just a little glimpse of my morning walk. i love this time of year.
I think how quickly things have changed for me. But that’s the personality of change, isn’t it? When it’s slow, it’s called growth; when it’s fast, it’s change. And God, how things change: some things, nothings, anythings, everythings…all the things change.” | David Arnold, Mosquitoland
When I was growing up, I was terrified of anything that would invoke change in my life. The simplest thing, like painting my bedroom, would cause me to panic. Every eve of the first day of school I would spend the day pacing the halls of my childhood home and the evening wrapped in my mother’s arms. Anything to help the nerves. It seems a little silly now.
David Arnold knew what he was talking about. Everything changes. Each day is a change in it of itself. Even the mundane ones. There are the days where we walk boldly in the face of change. But, then their are the monumental days that force change upon us. Someone we love passes away. It’s like a winged letter of change has been dropped at your doorstep. Signed. Sealed. Delivered in all of it’s pain.
I think that the one thing that I have learned despite the fact that change can still knock me off my feel. There are no shortcuts in life, particularly when it comes to growing up, and change is all part of that. It just amuses me that I was and still am a little terrified of something that I am surrounded by day-in and day-out. Maybe it’s the lack of control when it comes to certain changes, Or the fact that everything can change in a simple blink of the eye. Maybe I’m just rambling.
Maybe life is just built upon the foundation of changes and the ever-changing tomorrow for our “somethings, nothings, anythings and everythings.”
My mother always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be. I could love whomever I pleased. I could live wherever I chose.
I was raised to believe that independence is powerful and deliberately sets you apart from the rest. Yet, I see friends of mine living with significant others far too soon. I witness people relying on their partners to help make every little decision, from the color of their home furnishings, to their internet provider. I feel like people are terrified to go through this life alone, when we all know that we came into this world alone, and we will leave it alone.
Sure, it is comforting to wake in the morning and see someone lying next to you. It can soothe you to sleep knowing that there is someone on the other end of the phone who would do just about anything for you. But, I think it’s important to remember that your decisions are still your own, and shouldn’t be dictated by a person you choose to spend your time with. Our own ability to make choices for the betterment of our own lives is the key to happiness.
My aunt has been stuck in a marriage that has only given her a burden to bare. She has a sadness in her eyes that makes my knees feel weak when I am in her presence. I have always wondered why she didn’t walk away? Is it the fear of being alone? The fear of being forced to be ultimately independent?
You should have the power over your own life to be your own person. If you want to take a vacation from your life on a Saturday and only seek comfort in the words of a great book, do it. If you want to treat yourself to a movie and dinner out, do it. If you have a date with a bottle of wine on a Monday evening, do it, and don’t be ashamed. It is your life. Do with it as you please.
Now, with that said, I understand that for some it is the right time to move-in with someone, or to start that “next chapter” of their lives. But, just be sure that it is a decision for you, and you alone. Not for fear of the person abandoning you because you aren’t ready, or because society has thrust the idea upon you that it is the right time. There is no statistical “right time” or “right way” for anything. The decision is yours. Own it. Don’t let anyone take it away from you.
This month will mark two years with him.
Two years of patience. Two years of reliance.
This will mark not only the longest, but the most successful and the most meaningful relationship I have ever had. Neither of us have compromised the people that we are for the other. We support, boost, and embrace the people that we are. I love that about us.
People always say that there is peace in solitude. But, these past two years have been the most peaceful of my life. For me, there is peace in companionship. When I am with him the noise of it all kind of falls by the waist side. The noise is still there but it’s muted when we can work through it together.
He isn’t one to be sappy or poetic about our relationship, and if he read this he would probably roll his eyes about every other line … but that’s okay. This is my outlet. He has his. What is important is that together we can still celebrate the two people that we are and have become.
I must say … I am pretty lucky.
This past weekend I sat with friends at my favorite neighborhood Mexican restaurant. Strong margaritas and chips and salsa that keep on coming, hell yes. The long absent Minnesota sun was beating down on my back while we all tossed our hair around and laughed as if we were in an old movie from the 60’s. We gabbed about guys, who is now married to who, recent awestruck-inducing finds from our Facebook news feed, and the like. Shortly thereafter we were greeted by old high school friends that were passing through Minneapolis for the weekend. After a few wobbly tables were pushed together we drank, ate and laughed as if we were just meandering down those high school halls, in those overly self-conscious bodies. When I think about those days it feels like another life … another me. But, for some reason being surrounded by those particular people, I was thrown back.
A couple of far too large margaritas later we were all back at my creaky apartment listening to old records and continuing our drinking bender. It’s funny because since being a college graduate and soon to be finishing my first year of teaching, I like to think of myself as being far wiser than I was in high school. Yet, when I was with those old friends from those days I was the same nervous, “self-doubty” girl I once was. I am proud of the person that I have grown to become and I don’t look illy back upon the person that I once was. That doesn’t mean I want to be her again, however.
I thanked the evening for its brevity. For, what does an overly nervous, over 21-year-old me do? Drink. I’m sure at the point in the evening that I began dancing around my living room was the moment that I started to make a fool of myself.
What I realize now, is that we cannot always escape the people that we were, not because of ourselves, but because of others. We carry on a certain persona with certain people, because we think that’s what they want, or they put a “spell” over us and make us do and say things that we think they want to hear, despite ourselves. Maybe that is why people flee when they want to reinvent themselves. It isn’t so much that a person cannot change on their own, but that the people around them hold them back.
It’s our human failing. Our inability to see things for ourselves while disregarding the sight of others.
We risk denying our true selves by appeasing those who deny us.
I don’t ever want to write out of sheer obligation.
Just some thoughts …
I just met with my old American Literature professor from last Spring. I have requested that she write a letter of recommendation for graduate school for me. Our conversation started off with me fumbling through my words trying to express to her what I would like me letter to say. She then asked the most basic question of an English major: “What is your favorite book?”
Most times I struggle with this question because I want to say something smart, something literary, something only an English major would find joy in. But, instead of saying The Great Gatsby, or Paradise Lost or even Lolita, I simply said … Harry Potter. Being undoubtedly mortified, I began to justify my answer with stories of growing up alongside Harry. Stories of my mother waiting in line at Barnes & Noble in the wee hours of the morning just to ensure that she got her hands on 4 copies of the new book. One for her, one for each of my sisters, and one for me.
What I realized was that reading, and literature isn’t about being intellectual, or brilliant. It’s about community. Most times all sense of community is lost under the umbrella of technology or lack of care. My professor spoke of her days at the University when she was pursuing her MA. Outside each building would be bundles of people, smoking cigarettes and discussing philosophy or debating politics. Now, she said, the campus is quiet.
I want to become an educator because I want to revive this sense of community that has been lost. I want to cultivate lively conversation within my classroom, not just about literature, but about life, and all of its experiences. Maybe it’s the trees changing color, or the air becoming cooler, but there is something about this time of year that cultivates new ideas and probes deeper understanding.