Saturday, November 22, 2014
The Mistake I Made Was Falling in Love
Random thoughts from a beginning of year writing challenge, unedited and free, just as they came from my head.
I stood at the edge of the water, bare feet immersed in its coolness. I could see the pebbles on the bottom through the ripples of the lake. I could see the green of the trees on the surrounding hills. I breathed in the clean, crisp air. I was at peace, calm, right with the world. I stood with my teacher, the two of us alone in this beautiful wilderness. I stood with him as he taught me to return, to return to the water and to nature for healing. I stood as he said that you will go out, and you will help others, but you must always remember to return to the water.
I am stretching my brain in a way I am not certain it cares to stretch. I have always been about people. I have always sought to figuratively get inside another soul, to understand, to interpret, to comfort and guide. At this point in my education, however, I am applying these concepts to things. I am working at getting inside computer issues, software, and the like. I am not a fan.
I am stressed and tired and frustrated and angry. I have much about which to complain. I have much about which to gripe. Instead, I will turn that frown upside down and will focus on the good that came about in my day, the light that shined on all that dark.
The mistake I made was falling in love.
What does this mean, this word “acceptance?” I accept that I will always be short. I accept that I can never change the parents who birthed me and brought me into this world. I accept that my eyes are the color they are, that my hair is graying, my vision fading, my feet oddly sized for my frame. Is it a giving up or a welcoming embrace? I accept that my years as a mother of babies is over and my time as a mother of young adults is in bloom. I accept that I no longer write for nonfiction sources, spewing recipes, tips, bullet points and facts onto page. I embrace the time I had with those words and welcome the time I spend now penning phrases of boas, pearls, and purple hats. If I “accept” do I resign or do I invite?
What if you knew this were your last day? What if you knew that at midnight tonight this would be the end?
I need your words right now. I need your voice, your guidance. I need your assurance and your comfort. I need to feel the weight of your encouragement around my shoulder.
You come to me a former addict, victim of abuse, high school drop out, or homeless man. You turn your eyes away, look at the ground, apologize, explain. You feel yourself inferior, unworthy. You play the game of catch up in life, catching up to others, creating a life that is clean, respectable, the game you feel you can never win. You feel you will never be the same as those who have no story. You feel privileged to be among those who have never needed that drink or drug on waking, who have never slept in their cars because they had no bed, and who have never heard their fathers creep into their rooms at night and do things to them that should never be done to a child. You feel yourself broken, less than, and never capable of being more.
Let’s be clear.
When I look at you, I do not see your broken body. I do not see the smile that is never there. I do not see the memories of your mother holding your hand to the burner on the stove or locking you in the closet with the vacuum and the disinfectants for the entire afternoon because you refused to take a nap. I do not see the needles or the bags or the bottles. I do not see a fourteen-year-old mother or a man who was told by those who were supposed to love him most that he was stupid and worthless and would never do anything with his life. I do not see this.
When I look at you, I see your heart. I see that it beats the same as mine, the same as every other heart I have ever met. When I look at you, I see flesh and blood and a soul that has endured more than any soul should be asked to endure and yet here it stands before my eyes, whole and hopeful and worthy of my love.
So I go about my days in a pretend sort of world. I do things because I am alive and it is what one does if one is waking and breathing. I prepare beautiful foods and travel to my job. I sing, and I dance, and I smile and laugh with my children. I join a friend for lunch or a latte. I offer words of kindness and hope and a bit of good cheer. I tell corny jokes, entertain the crowd, and show others what they are here to be. I do all of this, and it makes me whole.
Whole, but not complete.
I had a beautiful green smoothie for breakfast. A banana, an apple, almond butter and pineapple with flax and spinach and almond milk. Why do people eat meals? How did that come about? Why not just eat whenever wherever? Why do we sit down at a table with others at specified points in the day?
I bought balloons for my children. And chocolate bars. For a Valentine’s day surprise. Why do we treat others to special gifts only on certain days? Why don’t we treat them whenever the mood strikes? I think it would be a wonderful thing to just walk up to someone at a random moment and say, “Here, I got you this, just because you exist.” I think it would be wonderful if we didn’t have to be reminded to do sweet things for others, if we just did it for no reason at all.
I had lunch with a dear friend. I am not much one to use that term, “dear friend,” but she is, in every sense of the word. I had tofu and a spinach salad. It was delicious and beautiful. We both had cups of steamy earl gray and some sassy conversation. We shared words that no others could ever hear. They might like to, they were that juicy, but they will never hear them.
I went to class. Or, rather, I stood in front of others and made them laugh and smile. People pay me to do that. Honestly, I would do it for free. It fills my heart and makes ME smile. I get paid in money and smiles.
I almost ran over a turkey, but I didn’t. I don’t know that that will ever happen again in my life, but it happened today. I thought I should note it.