This Time it's Personal

on 11 September 2009

There's that hilarious line from Steel Magnolias where Daryl Hannah's character, Anelle, says to Dolly Parton's character, Truvy, that her "personal tragedy will not interfere with [her] ability to do good hair." It's a funny moment, but it's funny because there's truth in that.

This is the time of year when I indulge my funk. I drift to the bottom of the navy blueness of it all and rest on the bottom for a couple of days. Then I scrape myself up and kick back to the surface.

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to NPR and they were talking about the 4th anniversary of Katrina and one of their guests was talking about how most of the city has been rebuilt, how there are few physical reminders but that if you looked into the eyes of your waiter or waitress you would see the scars that remain.

It started me thinking about how everyone has one. Their own pet tragedy or trauma, some violence that was done to them physically or spiritually that we hold close...that resides in our minds...that we sink under once a year and allow ourselves to hurt all over again.

Remember back to when I was talking a lot about that book Broken for You? She weaves this metaphor of pique assiette throughout as representative of the human condition. How we are all of us broken and pieced back together again and again and again. This time of year rolls around, or the end of August, beginning of September, June 6th or December 7th, or maybe it's a private grief that creeps in year after year, and we all begin to touch those rough edges of our broken bits. To test out the mortar, to make sure that we are in fact, put back together.

What I fret over is this...when it's all said and done. When we scrape ourselves off the bottom and kick to the surface again. When we've tested that mortar and found ourselves sound. Do we look in the mirror? Do we recognize the pieces of what we once were in the whole version of what we have become? Do we find beauty in that reflection? Or only the grief, only the loss, only the what-once-was-ness of it all?

So, I guess, now you know what I'll be doing today. I'll be looking in the mirror of the collective memory of this day. I'll be trying to recognize which pieces are me and which belong to other people. I'll be looking for the beauty that has come...after all.


Whimsy said...

I knew I could count on you for something lovely on 9/11.

Thank you.

Erin P said...

Beautiful. Thank you.