Sometimes I feel like life is this thing that kind of just happened and I’m part of something that keeps on moving and moving and moving. Like I am this weathered vessel that rests out in a storm to witness the earth’s spin cycle.
The trees move.
The wind surges.
People run and scatter.
Lightning hits ground.
The sky is grey. Thick and dark.
Oceans are lifted.
The ground breaks.
I sit in the center of this change, the uproar and chaos, squinting my eyes as rain veils across my face. My hair dances in the wind, a brown ballerina against an ominous, operatic backdrop.
I am a direct extension of the earth, my body is a mountain planted firmly, legs crossed. Everything around circulates, moves, debris flies around my shell. Cuts, scrapes, blood glistens like metallic red thread against my ash-stained skin.
I watch it all without fear. Like I know this storm in my core. I’ve lived it. Breathed it. And now I am here to observe. To experience it from another consciousness than I have before. It is an extension of my very being, all connected to something from within.
There is a clarity that comes with the destruction that only a survivor could understand. One who has walked these many paths and felt the spectrum of emotion that accompanies it.
But what the hell am I talking about? And what does that mean for now, for this moment? I guess the truth is that I have no fucking clue. It seems like the older I get, the more I realize that nothing remains constant. There will always be change, always be variables and storms that blow through my beautiful house of cards [cue the Radiohead song]. No one likes a stagnant snow globe.
It is so easy to connect the dots after the fact. To look back at thirty years of choices, decisions, people, events and see that 1 led to 2 led to 3 led to 4. That hindsight is twenty-twenty.
Embracing the storm is what I need in order to continue to grow. And the storm is not a bad thing. It is just the idea of life continuously evolving. We are not sentient beings with flat line minds. We manifest and create every moment. We create the people around us, the environment we live in, the conversations, the memories. Everything is a direct extension of who we are and what we want, we can choose to be conscious of that fact or not.
This idea can relate to something as simple as a color. The color blue only exists as my concept of the color blue. It is my perspective that ultimately shapes what blue is in my reality. There is no true shared experience because our experiences are never the same.
The color blue immediately brings me back to my bedroom when I was in High School. Crayola, brilliant-blue walls, deep royal blue shag rug. Nirvana and The Doors posters, magazine collages, art prints, glow-in-the-dark stars and photographs all inhabited the room with me. It was my escape from the outside, the place where my head could quiet or go crazy. It was a four-walled haven that protected me from the fear and insecurities that lay just beyond my door.
I can close my eyes and go back to that bedroom. Hear “The End” by The Doors playing as I lay in the navy shag carpet, feeling it in between my fingers, staring up at the stars on the ceiling. A blue light illuminated the room from a large Chinese ball lantern that hung over my bed. I watched the fan rotate round and round as I faded into blue atmosphere, my body melting into meditative oblivion. This feeling was safety, it was comfort. It was the closest I could come to being right back inside the womb. It was no judgments. Acceptance. A spiritual embrace that kept me level during some of my darkest years.
That is the color blue.
It’s through my associations, my personal memories and experiences, that this color is shaped into existence. I will never understand what blue is to anyone else, just like no one will truly understand what it is to me.
The same applies to people. My partner, Chris, acts based on his own set of experiences and associations. His actions and responses are a product of his journey, brain processing, perspective, spirituality. But my concept of Chris is my own. No one will ever know Chris the way I know him, not even Chris himself, because he is ultimately an extension of me. The Chris in my reality is also a product of my wants, my experiences. That Chris will never exist to anyone else, I have created him based off of his canvas and my perspective.
That thought can be unbelievably isolating or incredibly liberating.
Chris and I were on a plane home from LA yesterday. I had my head on his lap, the Virgin America purple glow filled the interior. We took the red eye back to Fort Lauderdale and we were both in that 2am haze, ready to be home. He was listening to their in flight radio and placed one of his headphones in my ear.
As I lay on his lap, swept away by BellX1’s “74 Swans”, I felt like we were sharing a moment. Both listening to the same song, confined in the same space, having had an amazing trip together. But he sat upright, facing the seat screen in front of him, while my head rested on his lap facing the floor. My mind gets wrapped in the music and I feel like I am living in a movie. The chords resonate within me, striking up emotions that could be dissected into feelings of love, of happiness. On a more epic and dramatic scale, I could close my eyes and see five years ahead. To us having children and living in California, a beautiful home with a perfectly manicured front lawn. It was the feeling of hope and solace that took me more than the mental imagery.
I felt like everything I had ever wanted without knowing that I wanted it was in front of me. And the chorus picks up and I get chills. This whole moment was timed perfectly to the song and I realize that life should have a soundtrack.
That experience was solely in my mind. As Chris squeezed my hand and I looked up at his face, I know that I was in that moment alone. He will never know what just played in my mind, never know the feelings I just felt. And even if I told him, it would not mean to him what it meant to me, nor would he feel what it felt to me.
So it goes. We are alone.
But that is why finding those key people in life who appreciate you for your unique perspective, who nurture that individuality and oftentimes charming weirdness, are so important. Because without them, that experience would not have happened in the first place.
It goes back to needing mirrors in our life. Surrounding ourselves with people who reflect back who we are, what we are doing and where we are in our lives today.
Chris may not understand my blue or know who he is my mind, but it does not matter. He encourages my blue. He appreciates who he is in my eyes. Just like I love who I am in his eyes. That is the most beautiful thing about a loving relationship.
We create each other while creating ourselves.
When I was in rehab at my lowest point, I asked Chris why he loved me. I was a complete mess. He pointed to my heart and said it’s because he knows what’s in there.
And just like that, the storm passes.