I hate lessons. I hate lessons from teachers who are reading a school approved book and then regurgitating it to me. I hate lessons from my mother who can’t, literally, give an answer that is less than fifty thousand words. I despise lessons from life, the unending acknowledgment that we are not what we are supposed to be but there are no necessary hints of how we get wherever we are supposed to be. I even hate lessons from my children who seem so cute but instead hide a brilliant and often disturbing minds.
In case you have missed my last posts I have been on vacation. I spent seven absolutely horrific days with my extended family in a house on the beach. You are going to have to take my word when I tell you that putting those people in the same location is not only unwise but bad for bystanders health. They are a people of jealousy, imagined hurt, and enough anger to make cookie monster’s love of cookies into a normal obsession. One wonders how I survived the week with only a couple of bruises.
Of course no matter how we wish it to be different life moves whether we are sitting on a beach or at home continuing our banal life. For instance, my husband’s company was bought out for 825 million dollars. Does this mean that now that I have settled in my world and am beginning all these new chapters – and there are quite a few – I am moving again? Does this mean my husband is going to get laid off and we are going to have bills and once again no way to pay them? Does this mean that we are going to end up better than we ever thought we could? And why the hell couldn’t you have bought the company for 824 million and given me the rest?
And since everything worth talking about comes in threes let me explain the morning I have had. I sat in a window seat with a horrible back pillow waiting for the one person I adore most to come out of surgery. She is an eighty-four year old woman whose past will catch up with her; but also the only person out of the billions of people in this world who actually knows what I go through. I got my condition – let’s sugar coat it – from my grandmother and spent hours and days listening to her stories to find my own way. I have survived and gained the recent courage for this journey directly from her veins.
So three things happened in the last week. And as we all know based on the latest news from Hollywood, bad things come in threes. I will be adult enough to admit none of the things I listed are all that bad. They certainly didn’t include starvation or murder – although it was close with the latter. No, it was life; it was my life. And one could argue that there isn’t any lesson to learn; I will always feel differently.
You see I have spent the last six weeks believing I was on some sort of journey. That I was learning to stand up for myself, I was learning that taking care of myself was worth the pain, I thought I was learning how to be me. I am many things, and of those things most we all can easily understand. But I have also known there was a part of me, a part of me terrified to emerge, that could and would color my world in the shades I never dared to believe were possible.
My journey was mine, and mine only. It was a lonesome, quiet and often time painful journey. My knees were getting bruises as I finally fell to the floor in the agony of letting go. There were prayers of bargaining, feelings of being possessed of a entity beyond my brain’s capability to understand. There were moments that I could hold my breath and finally answer the questions of what I wanted. I was starting to finally believe that I could be someone not defined. Someone that simply was.
I don’t know if that is still possible. These last three tests, while not major on anyone’s list, have reminded me that I am not in the middle of a journey as I believed, but rather just at the beginning. It isn’t over yet. It hasn’t really even begun.
Because I can’t sit among those that are supposed to love me and find in my heart the strength to walk away. Because I can’t look inward for the strength to conquer the next question. Because I can sit in a room and pretend that I am alright. I can don that mask and keep it on longer than it ever should be. I can hide in the midst so that no one sees me. And when one is supposed to be on a journey to come from the shadows the realization that you are still so deep in the forest as to be lost, there is a pain that will conquer even your most cherished belief.
I understand that I am in the dark. I understand that I have spent the last thirty years not trying to escape the dark, but rather to survive in some way in that dark. I have spent those years listening to those around me as they dressed me, cut my hair, took me to God, and ignored me every time I ever fell to my knees in sheer agony. I understand that there is this person, this amazing person who can do things to change the world deep inside of me. But I wonder if I keep having to fall to my knees and lose the path that I am trying to follow what is it that I am trying to find?
I freely admit that I don’t know a lot about this journey yet. I freely admit that I can’t predict what goal I have or where exactly I want to be tomorrow. It does not bother me that this journey is either devised by my own sub-conscience or at least my own God. What bothers me is the continual tests to see if I am ready. What makes each step that much harder is the knowledge that I might not make it, and the lessons of defeat are loud and clear not only in my soul but in the very skin that I wear.
If this was last summer or even the last thirty summers I can tell you without doubt that I would quit right now. I wouldn’t care that the possibilities were more enticing than any chocolate I have ever seen. I would simply quit rather than face another defeat learned only through the lessons of life. I would quit not out of fear or even strength, but because the need to be greater than I am would be absent.
Somewhere along the way that need, the need to be greater than myself, has overtaken all that I know. I beg for safety on this journey. I beg for the courage to not rest even for one day, and I beg for the strength to see that walking instead of kneeling changes your world forever.