Life sure brings along some surprises, doesn't it?
As a child, my view of the world was creative, imaginative and colorful. I enjoyed daydreaming and living in a fantasy world as many other children. I played with dolls and legos as if they were real beings. I was fascinated with leaves as if they were the greatest art pieces that ever existed (Um, because they ARE).
I saw the future as a dream or a sci fi fantasy movie, or even BETTER than that. My senses were more heightened than they are today. I was more in my 'animal' self, my primal self. And I told stories like the greatest ancient storytellers. All kids tell great stories. When I was a child, my imagination knew no bounds of 'reality'.
But with all its imagination - my mind was also as one dimensional as it gets: things were black and white, people were good and evil, and everybody around me was a pawn in MY game. All children think sort of narcissistically, and I was no different. I actually remember the day that it hit me that other people have thoughts in my head like I do. It was a revelation! The child's mind is pretty self obsessed if I'd judge it from mature eyes. The child's mind is, well, childish.
And maturity... sigh... maturity is one of those surprises that happen in life. Time goes by, things happen, we go through experiences... and slowly but surely - we grow. We mature. We stop the little irrelevant feuds, we think before we speak, we spend our time the way we truly want to. We start looking for all the shades of grey and nuances and complexities. We don't think in binary terms as much. Our thinking is more mixed, more complex, more holistic than that.
If we are lucky, our creativity remains childlike, and our behavior, our understanding, our view of life - matures. It grows. It sees things more broadly, more clearly, more... of everything.
As children, we see everything as rainbows.
As we grow older - we start to see that there are rainbows, in everything.
Remember this, little one:
You thought you were solely a consumer.
They sold you a dream, and a house, and a fence.
But they really sold you yourself.
You are the product of a society of selves.
A community of individuals.
Because a society that sells you everything
Is one that will also sell YOU in a drop of a hat.
Today I was reminded of the sometimes painful always treasured process of us artists:
We feel, we burn, we get crushed, we get inspired, we work, we write, we act, we dance, we move, we sing, we laugh, we tell stories, we connect, we get jobs, we lose jobs, we wait, we wait some more, we fail, we succeed, we fail. We fail again. And that is our success. Resilience. The love of the journey even when the destination is uncertain.
"Ever tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." ~Samuel Beckett
Yes today to this quote.
Yes everyday to this quote.
I went on Reddit to help me deal with my anti-vax friends.
Seems like the thing to do in 2021, am I right? Who here has NOT turn to Reddit in despair to get some insights into their wild-with-conspiracies anti-science gone BONKERS friends?!
I learned some things by browsing through countless of personal accounts from the anonymous people of the Inter Net. These are some highlights:
*No one knows ANYTHING about ANYTHING. Even the bright minds of the wild wild web.
*There are so many heartbreaking stories out there of families breaking apart over conspiracy theories and misinformation driving people to a digital or political cult of some kind. So unbelievably sad. I am most definitely not the only one losing friends over this kind of a dilemma.
*If a friendship ends over this - it may not have been a true friendship before.
*Reddit can be cruel, brutally honest, and oh-so-addictive.
*Anti-vaxxers are everywhere and have all kinds of ways to dress up their fears: 'We don't know the long term effects yet', 'It's Big Pharma!', 'Freedom!!', 'My body, my choice', 'it's a human rights issue!', 'I'm no sheep!' etc.
*Many Anti-vaxxers will start their claims by saying 'I'm not an anti vaxxer, BUT.....'
*Immunity is community. And when so many people around the world live in places where vaccinations are NOT available at all - what does it say about a community when a large portion of its members oppose it because 'the government', 'THEY', 'Microchip', 'Controlling world population' and other absurd claims that are rooted in nothing but fear, mistrust and separation? Oy.
Lastly, my biggest take from my research down the rabbit hole of like minded people on Reddit is:
The world isn't binary. It isn't black and white. It isn't good or evil.
It is many many shades of colors and people are mixed and flawed and are never ONE thing.
If a friendship is meant last and withstand crisis - it will.
Whew. You BURN deep. You feel like a sharp edge dagger slowly chirping at my heart.
Not a full, deep dig but rather a slow, bothersome one.
One that lingers longer than the bruise.
One that scars for months. Sometimes years.
Today, you and I met after a short period of sweet absence.
You and I met because a friend of mine, or well - soon to be an ex-friend of mine - has brought you along with him. It was an unexpected visit. A surprising one. An out of the blue encounter.
I should have expected your visit, especially with this soon-to-be-ex-friend.
But one thing I know about expectations: I only become aware of them when they are NOT fulfilled.
If anyone knows anything about expectations - it's you:
You float in between failed expectations... You turn the lights off on Christmas wishes....
You are like the evil bomber that steals dreams with a drop of a hat.
But enough with dressing you up in nice and cozy metaphors!
Truth is - YOU SUCK.
You may not have expected my harsh words, but why mince words!? Why shield you away from feeling your own skin!? Why be the 'bigger person' when you show up unannounced and attack any unassuming victims in your path!?
Perhaps it's time for YOU to feel what it's like to be... DISAPPOINTED.
Well, so what is it like? To feel in your own skin? Hello...?
And suddenly, just like that - poof! You are gone.
Guess you don't like threats. Or maybe that's exactly how it is best to wash your presence away:
'You name it, you tame it.'
Good riddance, Disappointment. Good riddance.
P.S. Take Expectation with you, will you?
Note To Self, And To Anyone Else Who Needs To Hear This:
From the moment you were born, with the help of your parents or care givers (if you were lucky to have them), you learn how to walk with your legs, how to talk using your voice, how to hold things in your hands, how to taste in your mouth, how to count, how to write.
Some things were inherently known to you, and others were challenging and needed hours or days or weeks of practice. Slowly but surely, you became familiar with your body, your muscles, your mind, and quickly adopted from your parents and your surrounding society a 'way to be a human.' You were conditioned, indoctrinated, and taught.
BUT some things may have never really been taught to you. Those are your INSTINCTS;
These sensorial 'tells' that seem to know things better than your mind and your body. Those smart impulses that guide us in the wilderness of, say, American suburbia, or your family dynamic, or when a stranger approaches you in the playground. Instincts are not only needed, but they are crucial to learn how to calculate risk assessment, how to navigate trust with others, and ultimately - how to live a richer life. Or at the very least be a fierce survivor.
But how do we nourish those instincts to show up to us when we need them to?
By NOT having the answers. By having to figure them out to ourselves. Just like in the wild- we develop instincts by being put in high stakes situations and adopting the best methods to cope and survive them.
So in the wilderness of your block - choose NOT to use your gps for a change - let yourself figure out the way home on your own, with the help of your instincts. Or by paying attention to the red flags with people and assessing if they stem from overly paranoid feelings, or from your instincts guiding you well.
Instincts will never stop being essential to you, so start honing them now.
Give them opportunities to flourish.
Invite your instincts in.
I was looking for a word to describe my day.
A word to describe my feeling.
A word to echo the mood I'm in or any insight that landed in my lap today.
But I didn't find just one. I found many. I found:
Drained, Resigned, Exhausted, Livid, Pissed Off, Overwhelmed, Disbelief, Stunned, Bothered, Separated, Antagonizing, Desperate, Frightened, Concerned, Worried, Giving Up, Releasing, Accepting, Retreat, Firm, Boundaries, Peace, Self-Love, Love, Cherish, Respect, Respect, Respect.
I landed on Respect, but all the words prior are equally as important.
Because just like an onion - every layer holds the onion together.
Every layer add to its weight, to its volume, to its taste.
Let's play a game of hide and seek.
I will hide and you will count,
There, with your eyes on that willow tree.
You'll shut them tight and I will hide in the branches,
Right underneath your nose.
Your beautiful pointy nose.
And then you will go look for me,
Just like the game goes.
But you will not find me,
Because you will not look where it matters most.
You will not look at the heart,
There, in that willow tree.
The beautiful weeping willow tree.
It is weeping my tears,
But you cannot hear them.
It is shedding my hairs,
But you cannot feel them.
It is hiding my face,
But you cannot see it.
Because you cannot see what you don't seek.
And there, at that willow tree, I stayed and you were gone.
And at last, our game of hide and seek was done.
That night on the pier, do you remember?
You held my hand, and I took a picture of the full moon.
I asked you: 'what was it full of?'
You shrugged and held my hand even tighter.
And I said: 'It's all right. I don't know either.'
Some things are not for us to know,
But rather they are for us to wonder.
Take a breather, a chill pill, something, anything...
You attacked me like a rocket and I'm suddenly completely at your mercy, with all the STRESS associated with you: the impatience, irritation, heart pumping fast, pure overwhelm, feeling like I have to chase chase chase and never get anywhere.
You're a tough pill to swallow, dear Stress.
I'd like to treat you with respect, empathy and patience, like the 'bigger person' that I am, but to be honest - I have no idea how to do that. Because when you run through my veins I am filled with, well, STRESS, and while I seem productive to the naked eye.... in a closer look - you weigh on me like a bulldozer and drain every ounce of emotional capability to handle you. You're a catch 22, dear Stress, because when I feel you. -I am then not capable to deal with you whatsoever. And then we find ourselves in some toxic loop, until I crack and break down and finally allow myself to give me some ME TIME, some self care, some relaxation. All the tools that scare you away. Until the next time you show up, of course.
Dear Stress, I want to learn to live with you. PEACEFULLY. To accept that you will likely overwhelm me every so often, but that your intention is to 'think of the worst case scenario', to protect me, to keep me in deadlines. It starts here, it starts now, it starts with me making an effort to really look at you. To look at you deeply and say: I don't need you.
I don't need you.
I don't need you.
And to be ready and willing to ask the question: 'who am I without my stress?'
Who am I without you, dear Stress?
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman