I am at once so many different versions of myself. Yesterday I loved the way my hips swayed and the way his fingers pressed into my sides in heat and passion and love. Today I scrub a little harder under the duress-ed pressure of the hot water gushing through the shower head lost in thoughts of reprimanding. I may sometimes question your judgement a little bit, but I promise to be the one sitting across you in my Swiss wool socks ready to consume and comprehend the words you will spill in hatred and anger, or those lighter ones said in joy and pure innocent glee because I will completely understand the need. I will some days willingly guide you through the web of life the best way I can, and some days I will ask that you find in yourself the solutions to your problems you have always known but refuse to accept. Some days I will be angry. Some days I may smile. Other days I will be at once the fiery orange in my curly brown hair, wind-blown and unkempt, and yet press feather light kisses on your cheeks and your forehead in my summer peach lips to let you know I am here, always. Today you may find me voraciously reading guides on how to get ahead in life because I say that the go-getter in me needs to be nourished, forget contentment. And tomorrow I will wake up to prayers in praises to spirituality, to learn and practice compassion, to be simple and want simple, accepting that less really is more. Because, I am at once so many different versions of myself. Tomorrow I will love you fiercely, that overwhelming kind of love that leaves you dizzy like you’ve have one too many mint juleps on a hot summer southern morning. Balmy, dazed and incomprehensible in pleasure. But maybe I will be the ice, the winter gush pushing you back because foolishly I will believe I am no good for anyone. Some days are clear days. Some days I am lost.
Everyone talks about being true to yourself. But we are never just one version of ourselves to be true to. There lies within you and me, many different us, so which one do we choose to be true to. We are all at once givers and takers, of responsibilities, of dreams, of hopes, of support, and of love. Some days we need more than we can give. Other times we are happy being the one giving all we can. Circumstances have over the years created many different versions of myself. Yesterday I promised myself I will try to keep the light burning for them, to be the flicker of hope of what could be because I know what is right, I know what is best. Yet today I find myself committed to yesterday’s goals but frantically searching for the hinge on which I might peg my own being so I do not find myself lost in the same darkness. Because, some days are clear days, and some days I am lost.
I want to talk about this interesting, almost epiphany worthy, talk I had with a dear colleague of mine a few days ago. (On a side note – doesn’t saying “dear colleague” almost make you think I might be a middle aged wise lady with unisex dressing sense and an uncanny liking for elbow patches and cigarette holders/pipes? I like it!). In all my sense of being I have always thought that I have been blessed with the ability to bond with people with ease. I cherish the fact that most people I get to know beyond courtesy salutations always seem to find it easy to come and talk to me about more personal and deeper things that they might be contemplating or dealing with. And while it may not entirely reflect very well on myself, I took a certain level of satisfaction and comfort in knowing that when they did talk to me about their troubles and sought advice (or so I thought) I was doing all that I could in my ability to help them. That the mere fact that I was, at any given point in my life, being confided in by at least a few people was reflective of the effectiveness of the effort I put in to scraping at the bottom of my wisdom, knowledge, and experience barrel to share what I thought were comforting words, advice, and helpful suggestions. It would however appear that I may have been mistaken. I might have even been a bit too presumptuous in thinking I could mean anything more to these people in my life than just a listening ear, a dumping ground of sorts to just let out the one thing they find themselves struggling to hold on to and fearing to admit or talk about.
As my dear colleague so plainly put it, no one really needs someone there to just listen to what they have to say. People NEED tangible help, they WANT every other kind of help. At first I was a little shocked, how can the figure of speech such as ‘a shoulder to lean on’ or ‘lending an ear’ be so easily dismissed I thought. Being there doesn’t only ever have to be at the rate of material or physical help I argued in my mind. But as my quickly deflating sense of satisfaction from knowing I am a trustworthy person calmed down I realized he may be onto something. Well basically he might be right. Or, he is right. My advice, or my lending ear, or even my uncomfortable shoulders, don’t add up to jack at the end. I sometimes go out of my way just to be there for people…..in intangible ways. I have an important presentation tomorrow but my friend in Australia needs to skype so she can vent about the horrible break-up till 4am? I am there! Its my own birthday dinner party that I am already late to but my friend’s parents have thrown him an ultimatum which led to a big fight so he needs to talk? I will hear him out and give advice on how to deal with it! Sometimes always being there is exhausting. And maybe its this exhaustion that’s finally catching up that makes me believe my colleague when he says, in the end people will do what they want to do no matter what you tell them. So even if I spend hours every week hearing them out, handing them tissues, and putting in my two cents, should the day come when everything is okay, we may or may not still stay in touch and they will probably be okay with it. When I am not around, I apparently will not be leaving a large vacuum space…a black hole….like my narcissistic self assumed. They will find other ways to deal with it and move on.
I guess in the end, its really about finding balance. Balance between being there for others and being there for myself. It is also putting (what I now guess is) my high sense of self in check because I might think the fact that people want to come to me to talk about their personal lives makes me a little bit more important than the rest when in actuality, it may be that I am one of five other people they bounce their stories off of. Hear that?……..Yup! that’s the sound of my ‘amour propre’ deflating un petit peu.
“The thing to learn from this my dear,” she said, “is that even in perfection there are perfect invalidation. What begins must end, but what breaks apart will also somehow eventually come together. Such is the way. The existence of every sentiment, feeling, incident, experience, effort, thought, words, and everything else in between is makes up what is, your life, and mine. His life and hers. All the same. There is of course beauty in the beauty of momentarily getting caught up in life’s little quips and whims. It is what is thrown onto your path to make life worth living and appreciating. Don’t fear its capricious ways, don’t fear of being left hollow and alone at the end, don’t fear its spill overs, don’t fear hurt or hurting, don’t fear, don’t fear, don’t fear, my dear,” she said. “It is not this or that, it is not your reaction to survive the bitterness you’ve been trying to scrub away, but it is also not your genuine desire to be here, it is what happens when its meant to happen. You do not need to have it all figured out, ever! That is a requirement humans place on themselves constantly but oh-so-unnecessarily. Embrace the vagueness for once because no one is going to quiz you on how superficially you understood it in the end. No, no, it is just that, superficiality, because the thing about these almost perfect situations is that it has no bottom to measure its depth. It is only as deep as you pursue it. So many of us forget and tire of the pursuit so we create a bottom and claim thats as far as it was capable of going, but that’s not true my dear, it is as deep, as profound, and as extreme as you allow it to be. There is both beauty and ugliness in that. If you understand it, its perfect. But as I said when I started this conversation, even in perfection there are perfect invalidation,” she sighed. “Allow yourself to be happy, allow other people to be happy, it may not be your responsibility but it is possible. Your brokenness is not reason enough to stop it. Don’t fear, don’t fear, don’t fear my dear,” she said and disappeared back into the sleepy abyss from where I had dreamed her up.
afraid to let him run his hands along the fractures of my being;
they say to be human is to be broken;
but to be broken is to be unwanted;
still the shrouded torments break with it;
my current will but also my current struggles;
seeking solace in the strings of companionship;
and the frayed ends of love;
to be human is to be broken;
but to be broken is to be life’s poetry.
Juxtaposed in my head
I compare and he wins
I reassess and he loses
This battle worth its decade
Worn to threads but still existing
Drowning out the analysis in my head
His smile, mischievous but familiar
Our bond, fractured but constant
The love, not real but habit
I filter its contents
Through the webs of truth and my reality
Juxtaposed in my head,
This a lacking
But that an abundant
Not the best but still a loss
I hold on and then let go
Lingering on those small moments
A little melancholia, but relief
Some disappointment, but closure
The relationship, metamorphosized
Then filed in the crevices of my memories
No juxtapositions, No wins, No falls, Normal.