I recently joined Pinterest, even though I really don’t need another social network I have to remember I have (hellllewwww – Google+?). So far, it just seems like a place where I “pin” things I:

  • think are cool, but will probably never get around to doing;
  • think I want, but will probably never get around to buying;
  • think look yummy, but will probably never get around to making.

It’s like creating an alternate version of myself that’s made entirely out of “pins.”  Here’s what I’d wear if I could afford it!  Here’s where I’d write/make music/make art if I had at least one more room in my house!  Maybe that’s not how other people are using it, but this is how it strikes me right now.  An online, visual manifestation of all the things I don’t have or haven’t done.

Pinning or pining.  There doesn’t seem to be much difference.  Just another reminder that I’m fueled by want, but driving around on at least 2 bald tires.

But it’s interesting to go in now and then and see if other people are “pinning” the things I’m “pinning.”  A few days ago I was struck by the sudden need to look at pictures of blanket forts, and sure enough, there are people on Pinterest who also like to look at pictures of blanket forts.

When I was a kid, we had a fairly big playroom in our attic.  This was perfectly suited for sleepovers with our eighty billion cousins.  It was also just the right size for my sister and I to build entire cities of blanket forts.  There were times when we hardly ever slept in our bedroom, in favor of spending the night in our blanket forts.  See ya, Ma…I’m going upstairs to read in my blanket fort.

Blanket forts were incredibly comforting.  At nine years old, I didn’t have the knowledge that this may or may not have represented a yearning to return to the womb, but I definitely understood that being in a small, soft space with my Madeleine L’Engle books was vastly preferable to going out and having to pretend to be normal around other people, which was exhausting.

I wonder, now, why I stopped engineering these ways to comfort myself, and went straight for the sources of self-harm that presented themselves as means of comfort. Probably because these seemed to be more sophisticated, and – well – normal. Alcohol.  Drugs.  “Relationships.”  There’s a reason, I think, that so many of us refer to drinking as “fortifying” ourselves before having to go out there and put on our happy faces.  I could have saved myself a lot of grief if I’d just made blanket forts instead of getting shitfaced.

Over the past 10 years that I’ve been in recovery, I’ve been re-learning those means of creative comfort.  I rediscovered writing poetry, stringing words like blankets around the thing I’m struggling with.

One thought on “Fortifications

  1. Very well said. The idea of creative comfort is so compelling, yet many people never consider it. You don’t or shouldn’t even have to do these things for pay – the creative endeavors ought to be a place you go for renewal.

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