleased to meet you.

Comment by Susanne Freeborn on January 9, 2013 at 6:24pm

Harp, I think we were friends on OS, but I didn't write quite so much as many others do and it really is hard to keep track of so many writers.  I am friends with many of the old gang on Facebook, but I never knew your real name.  Thank you very much for your comments, since it is always a struggle between turning something confessional by revealing too many details and saying enough to illustrate without making what you've said burdensome.  Unlike Tarantino, I don't want to give anyone reason to wish to "unsee" something I've written or said.

Comment

You need to be a member of Our Salon to add comments!

Join Our Salon

NEW BLOG POSTS

Canned Heat, Canned Laughter

Posted by J.P. Hart on June 26, 2019 at 2:52pm 2 Comments

4th of July 1963 3 of 3

Posted by J.P. Hart on June 26, 2019 at 10:01am 3 Comments

Remembering Julie Johnson

Posted by Julie Johnson on June 25, 2019 at 10:30pm 6 Comments

© 2019   Created by lorianne.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service