I don’t know what the onomatopoeia is for this: opening your mouth as wide as you can, screaming, but also kind of yawning, as loudly as you can while shaking your head back and forth as hard as you can, becoming suddenly self-aware about the whole unbecoming thing, collapsing into laughter at your own vulnerability, and then, collapsing even more convincingly into tears. And then laughing again, because whyareyoucrying. There should be a sound for it, the outward and physical manifestation of something nearly synonymous with catharsis, sans the religious and/or spiritual provocation that usually accompanies the real thing. What is this thing called? How can I describe it? Because this is an actual thing, that I imagine, many people have done in some various incarnation or another. It feels good to throw so much back at the world, after swallowing so much. It feels good to cry. It feels better to laugh.
But first, before I go on about the paucity of good, really fucking useful words-that-sound-like-sounds, let me say one thing to set context for my first blog post of 2013: fuck 2012. That year, the year of tying up loose ends, the year of senseless death met with confused and useless national dialogue about gun control, met with even more confused (but quieter, because SHHHHH!) dialogue about mental illness, the year the world was supposed to end, the year I became engaged, the year I turned 26, the year that began with my mother’s second terrifying brush with death, was a lesson in two things for me. The first: being a grown-up is a terrible cross to bear.
Getting older is weird, and people are perpetually disappointing. You feel
woefully thankfully wiser to the world, but in the manic struggle to not become a jaded version of the glowing, hopeful, and eternally youthful self you still imagine you are (you are young! you are! you are! youareyouareyouare!) when you’re not talking or thinking about the crap you’re forced to wallow around in, you begin to harden. It starts around your ankles—in the general vicinity, as it’s likely a little different for everyone—edging up into your femoral artery, and up, up, up until—like a long, $673 medical-grade needle (estimated cost, and probably very nearly accurate)—BANG! (good onomatopoeia) Straight into your heart. You stop feeling sorry for the disappointing people, and begin to simply dislike them. You stop putting yourself in their shoes. You stop giving. a. shit. how they feel. You despise them. Revile them. Believe, very honestly and self-righteously, in your general superiority to them. I don’t think there’s anything fundamentally wrong with this. Some people are shit. Some people are not. But the lesson, the point, is this: this line of thinking becomes dangerous to you, bearer of vile thoughts toward another, when you forget to laugh about the whole, bizarre joke of it all. Laugh at the assholes. Laugh at yourself. Pray for the lunatics, wave a sage stick at them, level an antiquated and inadequate justice system against them, I don’t care. But look at the absurdity, look at yourself, and see it for what it is. It’s okay to laugh hysterically, cry hysterically too, and hey, if the pain is deep enough, the kind that buries itself into that place where your stomach meets your soul, too deep to cry, it’s okay to just think about happier things. It’s okay to just act normal (my words, apparently, that mattered once to someone who matters to me), and laugh at something funny on television. And then, when you collect yourself, and you’re resolved to plant your feet firmly in that general superiority, do your best to live up to it. But do, I urge you, laugh when the opportunity affords itself. Sometimes laughter turns into happiness. Sometimes happiness turns into love.
The second thing: I’m okay. Everything is okay. Good. Lovely. Fantastic, actually, in 2013. IT IS NOT PERFECT. And if I force myself to stand a little ways back, and conjure up some of the more useful things I’ve picked up while practicing mindfulness in a 110 degree room with the top of my head nearly touching my ass (or running 8 miles through a 97 degree September in Central Florida, or enduring three straight hours of advanced ballet class in a room with a single, underperforming ceiling fan, etc. etc. etc.), I can say this. Maybe things were okay in 2012. Maybe they were even a little better, then, some four months ago, then they are now. Maybe I’m better when I’m fighting, or when I’m being pushed into a fight. This wouldn’t surprise me. People can fall apart, and thank God I’m one of them. I always manage to put the pieces back together into some better configuration of myself. Maybe I’m actually, always fighting something. Against something. For something.
Now on to the point. Things/feelings/places there should be a word-that-sounds-like-a-sound for. This matters. We talk about these things, and around these things, but these are things that we cannot describe, adequately, in my humble, but mostly right opinion. Somethings are more important than others, but there is no rank order. Somethings hurt, and somethings do not:
3. Inhaling the aroma of a single-vineyard Pinot Noir.
4. Knowing that person you love is OKAY. (a nuance of relief)
5. Finding out that person you love is NOT OKAY. (a nuance of grief)
6. Smelling the first signs of spring.
7. You don’t know how good you actually have it. (this accompanies a shaking head).
8. Moving far away.
9. Leaving forever.
10. Lying in bed next to the person who doesn’t mind your cold hands and feet.
11. I’m glad you’re alive.
^ good one.
How limited we are.