On Self-Reliance

On Self-Reliance

I went to the bathroom because I wished to clean deliberately, to front only the essential oils and astringent powders, and see if I could not learn what it had to bleach, and not, when I came to the underside of the toilet seat, discover that I did not want to live. 

I did not wish to clean my person in a place that was not clean, being clean is so dear; nor did I wish to practise reflection, unless it was quite necessary to stop ignoring the toothpaste build-up on the mirror. 

I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not bathbombs and premium curl shampoo, to cut a broad swath and shave close my legs and armpits, to drive hairs into a corner, which I would frown at while taking a piss, and reduce to its lowest terms, carping at the husband to wipe the sink basin after he buzzed his neck, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, this tiny grim back-alley of a wash room, its mildewed caulk and chipped plastic tile, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, which it is not, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next exfoliation.


  • Carrie on Jan 30, 2012 Reply

    If that’s the meaning, then I’m illquiterate.

  • Holly on Jan 28, 2012 Reply

    Wait! I do have one word: quiterate. This is the word your blogged asked me to enter when I posted that last comment….I think it may have been making fun of me for not having something better to write, as in : she was quite quiterate in that she always stopped herself before writing something of substance.

  • Holly on Jan 28, 2012 Reply

    I have no words.

  • Carrie on Jan 27, 2012 Reply

    I like to think I’ve done my time in primitive privies while studying in South/Central America! This is probably the main reason I don’t enjoy camping.

    Brit spelling because that was how the excerpt I used did the spelling. Normally, I don’t bother with that ‘colour’ and ‘utilise’ kinda thing…

  • Ela on Jan 27, 2012 Reply

    You’d be horrified by our bathroom, or lack of one–extend that scuzzy aesthetic to an entire living space, especially right now…
    Why the Brit spelling?

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