Sunday, November 11, 2012

some nights i stay up cashing in my bad luck

some nights i call it a draw. 

i have been dealt a fairly interesting hand in the past 12 months. this night merits reflection because it's the anniversary of an seemingly-innocuous-but-downright-insidious decision that signified a paradigm shift and has haunted me ever since.

what followed this decision was a cascade of rushed, foolhardy decisions that resulted in a deep sadness, followed by another deep sadness, followed by a few months of confusion and hurt. it seemed like this film of grey wouldn't lift from my life after a while, and i got used to it.  i got used to feeling small, and irrelevant, and i got used to expecting myself to mess up.

i also got used to being alone. being loved doesn't preclude existence, i learned, and loving what you do can sometimes replace it.

but still i was lost and flustered and i floundered and edged away from land, sailing to an island of my own creation.

sometimes i loved this place. everything existed and made sense in some alternate reality. i could be myself, and no one cared, because no one was there. i could feel exactly as i wanted as long as i was in my own room.

and sometimes the compounding blow of life going under-lived and my thoughts being under-thought would eclipse me. i was distracted, unproductive, and treading water as the weeks went on. i didn't know how to ask for what i wanted or needed with clarity. i knew i was unraveling at the seams, but slapped on a smile and went forth anyway without stopping, making excuses for myself along the way, and not asking for help.

our wounds won't close if we don't stop to examine them.

at some point, life cured me. when i went to india, i no longer felt trapped by the life i'd pushed myself into. i was in an environment that left me free to do less than i'm used to and more of everything i wanted. i decided to start living in the joy of the moment, moment-to-moment. not in that weird, drug addict way, but in that taking things slow, one thing at a time, giving every task its due attention, way. i found it calmed me to not always think about the big picture - after all, such a  thing does not exist without the careful placement of its small constituents. i moved from one thing to another to another, and i guess this is the mantra of detachment i've been living. it helps that i went through a meditation-yoga-exercise phase. through moving around, figuratively and literally, i shocked myself into realizing that there is life beyond the immediate parameters i see.

if there's one thing that all this moving around taught me, it's that being alone all the time that can really get you stuck. i notice it more now that i'm not always alone. when you have friends - really good friends, they can anticipate what thought train you are about to take before you commit to the ride. they can sense where you're going and they tell you what not to think. they can help you blow off steam by letting you belt to loud music or by letting you rant, or by making cake at just the right moment, or by introducing you to your new favorite show. they keep track of what's going on with you and have opinions about it, and don't judge you for being fallible... which is really sweet. some nights i'd hurt myself with thoughts about what i could have done better in life, but friends can show you that there's more to you than the ramifications of ill-fated decisions.

equally important as learning to be alone is learning to tell yourself to shut up. sometimes i will hang out with myself and become stale and stagnant, my mouth growing sour and dry.
i feel a dull ache for the life's hydration. i know the answer is within myself somewhere but i have forgotten how to find it. i have trapped myself. i have trapped myself because i have defined my whole existence. i am hopeless because i have forgotten that the parameters of my existence can be infinite. 

it all depends on your level of analysis.  if one cell dies that doesn't mean you die. if one heart breaks, there is still love in the world. or as my boss says, "boys are like buses." (hahaha!)

sometimes you have to do something, and do something great. you know, like write a song or an article or do an experiment or someone else a favor or decorate your room, or go watch an orchestra or something. life is completely lame if you're not building something or becoming something greater than you are today.

bad luck happens, and it seems to be happening to everyone i know. it's true, things aren't as gold as they used to be. (but gold things can stay. take that robert frost, you miserable prick.)

but our wounds close if we don't keep picking at the scabs.
new skin will grow. new life will blossom and glow. and you'll have those battle scars and all those songs you fell in love with and those articles you wrote to help you heal. they will bring you lasting happiness whenever you encounter them.

"in the midst of winter," said albert camus, "i found there was, within myself, an invincible summer."

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