This just in: I am graceless.
It’s funny, actually. I was thinking about this while fumbling with loose change and falling receipts in a taxi. I was also shaking for no reason, conscious of every inch of my skin while sitting there. I am not a together person. I wish I were but I fumble with everything, even remembering — especially the remembering — that I am graceless.
This was right before I received a long text message from a friend. She told me how I entered into her daily routine this morning, how she looked for artful, soul-feeding things to start the day and today it happened to be my blog. “Your writing is and has always been beautiful,” she said. “I look forward to one day holding a hard copy of your book in my hands and reading it while I drink my usual cup of tea.”
I was too self-conscious, too frustrated with my own awkwardness to cry. But really, I was in awe. I imagined her words floating off my screen and forming a tiny blanket for me to cradle and keep my hands warm. I imagined her, mermaid hair, cup of tea, misty morning window and all, holding a book that — as hard as I tried — simply did not look like it could be mine. I am graceless, and I do not know how people place me in graceful pictures like that.
I didn’t get to tell you how awful February was.
There was so much crying and hurt and giving up, all of which I’m still reeling from. I think every day of my life I am reeling from something. This month welcomed me with tiny, tiny gifts I will tell you about later: some poetry, some color, some plans. March sounds like a calligraphy swirl in warm yellow-gold, March sounds like an apology for how February went. March sounds like who I am when I am fumbling with my gracelessness.
If there is anything keeping the first five days of March steady, it is that I am not hoping for much besides the gravel exactly beneath my feet. I do not draw maps, and I do not reach for my compasses. Occasionally I wait for better weather, and yes, occasionally I catch myself wishing on a dusty dead star. But mostly I am wrestling with, or more like tripping over, realities that the days decide to toss onto my path.
And I keep thinking — even if it breaks my pact of not hoping — that if I accept it, I’ll learn to not be it. I keep thinking maybe whoever first discovered grace did it by embracing her own gracelessness.
It makes me want to cry, loves, and I haven’t cried in days. I busy my hands and take long walks to keep the air before my eyes cold. I wrap my arms around myself and whisper something, squeeze out words like the last precious drops of water, to convince myself to keep going. I promise myself I will make something even if there is nothing inside me to make it with. But for the life of me, I cannot cry. There is not enough grace in me to cry.