I’ve always been a fan of taking baths. I don’t think I took a shower until I was nearly 14. Regardless of the fact that I successfully debated the merits of showers over baths when I was in grade whatever grade that was when I was in the debate group. I won the argument that showers were better than baths and I had never, up to that point, taken a shower in my life.
~Ok, temporary sidebar. How curious. I’ve never considered the weight of that. Of a young girl who is taught to argue the benefits of something she has never tried and does so successfully. Does that make her a liar? An actress of some sort? Honestly, the debates we had in the pace class really did often feel like plays. We were pulled from regular school to do puzzles and solve problems and retrain our brains to expansion and brainstorm ideas. Imagine if that was something offered to everyone? We were taught to think so far outside the box there was no longer a box. Maybe that was the beginning of the end for my school career. Curious. I’ll revisit this another time. Back to the bathtub. ~
I honestly didn’t believe that showers were better. I still don’t. I understand their efficiency, their brevity, their logic. I understand that unless you’re taking a languorous shower, which I love to do, you’re probably using less water than in a bath. Especially if you’re filling a clawfoot.
In my tiny house, next to the lake-pond(ocean) at the end of the road(lane) I have a magnificent clawfoot tub. There is another bathroom with a shower. Decadence. I don’t think I’ve ever lived in a house with two bathrooms before. I’ve used the shower once since I’ve been here. The bathtub is in front of a window that early morning light streams through. In the summertime, the honeysuckle bushes bloomed ferociously so that I was taking baths in sunshine and scent. It fills fast, it drains faster, the water that comes out is perfectly hot. A bath lovers’ dream.
The best baths are the ones that don’t have to be rushed. Isn’t it like that with everything though? Perhaps there are things it’s better to rush. I can’t think of any off the top of my head, I’ll come back to that one too.
When I’m in the bath, there’s a moment when everything quiets down. It’s likely as close as I ever get to a state of meditation (I tried the other day, just sitting in the sun…I think I almost lasted a minute. I think sometimes I get there while hula hooping too). That moment when I sit in the bath and the water completely covers me. Every part of me is exactly the same temperature. There is no part of me that isn’t being touched by something that is the same texture all the way through. Right now, sitting here writing this, I am a cacophony of denim, wool, cotton, sheepy slipper texture. My skin is hypersensitized and filled with awareness of differences. Underwater, my skin, my hair, my nails, they cease to be parts and become a whole. When I open my eyes everything is soft. All I can hear is the sound of being underwater. Everything goes away. For just a moment. Which creates a space for all the things I haven’t been able to focus on to sharpen.
Dreams that are fragments become whole stories. Poems that have middles show me their beginnings, sometimes their finish(rarely). Conversations I am terrified to have become clear and simple. Expectations I’ve been carrying around are sluiced away. Is this what it is to be truly relaxed? If I could manage to meditate for longer than 40 seconds at a time would I be able to maintain this strength, this focus when I’m not completely submerged in water? Perhaps this is why I’ve carried the dream of growing up to be a mermaid for so long, because when I’m in the water I feel sane. I feel purposeful. I feel poetic and light and passionate and creative and weightless.
When I die, it’s my hope that it will be a time of my choosing and it will be oceanic in nature. Ideally I’d like it to be on my 111st birthday. Honestly if anyone gets their panties in a bunch about a 111 year old woman deciding to off herself by walking into the sea, they can get stuffed. But speculating on something that is still 73 years away is just silly at this point. Back to present.
When I am in the bath, submerged, I am Delight personified. Before whatever happened happened and she became Delirium (which at least 3 people might remember I dressed up as for hallowe’en in ymir one year regardless of the fact that going as moderately obscure comic book characters can be frustrating when no one knows you’re actually in costume and just look like you would any given day. I had two different coloured contact lenses in!!! My hair was multiple colours!)
Out of the bath I am delirium without the great hair (most days), discombobulated, I lack focus, I start things and never finish them, I write things I am terrified to share because they might not be good enough/too good. I am torn between wanting companionship and wanting to be left the fuck alone. I want to be out in the world, travelling, connecting, building community, sharing, expanding, growing…hiding away, creeping my friends from the safety of an internet connection to ensure they’re doing well but having no more contact than that, afraid of the world’s ideas infringing on my own.
It’s as though I’m torn between living and opting out (when i say opting out, I’m not speaking of the virginia woolf stones in the pocket -just-going-for-a-short-stroll-into-this-river.. get that right out of your head. There are many other less final ways to opt out of living. Ask any well versed hermit).
Underwater, I have courage. When I am naked, I am brave. When I’m vulnerable I am strong.
I wonder if this is part of the reason I love to do dishes. Even if just my hands are submerged, it feels as though everything is fine. What it is I cannot say for sure. Lack of gravity? A hearkening to the time before we crawled out of the sea? A sad regret that we didn’t follow the whales back in when they went? Something simpler? A metaphoric cleansing made literal? A shadow self drowned to make way for a soggy phoenix from the depths? A rememberance of Atlantis or Mu or Lemuria?
This is my rambling ode to water. It’s more of a realization than a ramble. Ideally we find those things that enliven us, that make us calm, that make us light and joy and focused and pleased, whether it lasts a moment or a lifetime. (honestly I don’t put much stock in that lifetime ideology. For one, who would want to feel the same all the time? Watch Brain Candy if you’d like to know how that works out. And two, the very thing that makes the moments joyful is that they are fleeting. They’re called moments, not really long durations of awesome.)
I find it inside a bubble of my own creation.
I often joke about not wanting my bubble of shaggy icelandic ponies singing plinky plink songs to my while stroking my hair and telling me that everything is going to be grand to be burst.
I like it in here. Is it less of a bubble when one knows it’s a bubble? That’s not to say there isn’t space for things that aren’t shaggy icelandic ponies playing plinky plink music in here. In fact, I would be so bold as to suggest it could encompass the all. The whimsy of the everyday to the stoicism of the fantastic.
Everything is wildly, happily, insanely, perfectly delirious with colour. Indigo, gold, oranges, red, violet, greens and blues so rich it might make you laugh out loud to seem them. Submerged, this is so. There is time, there is space, there is wisdom because there is patience.
This bravery, these moments of clarity, I’m sure I have them on land as well. Standing and breathing air, I circle around to sanity often. Perhaps I just don’t recognize it as readily because it’s not as quiet when it happens.
I carry with me the ability to transcend solid,
I leave behind the ephemeral exhalation of a gas
And find the state of being most sane.
I flow and dance and retrieve the parts of myself
I had thought lost.
They were hidden in mist,
In moments of thirst,
in a fingertips’ pruny saturation
and tears exhausted in a red eyed sob.
They slid across a surface,
dwelling within tension but never breaking it.
These parts of me are contained
I spit into the sea and the sea carries me
To become afternoon rain.
So, still totally unsure about where this ended up. Often I ramble but the circle reforms itself and I find myself with closure. Not this time. Which scares me more than I would normally admit. As frenetic as I demand people believe me to be, there is a certain fused logic to my ramblings. Also, I rarely revisit things. I write and it’s done, cast off to be whatever it is. Pieces, fragments, snapshots. Nothing cohesive, nothing that could be measured or proven to exist beyond the whackadoodle barnyard/sea of quiddity that is my mind’s eye. Nothing I could be held accountable for. Nothing that could be used as a unit of measurement to quantify Trish. I tell myself I don’t mind but I’m starting to feel that I work way too hard on keeping myself lost.
I read somewhere (no idea, please don’t ask) that Jack Kerouac never edited anything he wrote. And decided on the spot, since he was my favourite writer in that moment, that I too would never edit anything I wrote. One and done. If you have to go back you’re shit. Don’t go back. Don’t ever go back. Don’t turn around, don’t look behind, forward, forward, always forward.
First of all, if he was published, there had to be revisions. DIdn’t there? Is he historically known as being the only writer who wrote great prose right out of the gate? Sent it to the publisher who was heard to say, fire all the editors, we won’t be needing them anymore? That seems crazy to me. But I latched onto it and pushed forward. It’s very sad because occasionally I’ll revisit something and know that it needs more work, it deserves more work, but that’s just not my style.
Maybe it’s time to rethink that style.
Someone who I think much of recently said to me “If it scares you, then that is exactly where you need to go.”
I’m on my way.