As it turns out, I know very little about life. A few people know a lot, a few more know a little, and the rest us know virtually nothing about how life actually is supposed to be handled. I do believe, however, that on occasion we are all blessed by little flashes of light – “lightbulb” moments – tiny, luminescent bursts of knowledge on whatever we happen to be experiencing at the time. By chance or on purpose, these moments are to be savored and cherished to the utmost degree. Their rare beauty is illuminating, and (if we let it), maturing.
I had a lightbulb moment. Clutching to a mattress. Barreling through the New York subway system. Squished behind a boyfriend, a futon frame, and about 15 strangers.
Forget the love you see in screenplays and on the sitcoms; your life is much more tangled, interesting, and frankly much longer than a movie anyway. Getting Jimmy Stewart to say all the right things at the right times in the right ways with the right background music and the right dress and the right way the wind is softly blowing your hair out of the way and CUT! THAT’S A WRAP. No. As many times as I’ve been suspicious that my life is in fact The Truman Show, our lives are not cut from the classic films we’ve embedded in our hearts or the touching romances we hear of on Broadway. A part of it wishes it was, but I’m ultimately happy it isn’t. Life is raw and ragged and absolutely mind-blowingly bonkers sometimes, and isn’t it just beautiful that way? If we rely on pop culture definitions of love, we will continue to live in a state of constant disappointment. And who wants that?
What we think we want to have or be at any given moment isn’t really important; what matters is that you are present in your own life, considering it and shaping it with the force of your will. “Wherever you are, be completely there.” I’ve never heard such good advice in my life, and yet I’ve struggled with it for years.
People are broken. We all have baggage, and we will all fail. Miserably, a few times (at least). But true friendships, love, and family don’t hinge on any single success or failure in reality – we would do such a disservice to ourselves to administer such a litmus test to things as labyrinthine as love and affection. Why do we expect perfection? Only perfect things can create perfection, and as a human, you are by definition imperfect. Accept this. Embrace this. Love this.
The unfortunate reality is that you will fail, people will fail you, and you will experience what self-pity and guilt does to yourself and broken trust does to relationships. Ultimately, it is your choice if you decide to learn the true value of the faith people place in you because of it. I am not perfect, but I believe now that I am worthy of that faith.
Lies About Love
We are a liars, because
the truth of yesterday becomes a lie tomorrow,
whereas letters are fixed,
and we live by the letter of truth.
The love I feel for my friend, this year,
is different from the love I felt last year.
If it were not so, it would be a lie.
Yet we reiterate love! love! love!
as if it were a coin with a fixed value
instead of a flower that dies, and opens a different bud.
by D.H. Lawrence
I am young, and I am going through so much change. I have been through a ringer or two, and put several people through ringers of their own, but I have come out of all of this with a hunger for purpose. A driving sense, gnawing at my heart. Rarely can I pinpoint it, and my spoken words are still useless to me at times when I feel like I need to communicate clearly the most. I have honestly no clue what Love is most of the time, and I’m battling with that bizarre stage of transferring over from fake adult to real adult, and shaving off the excess that’s grown on top of my spirit that doesn’t belong. And so this darkness I have known is only making the light so much brighter, and the “lightbulb moments” so much clearer. The beauty of life is springing forward, and the lights in my life are practically glowing some days. I may not have all the answers, but I shouldn’t. Not yet. I just need clear vision, a light onto my feet, and lamp unto my path.
It’s amazing what happens when you decide to grow up.
It’s even more amazing when you’re crammed in a subway, laughing with your boyfriend and your 15 newest friends surrounding your futon mattress and bed frame pushed up against the handrails of the C train, enjoying one of life’s bizarre moments making a sporadic, happy memory.
It’s even more amazing when you look over at the man who’s someone managed to see the woman I was meant to be all along, in darkness and light, standing right beside me with a twinkle in his eye and the most incredibly luminescent soul.
Life is really hard. But as long as we surround ourselves with people and love and reminders (and yes, even futons on the subway if you must) that there will always be some sort of magical wonder in the light of life, I think we’re all gonna be okay.
Having a Gatorade with You
is even more fun than going to Arizona or Missouri
or being scared on the big bridge you walk across in Sydney
partly because in your red plaid shirt you look in love
partly because of my love for you
partly because of your love for blue Gatorade
partly because of the fluorescent tulips around the city
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on
before people and statuary and everything immobile
it is hard to believe when I’m with you
that there can be anything as still
as solemn and unpleasantly definitive as statuary
when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light
we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing
right through its tortoise-shelled spectacles
and the evening seems to have no faces in it at all
you suddenly wonder why in the world no one notices
I look at you
I would rather look at you than all the wonder in the world
except possibly Disneyland occasionally
and anyway it’s in California
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet
so we can go together the first time
and the fact that you laugh so happily
more or less takes care of our childhood wonder
just as at home I never think of the people
that walk beside you into the Happiest Place on Earth
or single inspiring story, or animation
or fireworks show that really used to wow me
and what good does all the research of Imagineers do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree
when the sun sank
or for that matter, Walt Disney
when he didn’t know the future as wonderfully
as we do
it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me
which is why I am telling you about it.