On Wednesday, I spoke with an older gentleman about moving into a place he owns. He does not want to rent it, but allow someone to live in it in exchange for cleaning and cooking. He built this place, this cabin, by hand. Almost every piece of furniture within is something he made, and the cabin itself, except for the drywall, was all fabricated by him. It is lovely.
He calls the building next door, the large wood working studio and office, where he lives, his fortress. He calls it that because, he told me, he does not want to let the world in. As we stood in his office, on the top floor of that building, looking out the windows he made by hand, he pointed out to the bay, the ships, and the island across the way. When he told me about his desire to keep the world out, I told him that I was just the opposite; that I was the type who worked constantly to open wider to let more and more of it in.
If I decided to live in the cabin, it would have to be kept in pristine condition as I lived in it. None of my things could be left around, and I couldn't use the kitchen because he does not want to have to repair any damage I do. I could sleep there, write there, bathe there, but cooking would have to be done in the big building. Even the tea I drink morning, noon and night would be made in the fortress.
I ask, to myself, to the universe, but not to him, why would you create such a sweet space in which to live, and then allow no one, not even yourself to really live in it? Why make functional items if they are to serve time in a museum-type environment without the warmth of a human hand around them?
Today, I met another man. I met him virtually, on The Tinder, but still, I met him. I can say this because in the few hours in which we exchanged information, He revealed things about himself which made me feel a form of remorse and rage I do not remember having felt before. The experiences this man endured at the hands of other men shattered me. His stories of abuse are some of the worst I have heard. I in fact was so shocked by his stories that I feel like sharing them here might also be abusive. They are not my stories, after all...not mine to tell, except to say that I am not sure I would have the will to live if I had to endure what he did.
Yet, there he is, on Tinder, looking for love and whatever else, opening himself up to whatever heartache might want to find him next. In the time we texted, I was blown away, over and over again, that he could go through such torturous experiences and still have the guts, have the fortitude, to try and open up again.
And there it was. The contrast of the two men, staring me in the face. One, building a fortress of a life, creating objects for no one to touch, furniture for no one to use, and homes for no one to live in, and the other, a man who had been violated in almost every way possible, giving the world another chance.
The gift of these experiences is that I can know that it is a choice. It is a choice to open up or close down, and neither is right or wrong, it is just what you choose, depending on who you are and who you want to become.
Depending on how big you want your world to be.
So, how big do you want your world to be?
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