Thursday, February 21, 2013

Never Say Die: Requiem for the Grandiose

Requiem for the Grandiose

©1997 Susan Noyes Anderson
The Comstock Review

The day you killed me, I thought––What a drag––

and started making funeral arrangements.

I'd deal with all the requisite estrangements.

If dying was the task, then I'd die fine.

"A wooden casket?" No, I'd take the steel.

"They rust? All right, then make mine copper, please."

"Impervious," they crowed. That worked for me.

Off-white, of course, with roses at the crown.

Let it be said, "She always stopped to smell them."

The eulogy? (Could this have been poor taste?)

Who better to deliver it than me?

Though dead, I eulogized myself so well,

that people barely noticed I was gone;

though later some were sorry to conclude

that I had failed––sometimes they felt the loss.

And resurrection did exceed my grasp.

I wrote Never Say Die, a Requiem to the Grandiose when I was 45 years old, the year my first book was published. It seems I was treating myself in poetic form to a heavy dose of the martyr, using my "angry" version of humor (translation: sarcasm) to at once validate and honor my experience while working through considerable and not entirely unfounded resentment. (I have always been a fan of writing my way to clarity.) Of course, more than a few of the barbs in this piece were aimed those who needs I was endeavoring, with an empty cup, to fill. (Codependent much?)

What I remember is that I had stretched myself very thin at the time. I felt as if people were pulling at me from all directions, expecting more from me than was reasonable, especially in light of health issues that had become chronic. I was hurt and, yes, angry that no one seemed to notice how overextended I was, and I felt the weight of their continuing expectations. Conversely, I was in the beginning stages of realizing that much of my angst was self-inflicted. (Presenting as superwoman was not a particularly effective way of helping people tune in to my needs!)

Happily, I have grown more adept over the years at finding and maintaining balance in my life...and of owning the fallout when I fail to do so. How reassuring it is to look at things I have written in the past and see tangible proof that growth actually does occur. And I am often surprised at the degree of affection I feel toward my younger, struggling self. I even find myself wanting to take that earlier me under my wing. I guess you could say I am healing (and befriending) my inner chick, and ya know what? It feels good!


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EG CameraGirl said...

You write so well that I can feel the anguish in your words. How wonderful that you can now look back and see how much you have grown since then.

Leovi said...

Beautiful poem. Yes, delicious and sentimental.

karen said...

I SOOOOO understand the process. I, too, have found better ways to handle being overwhelmed, and have learned that it's ok to admit that I can't do it all, and to ask for help. I had to do that just yesterday and was rewarded with a lovely response from a niece that I would love to spend more time with. Growth is good. It's an odd feeling to look at your younger self much as you someone you're very fond of, but maybe you think they're a little silly now. But you love them anyway and wish them well, as you already know the happy ending.

Lola said...

Lovely poem, so reflective yet so full of truth as to how we do grow!

Many thanks for stopping by.

Sistas in Zion said...

We loved the sarcasm in the poem. It's so cool to be able to look back over your writings and remember what was going on in your life in the past. It's like your poetry is the journal to your soul.

Brian Miller said...

smiles...i imagine it does....felt verse as well...and really liked your taking your earlier self under the wing...i am learning again and again...smiles.

Anonymous said...

Great post for N ~ congrats on your writing ^_^

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I am feeling pretty stretched out and overextended myself these days. Maybe presenting myself as superwoman is not the way to go?

I really needed to read this today.

Thank you dear cyber friend!



Peg said...

It is interesting to look back on your writing. You remember the feelings you were having at that time in your life.

Grandma Honey said...

I like how you are actually able to see the growth in yourself through your earlier writings. At each stage of my life I think I've got life figured out, but then I grow and learn more. I feel sorry for those who live short lives and don't get to go through this growth process. But then again, maybe those are the ones who don't need it.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

I really loved it. I'm your newest follower, and thank you for your comment on Becky's blog yesterday!

Kathy M.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

What feeling there is in this poem!

Scudds Harrison said...

That is very heavy poem. I can feel your passion in every verse and lines. You are an incredible writer. Hats off to you.

Splendid Little Stars said...

"befriending your inner chick!" awesome!
a wonderful piece of writing to convey how you were feeling at that time. How wonderful to be able to look back and see growth!

"your poetry is the journal to your soul" Now that's a beautiful piece of writing by Sistas in Zion!

LeAnn said...

There was a much different feeling with this poem. Some real honesty came out in the words of the poem.
You are always amazing to me I love our writings
Blessings and hugs!

Friko said...

One sentence stood out for me: the one where you accept and befriend your younger self.
It’s only now that I am in the second half (well, actually, well into) of my life that I can forgive myself for getting so many things wrong.

I did my best. Is that what you say to yourself?

Robert Brault said...

Sue, I am pretty well awestruck by the meld of art and insight you demonstrate here. I wonder if you realize how the notion of a middle-aged woman befriending her inner chick sets an old man's mind to fantasizing. (smile)

Darlene said...

But Sue, people have always made you over-extend yourself. You are still saying yes, when you should say no...........

Still, I guess you have grown, in that you are more organized and, for the most part, you don't let things upset you quite as much, so that is indeed maturity.

You have experienced so much in your life and I must say, you have handled it so well. When I think of all the people you have counseled, including me, who have benefitted so much, it is almost amazing to me that you can still spread yourself so thin that no one ever feels neglected.

Brian Miller said...

got my book!
it is gorgeous! wow..very nice!!!
starting to read tonight...


Jenny said...

I think you must have been born writing.

I'd love to see your creative writing papers from elementary school!

This was really nifty!

Thanks for linking Miss Sue.


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