Be blessed like a porcelain doll

These women are navigating their interior commotion — their death postponed, it feels — as if it were a nightmare, or a day off, or another inexpressible world running alongside their own, where, again, they are expected to be “fine”: to heal quickly, to be mothers and wives, to trust doctors and lovers. To be articulate about whatever intensities are submerging them, without, as Giuliana puts it, ending up with a “bunch of words strung together.” They’d like meaning, purpose, and the kind of connective passion that returns a woman to her body. Their lives bring to mind a line from Anaïs Nin’s The Four-Chambered Heart, in which the main character, Djuna, tells her lover Rango, “I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”

– Durga Chew-Bose, The Mask of Monica Vitti

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