Emily Dickinson

I had grand plans of writing a super inspiring post, but the ideas I had for that have disappeared with the day (I blame the two year olds I watched for 8 hours straight today).

Have I ever mentioned how much I adore the works of Emily Dickinson?

About a year ago I went to a library sale and bought a huge book of her "Collected Poems" and since then, it's been my constant companion through times both good, and bad.

This morning I woke up at 5:00am with a stuffy nose, a cough, high blood sugar, and the inability to fall back asleep. Deciding to make the best of my time, I ran out to my car and dug through my trunk to find Emily among the remnants of my freshman year of college.

For two hours I sat in my bed reading poem after poem and scribbling illegible notes in the margins of the pages. This is probably going to sound super dramatic, but I found myself in her words. She captures the human experience so well and with a clarity that is hard to find even in one's own thoughts.

As I re-read over the poems that once influenced me so deeply during the epoch of my eating disorders, I realized that their meanings were temporary and pliable--as all good literature should be.

One poem in particular keeps running through my head:
Pain has an element of blank;
it cannot recollect
when it began, or if there were
A day when it was not.
It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.
Isn't it interesting how we tend to get tunnel vision during times of trial, or as Emily puts it, pain? I can specifically remember reading this poem and nodding my head in agreement as I read each stanza with tears running down my face. During those times I couldn't see a future without my life being ruled by eating or a past when I was free from the dictates of those disorders.

But now I am as you see me, no harm done.
Our share of night to bear,
Our share of morning,
Our blank in bliss to fill,
Our blank in scorning.
Here a star, and there a star,
Some lose their way.
Here a mist, and there a mist,
I've learned that change comes slowly, and we usually only receive brief glimpses of the progress that has taken place.
For instance, a few weeks ago I ordered a size Medium top online with the hope that it would fit. When the package arrived today, I rushed to try it on (And in my excitement I dropped the shirt in the toilet...). As I held the shirt in my hands, I knew that it was too small for me--despite the fact that it was the "right" size (One thing that I've learned--while having my self-esteem tested during clothing shopping, is that different stores have different measurements for general sizes...you could be a 10 at one store and a 14 at another...it's definitely a marketing conspiracy...). Although I was disappointed, I wasn't hurt by the fact that I was larger than what I thought I should be.
I even gave the shirt to my older sister (who is much smaller than I am...it was a definite sensitive topic a few years back) and I wasn't upset by that either.
As usual, I think I've lost myself in my thought process....definitely took a detour with that story....
Anyways, I guess what I'm trying to say is that after reading 100+ pages of poetry this morning, I've realized that I'm different from the individual that read those same pages only a few short years ago.
Read, sweet, how others strove,
Till we are stouter;
What they renounced,
Till we are less afraid;
Side note:
I just noticed that there's a quote above the computer here at Aspen Grove that I've been staring at for the past few blog posts. 
It says, "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."
Food for thought.
Also, it goes well with my "Aspen Grove" post a few weeks back.

1 comment

  1. Emily is one of my favorites as well. Have you read her poem about hope and birds?