Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Day 5: What if you only had a week to live?

This letter will be brief, as my time is limited, and while writing is a beautiful art that touches many and can live long after the writer has passed... Living, to me now, is even more important.

I am trying not to let my short time left make me feel rushed to live. For, I must remember that it has been a worthwhile journey. When you are at the end, it seems to have passed in the blink of an eye. Yet, while it is happening, there are times you feel that is has been going on for eternity, similar to anything you reflect on, I suppose.  I am lucky to acknowledge that I've lived a full life. One with many tiny infinite moments of love and beauty. I caught on to the idea that I better make the best out of it. That's luck. Nothing is luckier than knowing to view life in a beautiful way while you have it. I met lovely people who illustrated, and taught me these truths through their own living.

Some of these people I happened upon during my years, other I grew up next to, and others still, I met through the magic of the words they left behind in the pages of their books. I am grateful to them all.

And life is so fucking beautiful. How is it possible that existence can be so heartbreakingly beautiful? It could have been anything. And maybe to other existences, our life is ugly. I guess, how could we know without comparison? But, to us, to me, this thing called life is the ultimate manifestation of love. And what else could we have possibly been "put" here for?

Before I go, I have two things to say, in the hope that anyone who reads may stop and think.

All you will ever have is right now. Please don't throw away your presence. Don't live your now with your head already in tomorrow, or next week, or next year. The nexts might not ever show up. Find a way to change your thinking. Pull it out of the future, or the past, and into to lovely moments of now. You'll find that the beauty will grow and the fear and worry will begin to shrink. And your life will begin to evolve into an authentic shape,...something that resembles you. And it will be right.

And love. That IS the point of all of it. The more love you give, the better everything will be. Love your friends and your family, love your teachers good and bad. Love the people who wont let you off of the metro, love the boss who makes you feel stupid, and the boy who patronizes you. Love the homeless man in the square and the lady with the change cup and the deformity on her face. Love your mom. Love the noisy children, and the young mother with the baby who wont stop crying in the restaurant. Love the guy or girl that stops speaking to you. Love the dog chases you on your afternoon run, Love any and every form of life you encounter. You can find all parts of you in these beings and all of you in parts of them.

And in the end, I hope you have loved. Hard and open. And it will have been good.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Day 4: Write a letter/story/poem to the person involved in your last heartbreak

(…Be Sure to wear red feathers in your hair)

I started building it the day after I met you.

 But let’s rewind a bit more. 24 hours earlier. There I was, standing in front of my sister’s vanity mirror. During periods of high stress, sometimes our only escape is to focus intently on menial tasks. A way of forgetting about our worries… a therapy of sorts. So, there I was, trying to perfect my hair with the curling iron. Not because I had any real reason to look good that day. But because there was something niggling at me...pushing me to get it looking just right. I stood for more than an hour, contently wrapping each strand of hair around the barrel, and holding it for the perfect amount of time to allow the heat to create a beautiful curl. Maybe this hair-perfecting obsession was because it was a holiday, but I still think it was the fact that I needed a distraction from my anxiety.
A fact that serendipitously decided to manifest itself on the day I met you.

I rubbed the area behind my ears that was sore from this headband I wore with red feathers on top. I sat with friends, sharing overpriced beers under the warmth of the afternoon sun, the first sunny day we had had all summer, and listened as Jenny Lewis performed in the park.
“you are what you love, and not what loves you back
And I’m in love with illusions, so saw me in half,
I’m in love with tricks, so pull another rabbit out your hat”
Went the lyrics, …the very ironic lyrics.

When we met, I was already annoyed with you. Your stupid ponytail, and necklace, your dickhead way of speaking to me. Everything about you pissed me right off. I’ve never disliked someone so much in the first few seconds of meeting them.  Looking back, I wonder if I must have known deep down, maybe subconsciously that you could hurt me. I was so angry with you because I guess maybe I did care from the start. Even though I didn’t realize it. I mean, you don’t get angry about things you don’t care about, do you?

 So, a day in and I’ve started building this thing. This structure that I’ve put you on top of. 

And the more I focus on the things about you that make you unique to me: your accent that was so new and intellectual sounding, your questioning ideas and thoughts about life, your enthusiastic and youthful approach to life (at least that summer), your open mind….
I’m seeing all of these things, and I’m thinking “Wait, I USED to think like that”…what happened? Why did I let everyone around me condition me to think that I have to THINK a certain way? A way that doesn’t feel right.  And why have I NEVER been around another person like this one? A person who thinks all the things that make sense….and doesn’t seem to be affected by what other people tell him to think or not to think. And he’s not afraid to disagree. And he does it well! My mind is a little bit blown and pissed off with itself.

And then there was the physical chemistry.  The once in a lifetime, blow me away, set on fire, physical chemistry.
So, as I thought more and more about all of these things, the structure was being made bigger and higher, you on top, rocketing toward the sky. And I watched this happening in blissful amazement as that original inner turmoil, the stress, the anxiety dissolved. My mind had been freed by being exposed to yours.

Then there was the absent period. And everyone knows what happens with absence.
It grew, higher and higher like the beanstalk from the fairytale. You must have looked like a tiny spec from down where I stood.

Finally, the stars (and I do mean the stars) crossed once again.  And the way it happened forced that damned thing  to grow even more. I should have known it was impossible when I couldn't even see you anymore from where I stood. But hope is a beautifully brutal thing, isn't it? It wasn’t really my fault that everything got so ridiculously blown out of proportion. I mean, come on, Valentine's Day isn't my style. But I think with a love that big, for me, it was inevitable. Sometimes I do wish I could go back and do it again. With the brain I have now, I mean. Just to see what would happen.
 You have to believe in magic sometimes. And that second go round was laced with a little magic.

 But one of the truths of life is the ebb and flow. The birth and decay and pain. All that.... And for something that had become that big, what can you expect to happen?

(This is where things gets sparse as I prefer to glaze over this part)

Even worse, the cruelty of truth….and trying for so long to understand. To make some sense of it. To convince myself that…

Realizing that I don’t need to convince myself of anything, but just to get rid of the pain

And time...and silence...And more time...
And less pain, but sometimes pain
And more time...

And someone else, and even less pain

And as all things do with neglect, that structure has finally decayed, and you have fallen right through it. Leaving me standing, staring at an empty space. As with any disaster, there are of course ruins. And yours is a permanent imprint on my heart. An explosion that left everything inside of me burned, except a positive shadow where you once stood. Always positive.

But every now and then, on a night that doesn’t feel particularly special, I’ll spend a little extra time in front of the mirror, making sure my hair is just perfect. Just in case I run into someone that I can’t stand in the first few seconds of meeting him.