I watched Her again last week. It's such a poignant, beautiful film. That thing he says about never feeling anything new again... that's so desolate. It's haunting. That we've somehow reached critical mass on feelings. And that once you get to a certain point, that's it. You've felt it all, the whole range somehow, and that maybe the next time that feeling comes around, it will just be less. Fewer. I think it scares me because I think that sometimes. That's the thing that youth worship teaches us, that somehow as we grow older and gain the exquisite wisdom of experience, those experiences become duller and less shiny because we may have worn them before.
I think we get to choose how we look at the world. I've discovered recently that I have been living in a much more compartmentalized, black and white, all or nothing, always and never kind of world than I thought. I imagine myself to be open minded and malleable, but it's taken some real talk with myself to accept that I built up some very rigid belief systems over the last several years in order to survive and change and be the person I needed and wanted to be. I made this year The Year of Yes because I realized last fall that my whole life was based on saying no. That's evolving into questioning everything I think I know. When we are faced with tragedy and pain and loss, we adapt or we die. What was right for me in the past may not be right for me now or ten years from now. I like to think I can be that sure about everything in my life, but I can't and I'm not. I'm winging this shit, just like everyone. Who and what I thought or think I am is just an abstract construct I've created. It's a mask I wear. Just like you.
We have to make judgements and decisions to navigate our lives. I think for a very long time it was incredibly soothing and comforting to me to be able to tell myself that I knew my stance on this thing or that thing. For sure. Forever. I do like knowing and completion and certainty because it feels safe to me. I sought safety because I needed it. And I do like a good checklist. I like a calendar. I like a plan. I LIKE A PLAN. But I don't need one. Not all the time. Not forever.
I'm learning, now, that it's okay not to know things. It's okay to be content in uncertainty and live fully in the present as much as that is possible. It's okay not to have my whole life planned out. It's okay to be spontaneous and impulsive. It's okay to change my mind, even about things I may have been so certain would never, ever change. It's okay to change, because change is how we grow. Now, I want to live in the grey world, the real one. I want to be here, now, in flux. I don't need to know what's going to happen later this year. I'm working on a much bigger reality, which is being here in my life as it is right this second.
The past is just a story we tell ourselves that shapes the dream of the future story we imagine is possible. The self that we imagine we actually are is really just a collection of moments and actions and experiences that happened to this body and this mind. It's very difficult for me to think about things that happened to me a long time ago and feel like it happened to the me I am right now. It's a story. Some of it was tragic, some of it was amazing. But now, it's just a story that changes every time we remember it. Being defined by the past, thinking nothing will ever be as good as it was then, that's the always or never talking. I want to live in the maybe moment. Sometimes. Occasionally. Perhaps. And most importantly, what if?
Right now, I'm happy and safe and healthy. Bad things happen to me, and sometimes life hurts, but I am not hurting myself. I don't need to do that because I like myself. I'm good. I may not do everything perfectly to the degree that I did at one time in my life, but I'm taking care to give myself a fucking break. I'm tired of being hard on myself because I don't fit into a box. Because I don't fit into the perfection fallacy I tried to mold myself into. I'm tired of feeling that I'm not good enough because my body isn't perfect or sometimes I just want to watch Peep Show and eat tacos instead of going to the gym for two hours. I want to allow myself joy in the simple things.
I like to think that the best part of my life is ahead of me. That I have years of new joy and sadness and laughter and tears and love and loss and visceral, gut ripping emotions stretching out in front of me until I finally collapse in a disheveled pile of guts and glory and blood and tears and feelings and love and die in a freak swooning accident at a Radiohead show. Because Thom Yorke is the last thing I ever want to hear and that is super for real. Do what you want. Trust yourself to know what's best. Fuck it. Your only obligation in life is to yourself. Treat yourself with compassion. Seriously.