By Louise Erdrich (right), recently published in Orion Magazine’s beautiful compilation of essays “Women and Standing Rock”
Resist the thought that you may need a savior,
or another special being to walk beside you.
Resist the thought that you are alone.
Resist turning your back on the knife
of the world’s sorrow,
resist turning that knife upon yourself.
Resist your disappearance
into sentimental monikers,
into the violent pattern of corporate logos,
into the mouth of the unholy flower of consumerism.
Resist being consumed.
Resist your disappearance
into anything except
the face you had before you walked up to the podium.
Resist all funding sources but accept all money.
Cut the strings and dismantle the web
that needing money throws over you.
Resist the distractions of excess.
Wear old clothes and avoid chain restaurants.
Resist your genius and your own significance
as declared by others.
Resist all hint of glory but accept the accolade
as tributes to your double.
Walk away in your unpurchased skin.
Resist the millionth purchase and go backward.
Get rid of everything.
If you exist, then you are loved
by existence. What do you need?
A spoon, a blanket, a bowl, a book—
maybe the book you give away.
Resist the need to worry, robbing everything
of immediacy and peace.
Resist traveling except where you want to go.
Resist seeing yourself in others or them in you.
Nothing, everything, is personal.
Resist all pressure to have children
unless you crave the torment of joy.
If you give in to irrationality, then
resist cleaning up the messes your children make.
You are robbing them of small despairs they can fix.
Resist cleaning up after your husband.
It will soon replace having sex with him.
Resist outrageous charts spelling doom.
However you can, rely on sun and wind.
Resist loss of the miraculous
by lowering your standards
for what constitutes a miracle.
It is all a fucking miracle.
Resist your own gift’s power
to tear you away from the simplicity of tears.
Your gift will begin to watch you having your emotions,
so that it can use them in an interesting paragraph,
or to get a laugh.
Resist the blue chair of dreams, the red chair of science, the black chair of the humanities, and just be human.
Resist all chairs.
Be the one sitting on the ground
or perching on the beam overhead
or sleeping beneath the podium.
Resist disappearing from the stage,
unless you can walk straight into the bathroom and resume the face,
the desolate face, the radiant face, the weary face, the face
that has become your own, though all your life
you have resisted it.