I have been approached often on my trip to Iceland. Usually by British or American men who were always disappointed when I spoke and had not the accent of a native woman. They were looking for the same thing as I was, freedom from the usual. Foreign love, or lovemaking rather. Unfortunately for me, Icelandic men are not as aggressive as American men and I don’t know how to offer myself. I am stuck in a paradox of wanting and not wanting to be devoured. In a state of depressed fever, I eat alone, I drink alone, and I sleep alone.
At dinner tonight I found myself more lonesome than I ever have been. With every bite of food the pain grew deeper and deeper until I just couldn’t contain it any longer. I burst into tears over my pasta in (what has become) a not so rare outpouring of distress. Hung on the walls of the restaurant are Venetian masks; their beautiful painted faces stare out at nothing, for they have no eyes. Their emptiness is consuming. Have I been like a mask on a wall? Still, beautiful, and non-functioning? I wish I could be now. I wish that I could look with nothing at nothing and feel I have filled my purpose. Instead I am more like a marionette-- strings, strings, everywhere strings! Strings stretch tethered from my heart and follow all whom I love into their own nightmares. I am so connected to everything, even though I am so far away.
It is my birthday today, but how could I possibly celebrate when I hate myself so thoroughly? How can I be happy with all that I have lost, when nothing is okay? I stare down at my food and it sits there begging me. "Eat me”, it pleads! I cant because I can hardly even breath. No amount of whisky or wine can cure this intolerable sense of worthlessness, uselessness, meaninglessness. I am alone here, but I am also alone at home.
I sent my food away and the waitress offered me ice cream— When I declined, she said, “No, please, It is on the house— I can see you have had a very bad day and I’d like to help.” That may have been the sweetest thing that’s ever happened to me. The kindness of strangers can be overwhelming at times, but other times it is exactly perfect. She brought out the ice-cream, it was chocolate and pistachio (my favorite) and topped with whipped cream and many different berries. I cried again because I did not deserve the gift, the kindness. I am a failure, not only to my family— To myself. In trying to be a good mother and a good wife, my inner selves have atrophied and I am grieving the loss; the loss of my courage, my will, & my rebellion. I have become so weak that I’m surprised I can do so much as lift my head.