January 27th, 2019

such a square

done hardened in your heart

eurydice writes her name at the top of a page in her journal and stares at it for much longer than she'd expect to be able to stare at a page with her name written on it and nothing else.

could be a few minutes.

could be days.

eurydice stares at her name until she can close her eyes and see it in negative. who, eurydice thinks, watching her name dissolve into the backs of her closed eyes. who? this seventeen year old catastrophe of incident and emotion? this gathering of regretful need and insatiable aspirations? does eurydice have a soul?

she considers herself, again, as orpheus's girlfriend. she remembers that boundary, such a safe place to land. it was a satisfying form of definition, she acknowledges: sharing the person she believed she wanted to be with someone who wanted her to be that person. it was somewhere to put her identity. it was someplace her identity seemed safe. she supposes this is why she could not keep her relationship with orpheus: it made her complacent with regard to the question of who she was.

who is eurydice? who, again, has eurydice become? she stares at her name. four syllables, it took her a year longer to be able to reliably spell it than her elementary school instructors thought it should. in fact, they brought in the special education consultant, hoping to get eurydice’s interminable set of exhausting and undefinable problems out of their classroom. unfortunately, over the course of the consultant’s interaction with eurydice, it became apparent that someone possessing a phd in learning disabilities couldn't spell or pronounce eurydice’s name either. eurydice taught him how to do it. she sat down across the table from him and fleshed out her clever mnemonics with a blue crayon on yellow construction paper while her teacher stood there watching, sweaty and slack jawed. the consultant left with a dirty look, another 45 minute drive each way to terrorize a second grader who taught herself to read and already had the vocabulary of a eighth grader, but later that day eurydice couldn't remember if y or i came first again and she was so ashamed of herself her she forgot how to tie her shoes.

when she met orpheus, she thought for sure she'd never remember his three syllables but making it into such an obstacle meant it never became a problem. anyway, their names seemed to go together, she felt. they connected, they complimented, they made a sort of eight syllable song: orpheus and eurydice. orpheus later confessed that he'd felt equally intimidated by eurydice's name and vehement refusal of its most obvious diminutive: dicy. no, she shortly pre-empted. do not call me "dicy." dicy eurydice had been a sixth grade taunt. small and heavily qualified mercy that by middle school, the vocabulary was lost to those unrhymed obscenities preferred by adolescents. it didn't matter which taunt she might have chosen, given the choice of taunts: she was never afforded such a choice and was just happy to not have to deal with both at once.

all the same, it was orpheus who found a diminutive in what she felt was an absence of reasonable diminutives: orpheus who gave her "rue" with their first kiss. she found "ore" shortly thereafter and that was it: they defined each other, they gave each other form, they called one another out of the formlessness of their younger selves.

now again, these months later, these months down a slippery slope of whatever it was eurydice had expected to be by this point in her life, eurydice stares at a page with her full given name written out on it and nothing else.

"you need to be yourself," her grandmother told her, that awful day when she got home from school with awful gossip and couldn't stop crying and couldn't explain why. "you need to be who you need to be," her grandmother said, and eurydice wondered who exactly that was.

because: it could be any number of variables from here to there, from now to later, singular or multiple, unscented or made to order. could be anything, any combination of, the either or the or: or not really, because it is what it is and that's really all it could ever be. what was that, again? does eurydice have a soul?

what eurydice meant to say when she instead said nothing was that her opinion on the matter was important. her opinion on the matter deserved to be heard, and heard by someone who was actually listening. she just wasn’t entirely sure, yet, what it was, her opinion. she definitely had one, though.

people forget or they don’t know or they won’t find out because generally, in this day and age, people are not taught or even encouraged to listen. to anyone, not even themselves, especially not themselves. more or less, that’s the truth eroding our will to continue as a species. we live in a system where the privileged few profit mightily from the majority not cultivating the ability to listen to themselves or anyone else. because of this, many people neglect that aspect of abuse recovery where the recovering person begins to identify themselves as a person again and needs a few trustworthy people in their daily experience to help them integrate this work in a meaningful way.

when you’ve been repeatedly knocked out of yourself by being victimized; when your value has been repeatedly depreciated as a means of harvesting it from you, at least ruining it enough so that you won’t have it either; when strangers won’t respect you as a human being, when other human beings try to force you into a reality where they can revoke your humanity in order keep thinking of themselves as decent folk who deserve nice things in spite of their abuse:

when strangers act as gatekeepers to the idea of being human, getting yourself back from that? it’s not a switch. it’s a slippery uphill climb on unstable terrain. there will be landslides. regressions. implosions and worse. you need a good belay, someone anchored to meaningful perspective, someone who unequivocally affirms your humanity, even when, especially when, you have been trained in several extremely effective methods of denying this yourself.

it wasn’t exactly that orpheus became abusive by the end, not overtly, not exactly. it wasn’t like he ever targeted eurydice directly. it was more that he stopped serving as her belay and became resentful of the consequences of that.

[there's more, but wow, it's hard.]