Last week the Art of the Day; Fortitude by Botticelli painted about 1470. An interesting look on the woman’s face and in her body language. So I looked up the meaning and found the word only 50 or 100 years older than the painting. Based on the Random House dictionary it means; mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously.
What I really wanted to write about was the overwhelming anger I’ve been dealing with of late. Where did it come from? What does it mean? I’d had a massage on a Wednesday late afternoon then a work injury the following day, which completely negated the massage. But worse this roaring anger inside me which I felt had to be leaking out like drifts of goose feathers from the smallest slit in a goose down comforter or parka. How can or should I cope with the anger, understand it and make it go away?
The poet, W.H. Auden in his poem entitled September 1, 1939 [view on poets.org] wrote;
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
Ah, and what does this have to do with my anger? Fortitude, strength of character is one thing, but feeling the need to be loved can only be assuaged by… being loved. I dealt with my worry about my anger by reaching out. A very dear friend agreed to meet with me during her work break the next day. She works an hour away, so I planned to spend the afternoon in her town. First I met her and enjoyed one of her hugs. When I step away I feel warm down to my toes. And then we talked and talked. A tear slipped out and I felt her loving gaze fortifying me, giving me strength to go on. And I know I have the strength to go on, it had just temporarily hidden away.
I had a totally delightful time. It was a day of love.
Buying loaves of whole grain sourdough bread and then meeting – hugging – talking – crying with my friend. It included a trip to my favorite thrift store where I bought a pile of knitting yarn that needed a good home, and a new blouse with flowers that called to me, and books for loved ones. It was a day of love of myself, of making me strong.
Loving oneself enough to find a solution to a problem. Loving oneself enough to discover the cause and the ways to cope with a seemingly overwhelming anger [take a kickboxing class, my friend suggested]. And spending a large portion of a day away from the daily grind of care-giving in order to care for me. One of the pearls of wisdom I learned after severe trauma from a friend; I have to be okay before I can give to my children. And so that day I made myself okay. I strengthened my walls and I shored up my defenses. I am a fort once again. With fortitude. How about you? How do you cope? What do you do to love yourself?
*Card shown here produced for sale by Esther’s Girls, which is me! Do not copy my unique art. Thanks.