I really love the latest post on Chicken & Cheese about our personal mythologies, the moments that define us, and the sense of standing on the brink of one. I am so familiar with the scene she evokes: the late night, the insomnia, and most of all, the feeling of plates shifting under the surface. I know this creaking well.
I also know the way that this shifting can feel deafening to me, utterly preoccupying in its noise and, sometimes, its pain. It always surprises me that it is invisible and inaudible to others (or to most). Somehow, the movement of the fundamental structure that underlies who I am goes undetected to most of the world. Somehow, even when it feels as though I am cracking (which I do not today, by the way), I walk through the world as though nothing is happening.
Of course the flip of this is that we ought to treat everyone with a compassion that respects whatever whitewater they are riding inside their own heads and hearts. If the world cannot see our turmoil, our plates shifting, then we cannot know this of others. Be kind. Those with tear-glazed faces or cold eyes probably have internal demons that we cannot know. It – and this is hard for me, I admit, very hard – likely has nothing at all to do with us.
No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our lives are made. Destiny is made known silently. – Agnes de Mille
Today I am pensive (here in my pensieve), thinking about my personal mythology, about the moments of my life that shaped who I am today. Some of them are big, I know, like the births of my children, but many of them are small. In fact I think it is true, this notion of destiny taking shape in silence. Often the true shifts that change our direction irrevocably happen invisibly to others. This is the terrible, wonderful privacy of this life: nobody can know our internal terrain well enough to walk it without guidance.
From almost exactly a year ago … and I still feel every word of it…