Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.
I’m sitting here in my living room overlooking Squash Lake, as the first Winter Weather Advisory flashes on my phone, and laughing.
I’m laughing at the absurdity of my hope and of my naivety. I’m laughing at myself and how silly it is, after all this time to still love C.
Recently, I had to leave my car in Pittsburgh and have been driving the van C and I bought to tow her art show trailer. As such, I started unpacking things. One of the things I unpacked was an extensive collection of Pfaltzgraff dishes I found in a thrift store.
I’ve never liked the patterns much but C was constantly searching for them…and if it was important to her I made it important to me. Just one of hundreds of examples.
When I found these dishes I combed through the shelves to make sure I got them all. I left the store carrying seven plates, three side plates, eleven saucers, and nine coffee cups.
And here is the absurdity.
First of all, I don’t even drink coffee.
Secondly, I bought them for C because I know she collects them and resells them on her Etsy store. I paid $30 for them, and they are probably worth $200.
I bought them knowing C was keeping my vintage alarm clocks, my vintage coffee mugs, the Brutalist art, and my power tools.
I bought them knowing she was keeping the things we bought together such as the Edison record player, vintage lamps, mid-century art, mid-century furniture, and our bed.
I bought them knowing I will never see the money for any of the things she kept or the many things we bought together she is currently selling on Etsy.
I bought them knowing all of this.
Isn’t that the definition of absurdity?
Still, I look at all of this on my table and I don’t feel stupid or dumb.
I feel vulnerable and my inner self wants to rebel and not tell anyone. Talking about this leaves me open to mocking and judgment but I have come to embrace the idea that more vulnerability, not less, is the way to mend a broken heart.
Here is the truth, I bought the plates because it reminded me of C, and since I have almost nothing symbolic from our past, it gave me comfort to know I had this box.
I thought, if she ever spoke to me again, I could hand her the box and tell her that when I was all those miles and tears from her, crossing Tennessee, she was with me and I was thinking of her.
I’m such a romantic.
Now I sit on the couch, feet up on the table, rubbing against the coffee mugs I’ll never use, and between the tears and laughter, I wonder what to do with them.
If I just put them in a box and send them to her, I don’t think the gesture will be received as intended – I could be wrong, right?
If I keep them, at this point, it’s just pain shopping. I obviously cannot return them.
I could donate them to a thrift store, they are already priced.
However, I think what I will do is toss some of them into the lake and ask the waters to wash away what is Ugly and return to me the lessons. Others I’ll take to the barrens and smash against some birch trees and use the energy to reclaim more of my heart.
I’ll keep one coffee cup as a reminder that I carried C with me everywhere, and how every day I tried to pour myself into our Partnership. How I’ve poured myself into the solution. How I poured out my soul into my writings and grieving and living.
Eventually, it will be time to let the symbolism go and I’ll donate the mug to a thrift store I know she visits.
Perhaps someday C will find it and think kindly of me…