The True Connectivity of Life
For a long while, I didn’t eat.
I began the day with tea, carried it out with water, and bedded myself with a hearty twelve ounces of skim milk. This was disordered, they said, which is odd, because I found the order to be the most compelling part. It’s remarkable and horrifying the great catacombs of trivia I accumulated on such tiny bundles of energy, these calories that were as witches to me – feared in all their bastions, hunted and burned to eradication – and still the suspicion sapped my strength. I knew all there was to know about metabolism and still I was a witch-hunter. Did cuticles have calories? Might butter be absorbed through the skin? I suppose this was the disordered part, because I ended up hurting myself quite badly.
There came a point when my heart was waiting two seconds to beat, when my weight scraped along the depths of one hundred pounds with sunken eyes, and they began packaging me up for dispatch. Standing before the mirror, staring at the skeleton I saw there, I realized I had become a witch myself – stooped, yellow, mottled, ugly, ugly in form and spirit. But then I had a thought that killed in me that ordered hysteria and saved my life:
I see the world and all about it as a superfluous beauty. Whatever force sculpted this cosmos did so with inordinate personal inconvenience; where could have lain colorless, motionless discs without force or atmosphere spin globes of unfathomable complexity, dance lights to rival human joy in passion. There is one blissfully singular purpose that unifies all of creation: beauty.
Thus beauty must be my goal as well, but not of my own form, as I had felt before, for I’ve already been created, and when I die, what I am will crumble and dissolve and transfer, not into any paradise, but to grass and stars and foxes, which I find to be far more enviable. I need to live, not because it’s the most decent way to treat my body or my family. Nor because I am destined to do great or terrible things, for the nature of my life’s application is mine to choose.
I need to live because I have a violin some Frenchman strung in 1724 who may go without a home, unfiddled for many years should I abandon him; because I’ve pledged to gather up my stories and scribbles and spend my life writing to the world; because there is so much beauty my frail body is capable of crafting in pale imitation of that master purpose. I will in time pass and shrivel as thin as I’ve ever hoped in my sickest of nightmares, but for now I need my strength so I may sing and strum and fiddle and paint and go to find things. I must make my own beauty and not corrupt that which has been given me.
It was good I thought this, for I was starving then, and now I am finally whole. My music, my art, my words – they sustain me through their wealth, for they are my creations, and I sustain them through my health, for I am His. This, I believe.
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