"Poets claim that we recapture for a moment the self that we were long ago when we enter some house or garden in which we used to live in our youth. But these are most hazardous pilgrimages, which end as often in disappointment as in success. It is in ourselves that we should rather seek to find those fixed places, contemporaneous with different years."
-Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time
All these things I’ve ever written about little whispers of confessions and struggles with love. How we struggle with our partners and question our destinies. How we, no matter how old we are, continue to wrestling with ‘what if’s. They seem to move in like old lost family members who have been displaced. Just like every family has one of those, every head has a 'what if'. Normal.
My 'masturbation and other honesties' post was about pain and insecurity. It was about the holy few who refuse to admit that they ever have moments of doubt, in any thing. I wrote it in five minutes out of anger.
Gloria Steinem said, "If you are going to be angry let it be constructive." That was the only constructive way I could tell certain perfect puppets to go jump. But, more importantly, to let people know they aren't alone. Everyone goes to those places. We are peeking over picket fences, "Whoa, look at the flourescent green grass they have on that side." OR, they, we, are peeking on the past.
The past is a sneaky, slimy thing. Don't be fooled. There's another side to all of this. Walks down memory lane tend to be romanticized. That is the danger of giving too much power to the past. We forget all those dangerous details that colored, like George Seurat in tiny little dots, those relationships. The greater the distance between then and now, the more clouded we tend to be as we look back.
We forget the pain and the reasons why things didn’t quite pan out the way we planned. We forget WHY we abandoned those routes for new ones, lined with possibilites rather than dead-ends.
We wanted different things. Important things, like kids.
He never grew up and couldn't put down his game-boy and his joint long enough to look me in the eye.
He made me feel dumb and ugly.
He didn't love me HARD the way I loved him. I deserved someone who loved me as HARD as I loved them.
Some of my friends got married, denying their sexuality. It caught up and they were brave enough to leave. Brave enough to say, "I made a mistake by trying to fake it. I wish you'd understand, but if you can't I'm OK with that too." Lies like that are all-consuming; a slow tortured death where you are supposed to fake it and smile. Some of us need to reassess and get gutsy and move on becuase you can't, no matter how hard you try, outrun who you are.
But for others, the roads we have chosen are hard, but a different kind of hard. It's the kind of hard where life gets in the way, chaos and tragedies and sickness. It is life. You could change course, but it doesn't mean that course won't be riddled with bumps and forks as well. You can't outrun life.
Difficulty doesn’t diminish the significance, the choice of where you are today, or the direction you are heading. My 'what if' post was not telling you to run. My deepest apologies if that was the mixed-message I sent you.
My father always said, when I didn't want to go out for a run, "Jamie anyone can do something that is easy. Extraordinary people, really successful ones, make themselves do the hard things too."
Everything in this life worth anything is hard and worth fighting for. Like marriage and equality or your dreams. None of those things will ever be handed to us. You have to fight and you have take them.
My friend Stacie married at the tender age of 19. The priest balked at the marriage and advised her against it. She fought for it. I remember her telling me that the wedding was somber. Her priest treated her marriage more like a funeral, a half-assed attempt at a celebration by a priest who didn’t feel comfy presiding over a marriage that, in his eyes, was doomed. I’m not even sure if he told the groom to kiss the bride after they made their vows.
Fifteen years later, she still fights for the man she chose despite the naysayers. She has two beautiful blonde sprite-like beauties that are little replicas of her. They are gorgeous. Same man she fell in love with then, she loves and fights for now. Does she ever wonder about other roads now and again? I’m sure she does.
But she keeps her promises no matter how bumpy the road gets. She keeps her promise.
This song reminds me of Stacie, and all my friends who keep their word despite the bumps. Marriage and kids and frienships and promises get hard. The beauty lay in the continuation to fight these little battles that come with age and marriage and children, the grace with which Stacie fights to tend to a sick child. The courage she exhibits as she begins a career in her thirties.
This song makes me think of her and the commitments we make and the battles we fight as we grow older to keep those promises. It makes me celebrate the people and the marriages, that learn to dance in the mine fields.
I was was surfing the channels last night, watching the gazillion shows on wedding dresses. The prominence we bestow on the spectacle of the wedding. It made me sad. How many of these will last? If we focused less on gowns and thousands of dollars spectacles, and more on the art of dance in the mine fields with our partners, gosh dammit how many joyful marriages there would be?
And weirdly, or maybe not, I keep going back to my friend Robyn. Some of us have friends who, for watever reason, committed to us years ago. Friends that took a silent oathe of loyalty and never left-no matter how many kids, moves, or men came between. This song is for Stacie, who keeps dancing, all these years later. And for my dearest friend Robyn who knocked on a stranger door years ago and asked me if I wanted to run.