My mind has been transitioning a lot lately...
I guess I've been on that thirty year plan, you know, where you hit thirty and you’re like oh shit, is anyone alive in there? I don't know which particular day or instance it was exactly, nor is that necessarily important, but it was definitely this year I truly began to snap out of the trance of being alive without recognizing it. Was I seriously living in an exempt daze THIS ENTIRE TIME? I could hate myself for this; for wasting my precious time as a human trying to evade the very fact, but maybe I needed that daze to get me here. Maybe I wasn't ready to know then what I know now.
Maybe the sequence of my life had to happen exactly as it has in order for this awakening to reach fruition. I'm beginning to think of life as a reel of film from a movie. Each scenario needs the one before it to build upon to make way for the next. Even in the low moments where the dialogue isn't grabbing you or when the movie doesn't seem to make sense, it's still formulating a plot. An overall theme. This plot will eventually become the story of our lives; our life's narrative in its entirety. So maybe each moment is equally as important as the next - or as meaningless as the one before. You get to decide.
I invite you to listen to this song by NIN. I find the lyrics relevant. Although I heard the song many years ago, the meaning of it just now became clear. My last memory involving this song was of a warm, sunny day lying on the hood of my best friend's car in our high school parking lot. It was summer break and we had nothing but time to kill, so we did what any normal, untroubled high school girls would do and ate mushrooms. This song created an ambient melody for the clouds to be clouds to, and for us to be us to. Maybe that moment helped me get here today. I like to think so.
I wish I could take all of the credit for changing my mind as many do who become freedom fighters and social justice warriors, but much of it was no doing of my own at all really. Throughout my life (or my walk down the aisle) certain instances - good and bad, relationships, books, and philosophies found their way to me which have led me down the specific path I'm on that will continue winding until it stops (death). Plain and simple and as complex as that. Where the path leads and eventually ends no one can know for sure, but in the meantime I’m embracing this newfound open-mindedness to the realities of the world and the hum of confidence that accompanies it. It’s something I haven’t felt since I was young and still curious.
Let me set the stage of my awakening with a poem, or a metaphor, or whatever the fuck a series of words are... I am a bride walking down the aisle, all eyes on me.
My dress is white and pure the way we like to imagine ourselves, but under it my naked, flawed body wishes to be seen for what it is, not what society tells it to be.
Everyone stares but many aren’t present.
They have their own hopes, desires, and fears swimming in their minds.
Many see me but they don’t see me.
The ones who do send me a quiet confidence prompting that forward is the only way.
I continue downward and notice with each step my veil is being pulled down my back and up from my eyes.
I look behind me to find all of my old beliefs and addictions grasping the veil, fingering for me to come back.
‘You need us', they say.
I’m between two realms of consciousness, and although they appear close together from here to there, they are worlds apart.
One way offers the truth, the other keeps it hidden.
But now I’ve seen the truth, so to hide from it would be to live a lie.
The veil can’t protect me anymore. And now I see it never really could.
I turn my focus back to the end of the aisle where the altar stands.
The stares feel less harsh, I know people are judging me but it doesn’t seem to matter like it once had.
I understand their life and circumstances created their own realities with their own biases.
We each have our own aisle to bear.
My path down the aisle isn’t about changing their minds, it is about accepting my own.
The veil keeps sliding down until it falls to the floor.
I thank it for getting me here - without it I may not have made it this far.
I’m to the altar.
But there is no man - there is no other person awaiting me at all.
I must stand alone in order for it to become clear.
I am not owed a soulmate.
I am not owed forever.
I am not owed anything.
The room is empty.
The stares of everyone are gone.
The dress has vanished.
I am with myself just as I am.
Just. As. I. Am.
In reality I'm still standing between the two worlds. I am corrupted by a society that says I have to be a certain way to even bother showing up. Shame exists at the core as it often does for many of us, but especially for women since we’re told to carry it for simply being. But I'm becoming aware of that, and that's where the power lies. As I begin to understand who and how I became I can objectively decide which components I want to keep. It's no easy task and it doesn't happen over night. I'm untying the knots one by one that were woven into the fabric of my character so I can begin to restitch where it's needed. But its given me a new purpose in life, something to feel connected to. Is it possible we're able to thank our pain instead of loathe ourselves and others for it?
The life I've been avoiding all of this time is a life I've been very privileged to have. It's as much sad as it is a relief to admit. But I know I'm not alone in this, to be ourselves is scary for many of us, I know. I lived in fear of who I was for a long time. I used every substance under the sun to drown out feeling the weight of who I was and who I'd never be (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). It worked for a time. I became a messy, staggering version of myself for many years. I hid my feelings, true desires, and needs from the people who I claimed to love. I hid from the world because the world hurts. And it hurt me to watch a world in so much pain. But when I hid from it I only created more pain and suffering in my life and in the lives of those around me. I searched for myself in lovers and friends, in drugs and in bars. The silly thing is that I was always there. Buried beneath it all. I was always there. I couldn't ever truly escape myself, but in attempting to escape myself I was also creating myself.
We all have an aisle to bear. It is our life. How you ended up in yours and how I ended up in mine seems hazardous to be so concerned with considering there's no way to change this fact. We each have our lives, and it is our duty to live them through every beautiful moment and every horrific moment. I can't stress enough the privilege I have of being me. Not in a conceded way, although I am beginning to quite like myself. But in being a white, privileged woman with a life supported by friends and family who love her, and never having known what financial or racial struggle really is kind of way. Having my basic human rights met and exceeded has allowed me to explore all kinds of activities; my favorite being creating innovative problems that aren't real! I mean, I have time to write this blog - is there anything more white and privileged than writing a fucking blog? But venting my shit and being relentlessly honest is cathartic for me. It's allowing me to understand I am never alone in my struggle, and others are struggling far worse than I. But in realizing this I'm becoming curious with the concept that our struggles are actually what provide our lives with purpose. If there were no battles to fight or wrongs to right, what would we even do?
Purpose comes when there are problems to solve. No wonder we create them if we don't actually have any. I know this is uncomfortable to hear and some of you won't like that I'm telling you to thank your trauma, but it's worth a shot because condemning yourself over it probably isn't working either, ay?
It's okay to be curious. It's okay to question your biases and ideals involving the world. It's okay to look at the ugly things that happen on Earth and shed on light on them instead of turning away. Because with a more developed curiosity comes an inherent need to dig deeper. Who was I before my life began? Was there a 'me' at all before any of my experiences happened to me? It seems we're always striving to get back to that place before the damage was done, before the pain sunk in, but are we even anything without it? Maybe this person we all long to get back to - a young, free, innocent being - is really just an illusion. To remain as that forever would in reality mean we've never lived, that we never grew at all. I won't argue nurture VS. nature here. Our brains are specific to whom they belong and certainly give us something that makes us uniquely who we are, but how much of that is a true representation of 'me' without the knowledge and conditioning we're taught over the course of our lives?
So let's not wish to be as we once were before our lives happened to us. Don't go towards the other end of the aisle you came from. Don't fall victim to the illusion that life can ever be undone - it can't. Forward it continues whether we're ready or not. The media tries to tell us otherwise, that we can slow the clock and remain young and resilient forever. But alas, we will grow older and eventually we'll all die, and all of our experiences will die with us; and eventually Earth will be imploded by the sun and even the brightest thinkers will become nothing but space dust - just like you and me. We are all the same thing. The light and the dark. Awakening and avoidance. Life and death. The dueling truth of the Universe, and we each need the other to exist beyond what we'd like to admit. We look for the answers in everything but ourselves, but deep down we know the answer. We are the answer. Life is the answer, in all of its fleeting glory.
No matter how much you try to place yourself in or out of it, life will keep happening. We like to pretend we can make it stay as it is from moment to moment but it won't. Someone will move on perhaps breaking your heart, and one day you’ll be the one to break your own heart and leave. Your children will grow old right before your eyes, whether you're looking or not. In the moments you become aware you'll gasp, 'where the fuck did the time go?' Your mortality will creep up on you in waves that you'll try to sink away with work, and with drink, and with play. But all along it slips through the cracks. It doesn’t wait for you, it doesn't wait on you. You show up when the circumstances call upon you - or you don’t. It’s not right or wrong, but it eventually becomes the story of your life. The chances you didn't take will become as much apart of your narrative as the chances you did. So in the end, what do you want your life's movie to say to it's audience?
This blog wasn't very funny was it? I'll try to keep things light hearted here between my bouts of enlightenment and self-actualization. It's just a really powerful feeling. To know you're alive. Maybe you should try doing it! Forget about money, work, and whatever that chip is on your shoulder on your next day off and truly look at the people you love and know with your whole heart one day you'll never see them again. Love you guys!