Sunday, March 14, 2010

Three-Ring Circus

DeAnn Louise Daigle AWW 2/13/10 w/Marta

Color. Right away I see lots and lots of color. The non-subject, non-topic for me always inspires something even if it’s nothing at all. For some reason – mysterious to me – this non-topic inspires dislike.

Perhaps because circus reminds me of the closest thing to what I experienced as circus. The Northern Maine Fair, which took place in Presque Isle for all of my growing-up years was not something I especially enjoyed, although I was expected to enjoy it. I disliked the fast, tortuous rides that turned the body in every possible posture—the very thought of which made me physically ill. I didn’t even like the idea of the so-called more gentle merry-go-round with its tall colorfully painted horses. You’d never get me on one of those.

I did accept, at least, one time riding in one of the booths that were also scattered among the horses on the merry-go-round. I felt dizzy afterwards. My aunt went with me.

The one and only thing I did enjoy was the pink cotton candy. And someone in the family, usually my uncle, winning some kind of little doll or toy animal on a stick for me to carry home after the day was over delighted me as well. These were the high points.

The fireworks at night, I dreaded most of all. I loved the colors and beautiful forms in the sky, but the noise made me terribly nervous and was too much like thunder for my liking. It was closer than thunder and so much the more nerve-racking. I don’t remember Mom and Dad taking me to this affair. I do remember my aunt and uncle, who were visiting from New York taking me. Sometimes my Maine cousins were present. It’s all a blur. They would have been there, of course.

I do recall one year when my closest cousin Carl coaxed me into the tilter-world. He said, “It’ll be fun. See, it’s not so bad.” By then, I was probably ten or eleven years old. I figured I should give this a try. Maybe it will be fun. It was not.

I found myself certain I was going to die during this awful whirling business. We sat inside something like a cup-and-saucer-shaped enclosure and held on to a metal bar, while it began slowly at first to turn and while turning being whirled around along with other cups and saucers on this metal platform that was also moving round and round like a giant turn table. I must have been out of my mind to agree to this. I screamed at the top of my lungs, it seemed. But no one heard me. I wanted it to stop. I wanted to get off. I couldn’t even hear myself scream, the sound of the whole thing drowned out every other possible noise. I think my cousin Rita was with me in this thing. Each cup and saucer held only two people. When the rig finally came to a stop, I tried to pretend I was fine. “Get up,” she said to me. “It’s over.” You could have fooled me. I was seeing green. Everything was green. I did get off the thing, but whirled around for the rest of the day. I was sick, sick, sick – and knew then, that I would never, ever get on one of these rides again.

But, I think a few years later, I rode the roller coaster. Then, it was for sure – never again.

There are things in life that are worth trying at least once, but then, there are things that are best well-left alone. Later on, I would trust my gut more than what others of my peers would insist was great fun.

Perhaps I missed out on lots of fun, but I think not. Not for me. I chose my own spaces and places – even if it meant I was more of an observer than a participant. Even when it came to marriage and children; if I had really, really thought that would have been fun for me, I feel sure now that I would have tried this. I know all of this better in retrospect from my current vantage point – so many years away from adolescence and young adulthood – all of which was hard labor for me to navigate. I’m so relieved now to have it all behind me. I am pleased with things in my life just as they are right now.

I have questioned, I have explored, I still do, but with less of “my life depends on it” feeling inside. I never married. I have no children. I’ve felt sad about that in the past.

I have a very significant other in my life. It’s really quite wonderful that we’ve found each other – different from one another as we are – we also share some common threads that bind us. I don’t feel the need to examine all of it that closely anymore – even as I write this – I have a propensity I know to do just that. But, that too is growing less and less.

It’s hard to put into words the really close stuff. Some distance is required to get some kind of expressive hold on it.

I read a quote by Erica Jong not too long ago. Something like this. “All we humans need in life are something to eat, something to drink and someone to love us.”

I like that. It’s not someone to love that she says, but someone to love us – which I think is more honest and true. To feel loved is the most wonderful thing in life. We’re always saying or hearing that we should love one another. Love is a verb. It’s important to love someone. It’s important to love yourself. But it feels ever more true to me that we need to be loved. And that means that we also need to let love in; to believe that we are loved; that it is true when someone says they love us; that they really mean it. But, again that implies that I must do something. I have to be able to let the love in. I’m getting weary of doing so much. But in order to eat and drink, I must work, so it’s no surprise that I must work also to allow someone to love me.

Letting someone love me in the way they want to love me without my dictating the way I want to be loved is also my work. But it’s a work I can enjoy and a ride I can tolerate even if it is a bit of a tilt-a-whirl or tilter world.

1 comment:

Marta Szabo said...

I remember when you wrote this one. It haunted me for days as I first stepped into Paris, where carousels are sprinkled unexpectedly throughout the city. I kept thinking of this story and the horror of the painted horses...