I gave this tiny book to Chris as a gift.
Two days later I took it back.
Then I reached my gecko fingers onto a scanner to show you.
Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk from Kentucky.
I don't know what that means either.
But I love him.
He's cute and profound, and in my mind's eye he is a tiny wizened elf.
And if he doesn't like that image, his words should not be published in adorable fairy books.
My one beef is with his hair.
He is just "regular human bald" as opposed to "monk bald." I want him to have a donut of hair with a shiny bald spot in the middle.
Also he is wearing some sort of Urban Outfitters jacket.
He could be monkier, I guess.
Other than that, I am a big fan.
My pocket fairy Thomas discusses false selves and real selves. He says our false selves are identities we cultivate to function in society. Our real selves are a deep religious mystery known entirely only to God. Of course this resonates with us, because haven't you always sensed you were mysterious and fascinating? And perhaps the world is missing your wondrousness, because they are distracted by your ponytail and yoga pants.
But in all seriousness, we feel that tension, don't we? In standup comedy, the goal is to find your voice. Same goes for writing, poetry, painting, any expression of art I suppose. However, I feel it in everyday life, don't you? As if what you truly feel and value is always at odds with what you express. Constantly feeling as if you misrepresent yourself...can't quite get it "right." "Right" meaning your heart and soul's truth.
It is difficult to get through our hard candy shell and into our soft chocolate center, because of
1) how we cover ourselves, and
2) how the world covers us.
Tom says, "I wind experiences around myself and cover myself with pleasures and glory like bandages in order to make myself perceptible to myself and to the world, as if I were an invisible body that could only become visible when something visible covered its surface."
That bandage line is some deep shit.
It hurts my heart. Does it hurt yours? Maybe not because you're reading it secondhand. Might as well be a meme.
But I think of my hobbies and the ways I pass the time, the way I package myself for others, and I feel a little sad. Then I think of you doing the same, and how it's hard to get down to your center which is probably soft and interesting.
And I feel very sad for all of us and what we are missing.
Ironically, as a society we are a people who are encouraged to put it out there, be real, genuine. And to be fair, we certainly seem to let it all hang out on social media.
But maybe something is skewed.
Maybe the issue is how we value our true self. I think we throw ourselves out there sometimes defiantly, as if to say, "That's right. That's me. I dare you to hate it." When really, we already dislike ourselves, and the real dare for ourselves and others is to love it.
"Alienation begins when the culture divides me from myself, puts a mask on me, gives me a role I may or may not want to play. Alienation is complete when I become completely identified with my role."
Elf Tom is encouraging us to peel away everything, the masks, the bandages. Maybe we are afraid there won't be anything good remaining.
I think about our souls.
You can live without limbs, eyes, ears, mouth...we have a lot of extra parts, and thank God for that.
But if you scaled down to the deepest truest part of yourself, what would be left?
I know this; what would be left, would be ENOUGH.
"If I do not know who I am, it is because I think I am the sort of person everyone around me wants to be. Perhaps I have never asked myself whether I really wanted to become what everyone else seems to want to become.
Perhaps I do not admire what everyone else seems to admire.
If I realized this, maybe I would begin to live after all....
Liberated from saying what I do not think and acting in a way that betrays God's truth and the integrity of my own soul."
Hmmm, maybe so.
Love and fairy wings,
Pam & Tom Thumb