For those of you who don’t have a life, or have a life far, far away, Steel Magnolias is a 1989 smash hit movie set in a small town in Georgia, and is actually based on true events. The story was written by the sister of the character played by Julia Roberts, America’s own sweetheart, who, at the time, had only one film under her belt. Dolly Parton was the real star, and with her and the other leading ladies’ incredible performances, the movie was a giant success. It was a movie so many people saw and loved, and that included us.
My family is full of women who we like to refer to as Steel Magnolias. I grew up climbing Magnolia trees, and they will always be my favorite. Steel Magnolias holds a lot of sentimental value to me for those reasons, and more. The Southern Charm depicted throughout the film is something I have encountered my entire life as I live and breathe, and something I both have grown to loathe on one hand, and miss on the other. It seems the South has grown less charming, as annoying as it can be had it remained so.
As I grow older, I, too, feel as though I have earned the title of a Steel Magnolia. I’ve been a single, working mother nearly two decades. I’ve worked to earn my own pay since I was fifteen years old, worked for free- volunteering for the library- three years before that, and worked alongside my mom, helping with the church daycare, as young as the children we were pouring Kool-Aid for. My life has been centered around serving others and doing my best, and despite my many challenges, I still strive to do that. (Special thanks to the assholes who hack accounts and steal from someone who can barely afford basic necessities- you’re scum.)
Most recently, I have been having conversations with one of my friends whose boyfriend of ten years has been unfaithful and- although he promises to do whatever it takes to work things out- continues to be a selfish shithead. Tonight, she sent me a photo of a poem from a book she is currently reading, which goes like this:
We think we get over things.
We don’t get over things.
Or say, we get over the measles
but not a broken heart.
We need to make that distinction.
The things that become part of our experience
never become less a part of our experience.
How can I say it?
The way to “get over” a life is to die.
Short of that, you move with it,
let the pain be pain,
not in the hope that it will vanish
but in the faith that it will fit in,
find its place in the shape of things
and be then not any less pain but true to form.
Because anything natural has an inherent shape
and will flow towards it.
And a life is as natural as a leaf.
That’s what we’re looking for:
not the end of a thing but the shape of it.
Wisdom is seeing the shape of your life
without obliterating (getting over) a single
instant of it.
My response, at first, was silence and calm. I had to respond with words, however, so I wrote this as a reply:
The events we go through- good and bad- become part of our story. They help mold us into our individual self. The lessons we learn from these events lead us to either feel broken or stronger. I still think about the ones I’ve lost- and I still feel them near me, as close as they were when they were physically present. This is my story, though. In a perfect world, we would all feel strong enough to carry the weight of our own book.
She replied: You’re words are poetry.
I replied: YOUR*
She replied: [laugh emojis]
The Steel Magnolias story holds truth for many of us. It certainly feels that way for me and mine, y’all.
Listening to Ever (Foreign Flag) by Team Sleep