I made a vague promise to myself not to write late night posts anymore. I reduce to my raw element past midnight. It isn’t quite eleven as I start this post but I know that I am already down to my spiritual skivvies. If there is anything blogging has brought to people it’s an immediate unadulterated honest and raw view of human life in process which allows us to connect in ways we find it difficult to connect in our everyday community.
Something has shifted today. I felt it in the air, definitively. Life is wild; it shifts and changes course on a dime and none of us can predict what ride we’ll be on tomorrow that we never dreamed of today. So there is essentially only right now. There is always right now. I don’t know what twists will wake me from my groggy Saturday morning stuperous sleep and I’m not worried about tomorrow. Instead I am still tasting this queer, almost frightening deja vu that began this late afternoon.
Perhaps it was the unseasonable warmth and mellow fall light that stirred up a completely unexpected visitation of a past spirit. Everything was subtly draped in a familiar light; a California late afternoon with the lingering warmth that always begs you to open another beer and sit on the stoop chatting to neighbors who are taking their constitutional in the gorgeous gold evening. You smell the antique roses from where you sit and you speculate about whether or not the couple across the street has a relative chained up in the basement and laugh because it’s impossible that in a whole neighborhood there should be not a single Mister Rochester.
I don’t know what will happen tomorrow or next week. I don’t know what new challenge will accost me when I can least deal with it.
That’s just it. I have matured enough (finally) to understand and accept that it keeps on coming. I have let go of outcomes to some degree. The things I thought were most important for years have proved much less important than I could ever have imagined they could be.
Rewind. Rewind. Rewind.
Something powerfully subtle has transpired in the quiet.
Five years ago something in the universe started keeping the wrong time. A gear got bent by a thirty-secondth of a fraction of a fucking infinitesimal unmeasurable tiny-ass millimeter. Ever since then everything has been exactly that fraction of a fucking infinitesimal unmeasurable tiny-ass millimeter off. I’ve been pissed off for a long time.
Until this summer. I took a break. I wasn’t particularly zen in my break. I didn’t visit the Dalai Lama (because we’re still pretty fucking broke as a matter of fact and my trip to New York might be the last trip I ever get to take) and I didn’t wear a dirndle in the fresh clean icy Swiss alps reclaiming my milk-maid vibe…
This summer I just turned off all the conduits between my brain and the outside world and listened to myself. I realized that there’s a damn good chance that we won’t stay in this house. That life will be location-transient. I had to accept this because there was no other reasonable course but to accept whatever might come our way.
I had to come to some kind of peace with whatever outcome life might dole out. Proper medication at the beginning of the summer greatly increased my ability to achieve peace in myself and unknown outcomes. The universe seems somewhat perverse when it comes to me. Maybe it’s in love with me but is ashamed because I’m not a supermodel and so it plays with me in mean little shoves and sharp corners. I let go of that too. Just means the universe is reflected in me.
I let go. In the quiet, I let go.
Today something shifted.
Five years ago Philip and I sat on our fabulous brick front stoop watching neighbors pass by on their constitutionals on the balmy July evening asking ourselves what it meant that he just got laid off from the best job he’d ever had. We drank beers while our somewhat troubled child slept fitfully in his cheerful room in the house I had come to believe I would grow old in. I loved it that much.
We sat drinking beers, stunned, and yet I had no idea what was coming. I had no idea how far we would drop before finding solid purchase. I had no idea that I would lose the life I had come to believe was the life I’d always wanted to live. It was perfect, except for the fact that it depended on solid good paying work, which evaporated for so many people besides us.
I remember smelling the roses. My beloved antique roses. I remember the light my porch shed across my sunset pink stucco porch and how mellow, rich, and warm it was. I remember believing that somehow we’d make it all work out. We were hard working people. We’d find solutions.
Still. Still, there was a feeling of being cut loose on the world. A feeling that something had broken in the gears of our life. That time would never be accurate again. Something shifted that night as we sat drinking beers, stunned, enjoying the security of a life we built suddenly thrown into possibly permanent transition.
I only weighed 165 pounds that night. I wasn’t fat. My house was reasonably clean every week. My garden overflowed with amazing vegetables and we fit in where we were.
Reminiscing is the staff of human existence. We mark time this way, so please forgive me.
There was something on the air that night that told me, on an instinctual level, that life had shifted and that we were no longer on the path we’d meant to be on. I felt this strange grip on my heart and my spirit like something had gone out of focus.
Today I felt a great shift in the air and in my bones and both are in focus again.
It’s as though the past five years have been an odyssey and I have just come back from it. The air suddenly smelled right, and felt right, and the clock was keeping the right time.
I don’t believe in God. Not like most people believe in God. If I tried to tell you what I believe it would be a convoluted mess of Hippie drug visions mixed with arbitrary (selective) attractive Buddhist tenets and the best concepts from Hinduism. I’m sure if my parents had been exposed to Islam at the time they would have embraced at least some part of that as well. I don’t believe in god. I do believe that sometimes life becomes out of balance and we have to go through fire trials and struggle to keep our skin on as we fight for air in hell. Life can be like that and it isn’t personal.
Except that it is. If you’re suffering there’s something to know, something to overcome, something to grow out of.
I have lost a lot of skin but today I didn’t mourn. Today I looked at my two guys and knew that I was lucky to have two totally crazy creative genius maddening different and sweet guys to share my life with. Today something shifted and it was huge. Something that couldn’t budge for five years because I needed to grow. All three of us needed to grow.
Max is almost ten now and is the most amazing child. I am not an amazing mother but I know him, I understand and appreciate his spirit and every day is about not crushing him, not folding him into a drawer. I tell him to give me space to write my book and he asks me how my book is going. He is proud of his mother that she is a book writer. My wee son who used to threaten to kill himself when he was two. He is now working on a “book” (about 5 pages long!) and tells us he is happy that his dad is an artist and his mom is a writer. I know I’ve done well by who he is. No one else can judge that. I know. I see how I’ve done by how comfortable he is being different. Being a kid with obsessive compulsive disorder and ADD, he shines. He is proud of who he is in his best moments.
Everything needed to unfold exactly as it did. And there is no going back. There is only forward.
Today the clock was wound for the first time in five years by an unseen hand. I felt it as the minutes caught up. A queer otherworldly sensation of being hastened to a gate I couldn’t see.
We went out to dinner tonight and that’s when the deja vu of a different life struck me the hardest. Looking at the two boys I love best in the world in this strange light, a light both spongy and ethereal. Max, confidently being himself in all his strange glory knowing that here, between us, he is the most loved person. Just as he is. Philip, having pushed forward in his own development was peculiarly calm and happy. These are my people. Something moved back into place that had been out of whack for five years.
Time has begun again. We sat on our ghetto steps leading down to our weed choked ghetto yard and drank beers. The air was exactly as it was that July night when Philip came home with the news that would alter our lives so dramatically. This time no dramatic news prompted us to sit there. Something has shifted, an ephemeral little something, an unquantifiable something that only comes to you when you have evolved a step further. When you have let go of things that aren’t essential.
My ideal life divorced me and it was messy and now I’ve remarried and finally the fallout has fallen, the anger has dissipated, and what’s left is this new life with my old spirit returned.
The air was queerly intimate, smelled like my life before the great falling. Tonight I feel like I have been returned to myself.
In the end it’s nothing but bathos.
Something essential has been returned to me tonight.
I’ll never stop loving that pink house, my snug but wonderful kitchen, my amazing neighborhood. But it’s a thing of the past and didn’t unlock the fiction, the growth, or the understanding I now have. There’s no going back. We came here because we had specific things to learn.
Something shifted back into place today.
Between me, the rams, the clouds, the deep carpet of wet sinking moss, and the fighting spirit that keeps climbing up the hill and doesn’t see the cliff.
I am returned to myself.