Discover more from the animal eats
Come here, I am alive
On wanting more
A uniquely challenging year, we’ll call it.
Everyone everywhere, we were all of us, in our distant bubbles, discovering how much more we’ve needed. We’ve needed more than we’re taught to expect or ask for. More honesty and compassion, more affirmation. More justice. More integrity. More hope.
It’s okay to want more.
For all it’s scumsucking, lethal and unrelenting fuckery, 2020 proved, in no uncertain terms, that we need more to survive.
We need to dream bigger and care more, about ourselves, our environment, and each other. To try more different tactics, a million more tiny experiments.
We’ll need more imagination and support—spiritual, material, creative and otherwise—to test the limits of our potential. More safety, more rest, more courage and conviction…which isn’t to say we must fear less. We live in a vast and violent terrorscape, alongside mass death and blinding indifference, in a society that celebrates guns and punishment, and there are spiders everywhere. There’s so much to be afraid of.
How do we survive/with so much fear?
Make room for it, my therapist might urge, as would Rumi. There’s a poem for everything. Here is one that I love:
“I Give You Back”
I release you, my beautiful and terrible
fear. I release you. You were my beloved
and hated twin, but now, I don’t know you
as myself. I release you with all the
pain I would know at the death of
You are not my blood anymore.
I give you back to the soldiers
who burned down my home, beheaded my children,
raped and sodomized my brothers and sisters.
I give you back to those who stole the
food from our plates when we were starving.
I release you, fear, because you hold
these scenes in front of me and I was born
with eyes that can never close.
I release you
I release you
I release you
I release you
I am not afraid to be angry.
I am not afraid to rejoice.
I am not afraid to be black.
I am not afraid to be white.
I am not afraid to be hungry.
I am not afraid to be full.
I am not afraid to be hated.
I am not afraid to be loved.
to be loved, to be loved, fear.
Oh, you have choked me, but I gave you the leash.
You have gutted me but I gave you the knife.
You have devoured me, but I laid myself across the fire.
I take myself back, fear.
You are not my shadow any longer.
I won’t hold you in my hands.
You can’t live in my eyes, my ears, my voice
my belly, or in my heart my heart
my heart my heart
But come here, fear
I am alive and you are so afraid
I love this poem because it dares me. Us.
To take not just what we love, but fear itself inside.
To become big enough to hold it all.
What would happen if my heart could bear the weight of all I fear:
My parents’ inevitable passing and that of everyone I know.
The gradual diminishing and sudden absence of love.
A large and terrible spider.
Losing my mind.
Apathy, apathy everywhere.
If I could name what I fear and claim it, let it in, I might understand its opposite and make space for that too:
An unending prayer for the joy, health and well-being of all those I hold dear.
Love’s resilience and always triumph—its existence at all a constant wonder.
A spider, still, but like me, just trying to live a decent life, spinning magic from corners and the body’s elegant intelligence.
Curiosity and wisdom. A beautiful mind.
Care, and care, and care.
Could I be so expansive? Could I give it all a home, or at the very least a guest house?
This is the price of wanting more: how much bigger we must become. Hearts and minds, both must grow to love more fiercely and think beyond the borders of what we’re told is possible. Must grow to hold where it hurts when we fail, again and again, at our world-changing schemes and attempts to love and build a home and stay very, very tender. When we want so much, we are bound to fall short, and often. We must be big and strong and hopeful enough to love us even then. I must be more me. You must be more you.
What makes you that way? Run toward it. That’s where you belong. And when you find that place and take your space, promise: you’ll learn to ask for more.