On Being Cumbersome: Two Ways to Deal with Too Much

Posted by on Oct 26, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments


Having safely moved into my new dorm room half-way across the country from my usual home, having said goodbye to parents, friends, family, until Thanksgiving, having tamed a massively unruly schedule through the circus that is add-drop, having attained forms to declare my major by the month’s end, having just completed my first paper of the semester, I write to you again.

When this many events occur in the span of two or three weeks, time slows measurably. I have not received my first paycheck yet, and already it seems months since I’ve seen the faces of my mom or dad, or that of a childhood friend who I watched bury her father this summer. And I am missing them, and I am terribly busy in a way that is rewarding, but also numbing.

How do we keep ourselves attuned to the everyday happenings that are the necessary sparks of creativity in environments and situations where the wealth of sensory input is so massive and rich, that it threatens to collapse us? What happens when our perception of reality is so densely packed that wading through it becomes like running in a lake heavy with algae, the bottom sucking your legs in to the calves, or hiking through a kudzu-thickened forest, so populated with vine you can no longer see?


Remember your physics, or beliefs, or semantics, about reality. I have a friend, and she thinks she is probably a nihilist, so we talk about what it means to exist instead of doing our homework.  We both believe that what is “real” is personal— nobody has the exact same truths and, therefore, truth is relative. Sitting in a shabby, cushioned booth on the second floor of the everything building on campus (part theater, part student union, part dance club, part grocery store, part radio station, part attic storage room and bat residence, part temporary home), she tells me there is a “reality” that none of us can perceive exactly. She says it exists outside us, but it is there. I tell her I think we all have our own realities, and nobody’s is the same. Who is right, we debate. We are saying the same thing.


“La fría idea de que todo el cuerpo es una sola carne. (The cold idea that body is all one flesh.” “Our inert bodies of mud.”  –Mónica Mansour

Desenmarañarse – to untangle oneself/itself, to sort out

There is a necessary fumbling to how we navigate the gap between our truth and the truth of anyone else. My dad texts me, tells me he is watching the Cowboys play, and he is looking for a friend of mine on the sidelines, who recently took a job as cheerleader. Football games mean family, football games mean people bash up against each other, its cold outside, and I’m not paying much attention, except to when the men of my family leap and yelp about a play, and the dogs bark at them, the commotion necessarily inclusive of them, outbursts inciting more outbursts. I did not remember this new cheerleader existed, in public, on television now, before her name was typed out and sent to me. We do not know what lies written in the book until we open it— what we have to write down without the triggers to do so. When the world is too much, read everything you can, and let the seeping in of new text provide a filter for the barrage of your independent orbit around a life; strain out the unnecessary with what you gain from books, and the important, the triggers of creativity, will worm their way in. When you fumble, hands too numb to catch the ball, too sticky with pond scum, too cut up with nettles and thorns, remember that being cumbersome is natural, and without it as resistance, the work we do would be too simple, too easy to be worthwhile.

plane photoFaith Padgett was born and raised in the suburbs of Texas and is currently a Creative Writing/Spanish double major at Oberlin College in northern Ohio. Her poems have appeared in Hanging Loose and several anthologies including the Poetry Society of Texas’ student anthologies and the YoungArts anthology for 2014. She has won several Scholastic regional silver and gold keys, and was a semi-finalist in the Presidential Scholars program in 2014. When not working for Spry or writing, Faith can be found sipping tea with a book of poetry or walking through the prairie with one of her four adopted mutts. 

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