Wind Catalog #212a—A healthy gust for the first kite of the season redolent of the dense woods surrounding the hill upon which the kite mingles with other kites with just a hint of fresh dogwood and deer; your father is with you. Vintage 1965.
Each time I’m asked to tell about myself, I find myself starting the same way: “My name is Kelsey and I’m nineteen..”
but what I’d really like to say is:
“My name means island of the ships but once
I found a translation that said I’m a burning shipwreck-
not a burning ship but a ship that has caught fire
after the wreckage and well, I’d say that’s more fitting.”
I’ve learned that people don’t have time for about me’s.
They need two things: a name and an indication you’re someone special.
The doctors, they want facts not details.
“I broke my leg when I was three, it’s a funny story actually-“
The right or the left?
The teachers, they want interests, hobbies.
You’re sad, yes, but what do you like to do?
The adults are a spew of questions.
What school do you go to? What classes are you taking?
What do you plan on becoming? Got a boyfriend?
People my own age are the worst.
“I’m planning on an English degree with a concentration in creative writing.”
Yeah, aren’t we all. So how many times have you, you know,
I’m pulled apart, my interests travelling highway 2
my goals at a stop light at traffic hour,
my medical history on a billboard for the world to see.
But what about me?
Where’s the chance to say,
“I hang on to fistfuls of poetry like loose change in my pockets,
and I keep waiting for the day that the world turns upside down
so I can swim with the stars.
I’m not afraid of darkness, it’s a loneliness I can empathize with it.
It’s the blackholes like cigarette burns inside of me that get troublesome.
I walk through graveyards and read the dashes between years,
each a story I’ll never know but sometimes
I create my own.”
I built a timely room beside the river, The slope beneath descending to the water. Some mornings it is vibrant with the glance Of sunlight brightened on the little waves The wind drives shoreward, stirring leaves and branches Over the roof also. It is a room Of pictures and of memories of some Who are no more in time, and of the absent And of the present the unresting thoughts. It is a room as timely as the body, As frail, to shelter love’s eternal work, Always unfinished, here at water’s edge, The work of beauty, faith, and gratitude Eternally alive in time. Around The walls the trees like waves, like men, Come up, come up, expend themselves, and die. The water shines back the unending sky.
—Wendell Berry, from section V of “Sabbaths 2004” in Given: Poems (CounterPoint, 2006)
I’ve actually felt liberated in a lot of ways as I’ve gotten older—like I kind of secretly enjoy it. That’s one of the reasons, though, that I can’t really engage too much in the Internet. You cannot please everybody. When you start out as a kid and then you have these great roles early on and even into your twenties, you’re doing movies like Reality Bites, people want you to stay the same, but then they kind of don’t. People don’t want you to get older, but then it’s like, “Why do you look young?” It’s funny, because I went straight from the Interview shoot to this premiere, and I still had on all the makeup, and my friend told me that some people were literally saying that I’d had work done—which, by the way, I’ve found is like normal hygiene now on sets. I’m not trying to knock it, but, you know, I have a little bit of traffic now on my forehead—which I’m like very proud of actually—and it’s interesting how people just instinctively are like, “Oh, maybe you should get something done for that.” And it’s like, “Really?” So I’m excited about this new phase. You know, my favorite actress growing up was Ruth Gordon from Harold and Maude . That’s who I wanted to be. So I’m flattered that someone thought I looked nice at the premiere, but I just want to remember to be present and to have that sort of thoughtfulness about what I’m doing. As much as I hear people say that thing of, “Look, it’s a job—it’s a gig,” even if you’re doing a scene and it’s just like two lines, so much can happen—and it can happen with a huge movie star who is brilliant or with a day player. I remember having a moment like that when I was 14 and working with Jason Robards. It’s in those moments that you fall in love with acting. Or re-fall in love with it.
Giving yourself to others without expecting anything in return is only possible when you have been fully received. Every time you discover that you expect something in return for what you have given or are disappointed when nothing comes back to you, you are being made aware that you yourself are not yet fully received. Only when you know yourself as unconditionally loved — that is, fully received — by God can you give gratuitously. Giving without wanting anything in return is trusting that all your needs will be provided for by the One who loves you unconditionally. It is trusting that you do not need to protect your own security but can give yourself completely to the service of others.
Faith is precisely trusting that you who give gratuitously will receive gratuitously, but not necessarily from the person to whom you gave. The danger is in pouring yourself out to others in the hope that they will fully receive you. You will soon feel as if others are walking away with parts of you. You cannot give yourself to others if you do not own yourself, and you can only truly own yourself when you have been fully received in unconditional love.
A lot of giving and receiving has a violent quality, because the givers and receivers act more out of need than out of trust. What looks like generosity is actually manipulation, and what looks like love is really a cry for affection or support. When you know yourself as fully loved, you will be able to give according to the other’s capacity to receive, and you will be able to receive according to the other’s capacity to give. You will be grateful for what is given to you without clinging to it, and joyful for what you can give without bragging about it. You will be a free person, free to love.”
— Henri J. M. Nouwen, “Allow Yourself to be Fully Received,” The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish To Freedom (via discourseoflove)