[“Is it Ever Gonna Be Easy” – The Lone Bellow]
I think I discovered this poem at exactly the right time:
The Laughing Heart – Charles Bukowski
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
Now, my friends, I am mostly used to Bukowski being a wry and sarcastic asshole. He’s not one to romanticize life which, to me, makes this poem all the more special. It speaks to the difficulty of existing within the human world while also reveling in the beauty of the struggle; the glorious opportunity that exists in the world if you are willing to work for it, to recognize it.
Remember the Cat Poster
Life. Is. Hard. I’ve not worked to sugar coat that. I may be hanging on by a thread, but I refuse to let go (thankfully, the thread seems to increasingly be made of vibranium). Though, something happened today that tried to take me down, well, tried to take me out back and beat the shit outta me, to be honest. Not literally, just figuratively. It tried to kill one of the remaining, beating, pieces of my heart. One of those ones struggling to muscle up and get a bit more serious about it’s performance level, to compensate for the poor ventricles who were wounded and left for dead on this battlefield of love (not STRICTLY anatomically correct, I know, but poetic sentiments rarely are). Had I let it, this thing could have erased all of my progress.
Given this attempt on my well-being, I found myself seeking solace. Luckily, I found it, in a tiny purring machine who curled up at my feet when my chest felt increasingly tight, the friends on the other end of the keyboard, and the parental units waiting to beat some loving sense into me at a moments notice.
Want to know the worst part of the end of a relationship? Learning those new places to seek and find solace. The person who was your end-all-be-all is now a source of existential pain; floating on the periphery of your consciousness and capable of inflicting so much more pain if you let them. And I can’t. I am sorry, but for my own sake, I just can’t.
The Definition of Insanity
The definition of insanity, generally attributed to Albert Einstein, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I spent a good deal of time recently thinking myself to literally be insane. I never want to feel that way again, or even anything remotely similar. Like Othello, I was “one that loved, not wisely, but too well.” Fortunately, I was not tricked into doing anything even closely resembling the actual plot line of Othello; I wasn’t tricked into anything (nor will I be, for the record). Unfortunately, however, I still feel betrayed. Despite the plot variation, I still have a tiny Iago laying seeds of doubt in my head. These seeds must be magic, based on how quickly they grow, and how strong. Fortunately, in my attempt to live authentically, I’ve actively worked to assess each evil little wriggling thought that creeps up, the ones that have the means to destroy my happiness. But I am wise to their game, I am going to spray some weed-be-gone on those bitches… and maybe bonfire them into oblivion for good measure.
I don’t believe I have hardened my heart, I still love deeply. I love so many people and things for exactly what they are, for their very existence. I’ve not forgotten how to love, or even pushed love away. I’ve embraced it. My heart is not hard, it’s wiser. It’s seen some shit and has no real desire to relive the experience. So, I have chosen to take charge of my life… To hold the line and maintain my promise to myself. It sucks but I can only believe that this, right now, is my light that beats the darkness.
You are MARVELOUS
So remember, your life is your life. Live it, embrace it, believe in it, revel in it… Most importantly, take ownership of it. And, lastly, for your own sake (especially if you’re like me)… never read the comments.
I’ve essentially landed on a hugely self deprecating but necessary thought… There is a plausible but hopefully improbable chance that I will be alone, always (at the very least, I will be, by choice, for the foreseeable future). Therefore, I need to like my own company and I can’t do that if I make choices that haunt me. I must make good decisions for the sake of my future self. She needs me.
Photo: E. Campbell (2016)
Magic Gardens, South Street, Philadelphia, PA