I wonder what it would mean to be easy.
Although I have been guilty of uttering the absurdity, “I’m easy!” (usually in the foamy wake of “Whatever you want!”), not even the centipede on my ceiling would be fooled by this.
I am exquisitely uneasy. I scramble my eggs to a crisp. I don’t eat eggs, or crisps, or anything that makes it easy for anyone to feed me.
I am secretly exhausted but summon meteors when I must be social. I enter every room like it’s the final room, powered by point-blank exuberance and good-fairy glitter. I collapse into wool socks with grinning cats.
I am writing this on the eve of Easter, conceptually my favorite holiday, resenting mightily the fact that I must leave the chrysalis and butter the day with my fluttering. I realize this is not a formal requirement, but I can either hide or hurl meteors; there is no sustainable middle ground.
You are reading this long after Easter, and by now I will have come and gone and felt tsunamis of love for the gathered characters. I am left guilty for the resentment and ready to resent the next outing. I will have asked Jesus to love through me. I will have asked Jesus for energy. I will have thanked Jesus for the holy challenges I take for granted in the name of comfort.
I am a connoisseur of comfort, a shortcoming I could blame on my association with cats. But I am even less flexible than a species known for its rage over fifteen-minute delays in meat nuggets. I have taught myself all too well to order my days, rigid routines like lighthouses that keep me off the shoals.
I wonder what it would mean to be easy.
I wonder if it’s possible to look back and say, “on that day in history, zero diggity was given.”
I wonder how it feels to watch someone eat whipped ricotta and say, “can I have a taste?”
I wonder what it’s like to pepper your calendar with doings and not approach each one with the attitude, “seventeen hours from now, it will be over.”
I wonder where the extroverts find their stamina, what elegant extraction tools they’ve invented for harvesting energy from human contact.
I wonder if my whirling is overcompensation for my exhaustion. Do I pummel myself to prove I love ferociously, coyote-woman ravenous to tenderize the world? It’s not that I don’t want to be with you, it’s just that I am cratered with introversion. I need to lock myself in the lighthouse if I am to send beams across the bay.
I need to love you in my lightning-round way, delighting in you full-strength until my strength runs out. I need to love you across the water, your sea chaplain comforting you line-by-line when you leak your life through letters and email.
I need to remember Emily Dickinson and Julian of Norwich, Virginia Woolf and St. Therese, absent from easy events but present to the people they were given.
I wonder what it would mean to go easy on myself, the Vassar girl once chastised for keeping her dorm door closed, the zesty girl facing a three-day recovery from every lunch date. I wonder what it would mean to declare my difficult habits my habitat, to cordon off protected wildlands, to own my environment with fondness.
I wonder how much light would sparkle on the sea if everyone was as salty as my parents, peacemakers who proclaim me fine and don’t mind my dry-clean-only hangups.
I wonder if the opposite of easy isn’t difficult (usually voiced in the barmy grief of “I know I’m difficult…), but challenging.
Challenging like astronomy. Challenging like forgiveness. Challenging like vision and revision.
Challenging like unscrambling the weird we want and the worries that warp us.
I wonder what it would mean to grow without greasing myself in guilt.
It won’t be easy.
As Development Director for a cat sanctuary, Angela Townsend bears witness to mercy for all beings. This was not the path she expected with a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, but love is a wry author. Angie also has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Vassar College. She has had Type 1 diabetes for 32 years, laughs with her mother daily, and delights in the moon. She is the lead writer for Felis Catus, the official blog of Tabby’s Place. Angie has been published in Agape Review and has nonfiction scheduled for publication with Amethyst Review, MockingOwl Roost, and The Young Ravens Literary Review.