Monday, July 23, 2012

Fractured Fairy Tales and a Room Full of Bees

I've been thinking about things lately, probably more deeply than is even really advisable sometimes.  I mentioned it before, but I guess it's still pressing on my mind.

I don't think most of us are naive.  I know in my circle of friends there's a lot of loss and tragedy and pain that people have had to deal with and so I would never say they've had blinders on their eyes or that they were perma-glued to their rose-colored glasses, and though a lot of people have accused me of it, neither have I.

I don't think that stops us from believing "things will work out" and "they'll make it through" and "he loves me not...he loves me" at least somewhere in the backs of our heads.   And maybe we don't always believe it.  We're smart enough to know that this isn't a movie, and boy doesn't always meet girl, lose girl, and get girl back.   The dog does die at the end sometimes, and the house burns down.  We intellectually know it but when it applies to us we have a remarkable ability to push it out for the things we want to happen.   Or to hope that maybe just this one time, it works out that way. The thing no one wants to hear is that when you FINALLY unbottle your heart and say "I love you" that you might still be alone when you walk out the door.   Or that no matter how hard you try, sometimes you can't make it better.  You can throw everything you have into trying to make a relationship better, to resolve years of hurt and misunderstanding, and in the end, when the sun sets, it just might not happen.   And it won't be your fault.

And depressing.  You want to think that the people you love will love you back...that your family will accept you for who you are, and that as far apart as you get from someone there's always going to be a way to get back.  And that that doesn't always happen is honestly a tragedy.  It breaks the hearts of the people involved, and it breaks the hearts of the people who love them and want so badly for things to work out for them.  Comes with a sort of hopelessness that's hard to shake sometimes.

And although for a while after work today, the really really depressive side of me was winning out, I'm not here to be depressing.

Because there's something else I was reminded of today too, and that's that even when the people that shouldn't fail you do, and the people that are supposed to love you unconditionally don' might still run across someone, somewhere who does.   You might run across the people who know things are bad at home, and they invite you over for spaghetti and tell you you don't have to leave if you don't want to, and you get to be a part of someone else's family and have pizza night and let their cats gnaw on your hair as you eat your breakfast.

You might also run into the person who shouldn't have anything left in them to give but will still stop everything and save you before you explain and the first time you ask.  Or the person who will pick you up, get you dressed, drive you to the hospital and hold your hand while you drift in and out and your body shivers from fighting the sick. 

I guess my point is...we all want people to love us.  We want the people that are *supposed* to love us to love us.  We want people we love to love us.

But I think one of the best things in the entire world is finding it when you don't expect it.   And getting it when you don't even necessarily deserve it. I was reading all these romantic stories and thinking....I don't know the words sometimes.  It was so cool hearing people say the words, even if they hadn't said them to who they were for yet, because they were afraid.

For all my words, when it's the most important I can be rendered instantly mute.  Or at least profoundly stupid.

"Bees!" I'd yell, expecting some sort of  Notebookesque kiss or tears.

Maybe I'd even make some gesture to try to explain.  Some kind of buzzy little gesture that's supposed to clarify that what I said was "Bees!"

You think I exaggerate, but I'm sure this is something that would happen.
And what I'd mean is...

I love you SO much.  I also really, really hate bees.  You know this already. You know I run around like I'm being chased by a killer every time there's one of those crazy pollen hungry insects in my vicinity.  You know this is illogical, and so do I.

But what I mean when I shout "Bees!" like it's the only word I that I love you.  I love you so much I will sit in a room full of bees if I get to spend that time with you.   And you will mock me, and tell me horrible stories about killer bees and the toxins and the horrible way I'll die from all the terrible, awful bee stings.  And I'll laugh as though you're not scaring me at all, and then I'll wait a half an hour, then I'll ask for percent chances of that ACTUALLY happening, and you'll give me the actual answer, which will probably still make me feel better.  And I would go in that room, because the safest I've ever felt is with you.

So what's my point, aside from pointing out my own ineptitude for saying things I mean, and my fantastic ability to deflect actual feelings with humor?

I feel lucky tonight, for the spaghetti, for the "savings".  For the lilacs in my bedroom window just because my best friend's mom knew I loved the smell.   For the Seattleite who kept me sane when I was feeling isolated in Los Alamos and sent me books and gloves and hugs,  for the hand at the hospital bed...for so many things.  It doesn't fix the relationships I wish were different or make bad relationships better, but it makes me want to shout "Bees!" at someone and hope they understand how deeply they're loved.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

You'll Walk Alone, but...

This picture was taken just about a year ago in Boulder, CO. I took the trip to Boulder completely alone, and despite a rough morning that involved leaving someone behind who was the absolute last person that I wanted to leave behind,  I had an amazing day taking things at my own pace, exploring...breathing in the mountain air and finding my own way through a new place.

These mountains are burning now.   Less than a year later, much of the state I was born in and the state I found home in are on fire.  The day I arrived in New very first day there, I was just getting into Santa Fe when I spotted a small plume of white smoke off in the distance.  I'd stopped to get gas and try to stretch my legs a little before the push to Los Alamos, which was a little over an hour away.  As I drove out of Santa Fe, that small plume from 20 minutes before had become a full force wildfire- I'd gotten on the road just before they started to close it behind me.  I'd never really understood "spreading like wildfire" before I saw that.

The truth is, things burn.  They burn out of control, and sometimes there's no stopping it.   The wind keeps blowing gale-force, the heat is intense and it won't rain.  The truth is, when it gets to a certain point, you can't fight the fire.  The truth is even the firefighters can't stop things from burning to the ground sometimes.  The memories you had can be engulfed by flames, and the thing you've dedicated your life to can be nothing but ashes in the wind. 

That's the worst truth there is.
You'd like to think that with enough water...enough firefighters...maybe fight fire with fire...maybe you could save it.
But you can't.

This weekend something like that happened in my own life, my own family.   Suddenly there was something that just...happened.  There was no fixing it, there was no way to help even.  There was nothing that could be done except to watch something sacred, beautiful and amazing suddenly disappear.

Truth is, it's not the first person I love I'm seeing lose something like that this year.

So you watch the fire burn out of control.  You watch walls of flames block people in, you watch the edges curl in, the darkness spread, and the pieces get taken by the wind.  

The truth is sometimes you won't even have an eyedropper full of water to throw at it.  And you'll want to dig with your bare hands til they crack and bleed just to have a bucket to toss at a firestorm.

The truth is sometimes we can't do anything about it.  There's loss and there's pain, and as much as you want to take it away, or make it better, or even to just be there for someone...sometimes they're going to be walking alone.  Sometimes the only way they can face it is them and the storm.    Sometimes it's all they can do to keep breathing and you can't be a part of it at that moment.

A few years ago, I said this to someone

"You don't have to walk alone if you don't want to."
Something I've held onto is "You'll Never Walk Alone."   I took it to heart.  I took it as a challenge to always be there for the people you love.   To value your friends and family as highly as you can, and to make it more than words.

What I'm learning is...sometimes you have to walk alone.   Sometimes, something happens and you can't hold on to anyone.  

Sometimes you have to watch someone you love suffer, and sometimes they have to suffer alone.  
You have to learn to trust that the love is there.  

You have to realize that you can't do anything.   Sometimes you'll be one place and they'll be someplace else, physically or elsewise.

So the truth is... you will walk alone. You'll face things on your own.  
The truth is, you'll watch people you love go through things and you won't be able to do anything.

But the truth is also....
You don't have to walk alone if you don't want to.

And all you can hope, when there's no words to say, and no water to throw on the fire, is that that's enough.  You can't stop the world from burning , but you can offer a hand to hold.