People

detail of "The Family"  <br> 1996    10" x 3" varies >br>  ceramic

detail of "The Family"  1996   10" x 3" varies   ceramic

 

 

A friend told me he’d give me the shirt off his back if I needed it.   I could tell he told the truth.  I saw a woman put herself in the middle of a median with heavy traffic and hold a sign asking for help. I could tell she really needed it. But then I thought: “Cathy, who are you to decide if she looks like she really needs it or not? Isn’t the fact she has so visibly announced she is in need ENOUGH? I gave her some money just for the courage it took to ask but I would have liked it if I extended my hand just because she asked and not because I was proud of her because she did.

But why? Why are we so proud? Why is it considered better not to need? To appear independent and strong and capable? To put forward the whole theater of perfection and the satisfaction of: “I can do it myself.”?

I am bored silly with myself. I have plumbed the depths and am better for it but HONESTLY! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

What interests me now is connection. How you and I are similar. We each have frailties and strengths. Some more noticeable than others to the outside world but there just the same for each of us. As I learn to be with my own, I can better be with yours. I can’t honestly say that when I see a person more disabled than I, that I don’t recoil just a bit before I gather myself into the softhearted compassion growing in me. It has to do with this very visceral recognition of the non-existent line between us. Not:  ‘But for the grace of God, there go I’,  but: ‘There go I’….. In that instant, I am in the center of the creation/destruction myth as, on some level I register the gymnast in me, the hiker, the biker, the walker, the woman gliding across the cafeteria with all eyes on her as a poised woman, AND the stumbler, the needer of help, the canceler of plans, the -not-so-sure-of-herself-like-before woman.

I attract different people now. Real people with the courage to do what it takes to get all these pesky walls down, be real, be transparent…now THAT is strength! Are we each any different, really, than that girl in the median of the road holding the sign? There might be more graceful ways of asking but, in essence, I NEED YOU… and you need ME and pride has nothing to do with it, nothing at all…

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