Monday, June 27, 2011

Chalking it up to Fate

I believe, strongly, in fate. When my mother got pregnant at twenty years old, it wasn't teenage indiscretion, it was fate (I was born). When some asshole kicked a soccer ball directly into my face, it wasn't his own inability to aim properly, it was fate (I couldn't be a soccer player). When I didn't I have enough money to go to New York for the summer, it wasn't ridiculous pricing, it was fate (New York would have me later in life). I believe that universal forces guide us in our intended directions, whether or not we're consciously aware of this subliminal guidance. I believe that despite our own free will, we cannot miss our fate, one way or another, it will befall us.
It is easy, though, to profess belief in all these divine concepts; it is not easy, however, to realize what you want and what is meant are not the same paths. Fate is a funny, cruel trick; we are taught that we will meet one person and we will know and then, we will love them forever. However, somewhere between life, family, friends, school, jobs, games, lies, disagreements, and passion, this fate proves to be a difficult conquest. You meet people, you get to know them, you make decisions, you form ideas, you care for them, it works, it falls apart, it is just another stepping stone, another brick in your wall, another learning experience.
What happens though, when you meet someone who you think is more than a stepping stone, when you meet someone who moves your soul, who broadens your heart, who affects your every thought...what happens when your love for them is not enough to hold them in your life...what happens when the universe has other plans for your life, plans you don't know if you want.
You breathe. You stop thinking, considering, imagining, reliving, regretting. You inhale and then, you exhale. You let go, you let air and life and water and love back into your system. You stop fighting the inevitable, you just float.
They tell you that it will feel better, they promise this. They tell you everything happens for a reason, that what is meant to be, will be. I don't know if these things are true, but I believe them when they tell me. I believe that I have a path already mapped out, I just have to find my way along it. I believe that I am doing the right thing, no matter how hard it is, no matter how bad it hurts.
I believe that in some place, maybe another world, maybe another time, there is a you and there is a me, and they last and last and last, going on loving eachother better than anyone else could, happily unaffected by outside forces. Whenever I find a snowglobe, I will look for us inside. Until then, I'm just going to keep breathing.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


There has always been that joke, "Why did the chicken cross the road?" Of course, whether or not the chicken died, flew, or just wanted to get to the other side has never quite been determined. Why are animals always crossing the road? Don't they see their counterparts in pieces, scattered morbidly across dotted yellow lines? Shouldn't there be some instinctive sense of survival? Wouldn't you think that one brutalized, furry baby would be enough to never make you want to cross the street again?
But then I think about people. Humans are, supposedly, the most evolved members of the kingdom, Animalia. We are earth's representation of all things intelligent and revolutionary; yet, we too are always getting run over.
I wonder what makes risk-taking such a tempting practice. Nine times out of ten, I can predict the sorted outcome of my actions. I know the tears, the disappointment, the pain, the regret that could come with each of my decisions. I know what a smart girl would do, what a good girl should do; yet, sometimes, I find myself running out in front of cars.
There is a sort of screwed-up romanticism about doing stupid things. Being stupid is rarely recognized for what it is. We call it "living in the moment", "going out on a limb", and even, "being young." But in reality, we know better. We all know what happens when you lie to your parents and when you trust someone who makes you uneasy. We all know the difference between love and lust and the difference between right and wrong. Sometimes, though, the chance that our stupidity could result in happiness outweighs the negative consequences.
We cross the road because there's always that hope that it will end in the love story of a lifetime. We cross the road because we want to tell our daughters stories that make them proud. We cross the road because who wants to be the girl that never leaves her the safety of her front porch? We cross the road because it looks magical on the other side. We cross the road because we're ignorant enough to believe that nothing can hurt us. We cross the road because we want to. We cross the road because we know we shouldn't.
Maybe getting run over, falling into the traps, winding up hurt, tire-skidded, laden with regret and shame, is a punishment. But I don't think so. I think we cross the road because we think we have a shot at being the lucky girl; you know, the one whose heart never touches the ground. I think that risk-taking is a beautiful, complicated art; maybe we're not supposed to, but what is 'supposed to be' isn't what ever really happens. So maybe we are stupid, naive, pathetic excuses for women; I'd rather have scars than baby skin.
The bottom line is: there is no bottom line, no logic, no reason, no effort, no calculation that goes into making our decisions. We're all just trying to write the best biography that we can and in the mean time, running out of our daddy's arms and into traffic. There isn't much time in life to worry about being the best; most of the time you're just trying to avoid becoming roadkill.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Here, there, and somewhere in between

In the past seventeen years, I've been a lot of different girls.

Growing up in a tiny town where intersections felt more like walls and street fairs were the social events of the summer, I learned to invent.

I was boy crazy; just maybe not with real boys. I discovered Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone in third grade, and, in three more weeks, I was head over heels for some wizard boy J.K. Rowling pulled out of her...mind. I followed Daniel Radcliffe all the way to Broadway, saw him naked, and I was over it.

I was a nerd; just maybe not in the ordinary, social pariah way. I went to the library for therapy instead of watching The Notebook. I wrote countless stories about girls who were better than me, prettier than me, luckier than me; and in a little blue book, I wrote about a girl who was the same. I fell down literally every set of stairs I encountered. I wore glasses and took all the "smart" classes, and I never realized blonde girls weren't supposed to be intelligent because no one ever informed me.

I was mean; just maybe not enough to let it eat the good. I turned thirteen and became obsessed with my clothes, my eyelashes, my body, and all of the girls who outshined me in one or all of these categories. Then I befriended them, then I learned all of their secrets, then I usually found some way to undermine them, then there was usually a fight at recess. Then I watched Mean Girls, and I realized I was not an evil genius, I just had a vagina. I don't like this side of me and I think for the most part, I've made up for all her ugly. If you cross me, though, I will be glad to introduce you to her royal highness.

I was an idiot; just maybe not when it counted. I dyed my hair purple and snuck out tiny windows and left the sweet innocence to go on adventures with the big kids. I fell in love with the rush, the trouble, the excitement, the secrets, the journey we were all on together. I wanted to be bad, but I wasn't any good at it, and when I watched my best friend becoming such a pro, I realized I could never be this girl.

I was a baby; just maybe a really tough one. I slept in bed with my parents the first time a boy broke my heart. I called them mommy and daddy until, well, I still do. I slept on the couch when I saw a spider underneath my bed. I left my feelings lying all over the ground, and when they got stepped on, I was surprised. But I was never anyone's baby, I was just my own idea of a girl.

I was someone's person; just maybe not a good enough one. I spoke the same language, imagined the same magic, and grew up with a built-in maid of honor. I never knew what it was like to be the girl who had a bunch of "good" friends because I was always content with having one "best" friend. And then when I got stabbed in the back, I accepted it, and I learned the magic of "good" friends who love you and don't want to suck your blood. But I will always be a little bit of that person, because you were mine.

I was in love; just maybe in a different way than I'd always imagined. I was in love with kittens, with bike trails, with cotton candy, with NYU, with fake chicken nuggets, with beautiful people, with tattoos, with mermaids, and then, with a boy. I was young and wild and free and he was all of that too, and we ran together...far, far, away. We couldn't be touched and we couldn't hold any more love or we'd explode. We were, are, the simplest, purest definition of happy.

I was a woman; just maybe a really small one. My papa died and took my heart with him, and when I made a new heart, I realized how much more careful I'd have to be with it. I built fortresses and plans and stories around my new heart and when it overflowed, I made it bigger. So, I suppose, I wasn't very careful, but I was whole & teeming with red love & experience, just how a woman should be.

I was a thousand & one nights and girls and stories and mistakes and stories and letters and pieces of my mother and secrets and brown eyes that are sometimes green and I was okay with it. I am okay with it.