I don’t want to throw clichés at you.
Clichés, my high school teachers told me, are worse than useless. They’re uncreative. They’re filler. Usually redundant, always unimaginative.
They were right. Of course they were right. Even the things I live my life by have never really been “clichés”–my mantras and reassurances come from quotable places, but they matter because they caught me by surprise. Yes. That. That right there. Never thought of it that way before.
Usually I consume words, but every now and then, words consume me. (sorry. that was cheesy).
Those are the rare, rare words that stick.
Here’s a peek:
I know, how simple and strange. “I believe in you. I trust you with yourself.”
Obviously these are terrible words to say if you’re actually worried about someone. But if you have faith in someone’s survival skills, it’s a pretty great way to share the faith without demeaning their situation. To say that it’s normal to be falling apart at the seams, rebuilding, laughing, crying, calling a friend at 3 am, insert lifeline here–they are going to be okay. At least, you think they are.
That seems to be worth something. It was worth a lot to me.
This is part of the poem “Transient” by Al Purdy…a great poem, though not overly relevant on the surface. But these words, these two lines–dude. The best way I can describe it is, they let me move.
It’s a weirdly big deal, and I can’t really explain it, but anyone who knows me well has seen these words written on something (my blackboard wall, my binders, in pen on my arm). The words are honest, and make no assumptions: Yes, I was always headed to wherever I am. And yes, the dirt under my fingernails, the person that I am, this can be “home.”
These are lovely ideas.
Here’s some tough love. Sometimes, it’s someone else’s turn. A person you love will leave, because they’re meant to be with someone else. A family member will die, because they’re in a lot of pain. Your business will fail and you’ll be left with nothing, because society needs to move forward and economies change.
You can spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out why that happened to you. Trying to figure out the reason. Thinking in a vacuum–something must have happened to you, so that something else can happen to you. Post hoc ergo hoc propter hoc.
Now, I’m a pretty religious person. I believe that everything does happen for a reason, and I believe in resurrection–closed doors leading to more open ones. But it’s silly to think that the exact reason for everything has to do with you, right now.
God has a lot of kids to look after. At one point, you’re going to end up being collateral damage. We take hits for each other all the time, whether we know/like it or not. That’s the price we pay for balance, for the circle of life, and for the privilege of being so beautifully interconnected with each other.
Your fate does not only belong to you. But what you do with that fate? That’s all yours, baby.
The ladies down at everyoneisgay.com say awesome stuff all the time, but this line from Danielle really stuck. So simple. So valuable.
Fact: If you worry things are going to suck, and you’re wrong, you’ve wasted your time worrying.
Fact: If you worry things are going to suck, and you’re right, you’ve wasted your time worrying. So you’re miserable twice as long–waiting for the thing, dealing with the thing, recovering from the thing.
Constructive concern is a go. Any other “worrying” gets served with this lovely question:
This is my mantra. I close my eyes and repeat these words in my head as I rock back and forth–because I’m totally sane, obviously. It’s an every-other-day thing, at least, and I have no shame in my brief reality checks. These words bring a great deal of focus: “Who am I today?” That’s all that really matters, in the end. Screw the coulda/woulda/shoulda. Screw worrying. Screw the fact that I do both of those things…until the mantra walks in and gives me a role to play. Today.
“Who am I today?” A student. An employee. Sometimes a writer, always a sister and daughter. I’m pretty alright at those roles, once I remind myself what they are–and who I am. Right here, right now.
What phrases give you pause, comfort, or something-in-between? Which sentences shape your life?