“Mommy’s alright, daddy’s alright, they just seem a little weird. Surrender, surrender, but don’t give yourself away.”-Cheap Trick
Until I learned how to love, prior and hungry attempts felt like a cheap trick. Men can eat more than women. Commercials sell more than useless products which end up in our collective dumpster of misguided leaps of faith; the ones in which we futilely pray for soft landings, easy answers, utopia delivered to our doorstep in thirty minutes or less, or it’s free. True freedom requires participation beyond coupon clipping and channel surfing.
Two nights ago I dreamt of Goldilocks and the three mattresses; one undone Queen which smelled of unfamiliar bodies, a cold twin covered in rumpled sheets dampened from cortisol induced night sweats (the desperate lies of unloved adult-children surely take death’s toll), and finally a sunken single by a windowsill overlooking Central Park, crawling with bed bugs. I’d come to recognize symptoms of such disease and backed away quickly. Rejecting those limited options, I realized there was an ocean of choice just beyond the now unlocked room. Awareness was key. I didn’t have to settle for this.
Who hasn’t asked at least once, not to be surrounded by wounded, egomaniacal, helplessly infantilized, soul-sucking, privilege-blind, jerk-babies? The face in the mirror included. They all say it’s the fall; an angry sister who becomes a volcano, a snail on the back of a turtle shell, forbidden fruit in a garden. We’re meant to fail, to burn and then to undertake the grueling work of crawling out from shallow graves. To live. We come fully alive the day we realize no one’s coming to our rescue.
If we’re lucky this doesn’t have to mean throwing mummies, daddies and babies out with the bath water. Boundaries to the rescue. Surrender means graceful acceptance from the bottom of a well of compassion; a faithful companion who can dive deeper than topsoil, bed rocks, bugs and piss.
We learn how to fill the void from the inside out. Scraping the sediment around our heart into quiet and composting thoughts. We learn how to be alone without stuffing the silence in busyness and blame, recognizing and responding to our own cries; hungry, angry, lonely, tired. To stop, be, see, think and feel without ordering fries.
And that’s when we realize, they’re not lying or conniving, just doing their best. The jokes not on us unless we succumb to the sting of sarcasm and paralysis of disparity turned in ourselves. The breadth and depth of love, across the spectrum of grey and earthly matters, is the question, answer, truth.
I still don’t like closing my eyes in the shower but under the water I sing. Don’t give yourself away. xo
Four more days and then I tackle the summit. In between chores and wrapping presents, I’m just under 64,000. The goal is somewhere around 100,000, words, not feet. Yesterday my sister wrote me about feeling conflicted in writing her testimony, saying how there’s so much wrong with what’d we lived through, but so much right too. I told her in that case, her testimony’s perfect. We don’t need to feel ashamed or guilty for telling the truth because the whole truth doesn’t camp out at Finger Point junction, Reactivity Mountain, Lake Wallow. Any life story consists of compost and a harvest…maybe that’s the trick. We’ve got to figure out how to get up from under the weight of all the shit, probably before sunrise, to plant the damned seeds, fight off predators and protect our little plot till it sprouts wings and watermelons. Sweet dreams.