Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The lure of what was

I came online with the intention to write. To put it all out there, bare it all, make some major grammatical errors, and continue nonetheless. Instead I've spent the last 15 minutes listening to voice messages I've saved from a friend who has recently disappeared - notoriously unreliable yet I believe in him always, as he always reappears eventually - and perusing the insights and musings of other bloggers. So essentially: missing, longing, envying.

My roomie is at her childhood home tonight, as she has been for many nights these last few weeks, caring for her mom whose health deteroiates by the day. I am constantly wishing I had the right words to say or the magic cure to make it better. Tonight she expressed some stress over how her recent absence from our shared space might be hurting me. And I realized what I do have is the ability to not be another thing burdening her. I told her I am here for her when she needs me but her worry does not need to extend to me or my well being. She seemed relieved to have one less person to carry through.

Truthfully though, my house is quiet and empty without her here. I laugh to myself thinking about the slightly neurotic things she does do when she is here that have the tendency to make me wish for the peace and quiet I am now slightly bored by. This includes: humming and singing the most strange songs to herself, walking around the house with her toothbrush dangling from her mouth, blowing her nose at a sonic level, slamming cabinet doors below my bedroom at godawful times of the day. Living with another person is a complicated business, but I've learned a number of times over now that the small irritations feel like gifts when they are suddenly removed. The absence of someone makes you long for their weirdest quirks.

I didn't intend to come on here and mumble on about the experience of sharing a space. I didn't intend to start thinking about the various people I have lived with in my small, blue house, and the ghosts that linger still. But I came to bed, laptop in hand, with thoughts of people I miss so I guess this tangent is not so surprising. I came to bed with questions about how life evolves and how we know when changes are "right" or "wrong." Often times when I am burdened by questions like these, I begin to dream of the past in which I felt most "me." It's a safe and comforting place to retreat to: it can feel more known, more clear than the murky present.

I think about my year of traveling & farming. I look at photos from the 18 months my nephew has been alive, starting at the beginning. I listen to old voice messages from people I love. I wish, for a moment, I still had a bridge to certain people. And then I read poetry that seems to say something and everything about what I am feeling, including this one by Bruce Willard. This seems about right: I like a destination which pulls true, deliberate, but at a great distance. 

And then I return to reading, where someone a lot wiser than me proclaims: "The story of human intimacy is one of constantly allowing ourselves to see those we love most deeply in a new, more fractured light. Look hard. Risk that."

These past few weeks as I have been considering who I am versus who I could be, especially in the context of work/vocation, I have been grasping for the times in life that have felt really authentic and like my best self was at the surface. I am seeking similarities and patterns, perhaps to try to understand if new opportunities in my life could be "right" or "true." I think remembering that I myself am fractured is actually more of what I needed than some perfect solution or ultimate answer.

Maybe I can rest with believing no choice is the right or wrong choice, and the self and our life is made up of many pieces, some of which, at times, can contradict each other. Right now I am feeling a lot of contradictions, such as being pulled back and pushed forward, craving certainty but also enjoying the mystery. What do ya know? Like I am constantly discovering: sitting with the questions might be more meaningful than desperately fighting against them.

There is no right or wrong. There is only now. The past is a false protection from being present and bravely living my life as it is, and is becoming, right now.

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