“Are you happy?”
I lay my head on the crook of my arms that are tucked under my knees and think about this question. It’s not about happy – it’s not as simple as that. It’s different, it’s better than happy – it’s like a contentment that I can feel in every part of me. People say contentment is a bad thing but to me it feels like a bath, a big giant warm bath that you can stay in forever because the water never gets tepid. A big giant warm bath made for me, with fingers and toes that never go white and a heart that’s flushed out the fear and has only light.
This is really me. Honest. This is calm, this is love, this is family, this is a place and a feeling that I am so happy to be in. I have three children that I love and a man who I know has my back. Life’s not perfect but I love the bones of it, you know?
“Happily ever after, then.”
No. More like life. This is it. Every part that came before is part of what made me who I am, right or wrong. This is life. And I am finally living.
“Oppression can only survive through silence.”
– Carmen de Montedlores
I can’t approve being wronged.
I wished to speak this time, I wished to speak lots of times, only my tongue failed me. Not that I am afraid, not that I care like I used to, but cause it will be in vein. Saying words knowing they’re just “blah blah blah”, so I always choose to listen in silent.
I don’t want that day to come, when I will regret my words, when I will be assaulted by bitchy karma, so I choose to listen in silent.
Silent is cruel, choosing to be patiently silent is misfortune, but this time I won’t listen in silent.
“Silence is a text easy to misread.”
– A. A. Attanasio
“Stupid is as stupid does.”
We live in a world that’s obsessed with fart jokes, hipster dogs and top 40 charts. Stupid is funny and easy. Stupid wins awards in France.
Stupid doesn’t change the menu because it knows you liked pie last time you came in, so why offer you anything else. Stupid wants you to watch the movie based on the action figure based on the comic book based on the book you read when you were a kid.
Stupid wants you to write the same story that everyone else writes, in the same way, with the same cover. Stupid wants you to be the Neil Gaiman of Mongolia or the Jackie Collins of Southern Sudan. Instead of the you of anywhere.
Stupid doesn’t take chances. Stupid is afraid of new.
Each day, the amount of people who visit this site could fill the Sydney Opera house three times over. But I know, if someone took a video of me getting drunk and falling over a dog outside a bar, it would get more hits in a day than I’ve gotten in four years.
Stupid, again, often wins.
The official song of the soccer World Cup can be roughly translated as
“Do the job, where do you come from, it is mine, wait, come.”
You would also be surprised to learn that South America is not the same place as South Africa and that the last time they shared something, besides the word “South”, it was when the general land mass was referred to as Pangaea.
Stupid wants you to fill out a form before you can fill out a form. Stupid sends you an email to tell you that you have too many emails. Stupid designs a phone that blinks and flashes its lights to tell you that it’s running out of power. Stupid puts up big, bright banner ads that tell you that a psychic somewhere can help you get rich. And stupid makes a lot of money like that.
But letting stupid get you down, is stupid.
Carry on being who you are and trying to do things in new, interesting and unfamiliar ways no matter how uncomfortable they make the rest of the world feel.
Because not everyone, is stupid.
I was sitting in the living room, comfortably sprawled out on the sofa. The hubby, who was sitting at the other end, looked over and said, "You need some new books". That may be true but I like my old books too. Most people cannot understand why I would re-read a book, often several times. You buy a CD and listen to the same old songs over and over, the music touches you you get something out of it. Well, I am like that with my books; not all book of course, just certain ones, by certain authors.
“It didn’t matter that the story had begun, because she discovered long ago that the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again.”
– Arundhati Roy The God of Small Things
That is their mystery and their magic.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess, a castle, and a prince. They met and.. Zzzzzzzz…
We’ll try again:
Once upon a time, there was a carrot, a princess, 50 soldiers, and a pink monster.
Which beginning is the most interesting to you? I thought I wanted the story about the princess and the happy ending. But I am bored. I want to hear the story about the pink monster and the princess. But that’s not what I thought I wanted. Then what do I want?
I think I want what I want. But when I get what I want, I don’t want it. So, I don’t want what I thought I wanted, but I want what I don’t want – or what I didn’t expected.
I want what I don’t expect to happen. I want honesty when I don’t expect honesty. I want love when I don’t expect love. I want help when I don’t expect help.
The Dalai Lama puts it just right: “Remember that not getting what you want, is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”
Have you ever searched for something and got 17 hundred million links as a result? How far do you go? I usually take a look at the first 2 or 3 pages maximum. Over time I have realized that if what I am looking for is not on the first page then I need to use a different search term. I wonder why they don’t just decide on a cut off page and return only 50 or a 100 results and that’s it. The problem is that it would take forever to go though all of them and after a certain point it becomes obvious that what you are looking for is not there anyways.
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” (Always have a back-up plan… I wonder how much energy/time/emotional investment I’ve wasted on back-up plans?)
“Nothing lasts forever.” (Unless you make it.)
“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” (Well, you can’t bank on them… but if there are eggs there will, eventually, be birds.)
“Don’t get your hopes up.” (This never works. By the time I’m telling myself this it’s too late I’ve already gotten my hopes up and am trying to not be disappointed. Wasted a lot of energy on this one, too. What if I DID get my hopes up? Sure, I may be disappointed but I would be anyway… wouldn’t I? I think this steals the joy from waiting.)
“I can’t.” (My first response to almost any challenge – usually followed by a tirade of reasons why I can’t but the truth is, I won’t know until I try.)
“I have to.” (Do I really HAVE to do all the things I think I do? Probably, not.)
“I’m too________.” (loud, talkative, colorful, noisy, hyper, scattered — insert your own lie here.) Maybe I’m this way for reason… maybe you are too.
“I’m not __________ enough.” (educated, experienced, credentialed, mature, good — insert your own lie here) What if these things don’t really matter? Honestly, I’ve avioded a lot of things because I simply believed I wasn’t enough...
What if I am? What if I’m NOT?
What if I stopped lying to myself. What if everyone did?
People don’t change – they can act differently, they can speak differently, and they think differently, but the shards of their inner personality will still always remain. The cracked, abandoned pieces might be hidden, way behind blockades and caution tape, but they’re still there, deep inside a person. Old habits are hard to break, and even when broken, they are easily fallen back into.
“I felt like the luckiest unlucky woman in the world.”
This quote really struck me. Do we naturally grasp for the silver lining in things? Do we always have to convince ourselves that something makes us lucky in order to keep going through the difficulties of life?
I’m going to have to take this one from my personal viewpoint, because I honestly am not sure how others operate here. I don’t know that I grasp for silver linings and I don’t think I have to convince myself that something makes us lucky. I think luck happens. And once again, in my slightly crunchy granola Buddhisty slant, I believe that I get good and I get bad. I will say that I currently have a life that makes me happier than I not only ever have been before, but a life that I could never have imagined I would be lucky enough to have, and when I say “my life” I’m not counting my recent move. I’m talking about my state of mind, my emotional and physical well-being, my security and love. I don’t think its luck that brought me that – I think it’s good coming in after bad.
I think in many ways I believe in karma – good happens if I’m good. Bad happens if I’m bad, only others may not be around to see the bad as proof that bad gets what it deserves. Life is difficult, there’s no way around that one. There are no silver linings and there are no options for convincing ourselves otherwise. Life is hard, but it’s pockmarked by moments that we don’t expect or demand, and those moments make it all worthwhile.
(I swear I don’t run around lighting incense and chanting mantras.)
Let me try to be clear: I think bad things happen to me for a reason. I don’t know what that reason is, but I tell myself there is a reason for the bad in my life because if I don’t, I won’t get up again when I get knocked down (there’s a song in that somewhere).
I haven’t had an easy life, not by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe my views on it are a reflection of where I’ve been and where I continue to work to be. If I don’t try to accept that life is going to be what it wants to be, I will break myself against it in trying to control it. My life has sucked at various points. If I just accept that it sucked and it may suck again, it will keep me sane. Maybe I come across as que sera sera, but I promise I don’t mean to. It’s just the way I have adapted to survive.
And that’s enough with the Zen for one day, I think, don’t you?