Tonight I was reminded of many things. Important things. Calling them things undermines the significance of it, but such is life. It turns the ordinary into elusive extraordinary moments, and turns the defining moments into passing glimpses of what was or what might have been. I was reminded of something I read on the blog of a troubled soul many years ago. It said, quite plainly, that life has been one long longing for a place I’d never been. That’s what tonight reminded me of.
It reminded me of everything that I cherished and romanticised about, everything that is fragile but resilient, and everything that has felt like it was always meant for someone else. There is a taunting accuracy in driving around with a number plate that reminds me of the divinely ordained destinies that visit us in moments of distraction, and sometimes in moments when we are so deeply immersed in the essence of it that its passing feels akin to the ripping of thorns from the deepest recesses of my gut. But there has always been a glory in being able to experience moments so deeply.
I look around at the oblivious that flit from moment to moment each time only looking to see if they were noticed or celebrated in that moment, but rarely allowing anything of that moment to affect them in a way that tears away at their defenses. Control is often blamed on the need to be functional or dependable, but it is most often called upon when we would muster the last breath in us to ensure that no one ventures close to the most cherished wounds of our souls. Until moments arise that remind us that control was only ever an illusion. A state that we created by blocking out everything that we could not control, and convinced ourselves that if we believed it hard enough, it would be willed into truth.
Abandoning control in favour of feeling my humanness is an embrace I savoured a long time ago. I now convey the image of control to others, because what they see is the absence of impact of the fickle ways of others, and assume that it is in fact a control of response on my part. It is not. There is little control that is needed when you recognise the world for the fleeting annoyances that it offers. When a response is not warranted, most interpret it as restraint, simply because such a fickle occasion would have exacted much seething on their part. Not feeling any need to respond requires no control. It simply requires an awareness of the futility that any response will offer.
Such passion for righting the wrongs that none care much about is easily subdued and eventually abandoned in favour of serving the passion that promises to oil the lamp that shines the light that makes the darkness bearable. There is nothing so bad that there is no good in it. These words have grounded me, and brought me comfort in times of despair by prompting me to recognise that there is more to life than wilting away in the darkness in memory of a past that never blossomed. Life is too short for such indulgences of the ego.
Everyone talks about how short life is, but never about how short their memory is when it comes to remembering this sobering fact. I recall a movie whose title escapes me, in which Mini Driver screamed at her father after yet another disappointing betrayal of his trust, and complained that he keeps taking her to the top of the mountain only to show her what she can’t have. Perhaps that is what life is about. Dreams and aspirations that drop sparkles on the path for others to find their way, while the road ahead beckons you towards adventure and the promise of all things beautiful. So we willingly drop pieces of the essence of us as we travel along that path, until eventually we are spent. Those of us that are fortunate are met with our final moments at the time that we have exhausted the last shards of what we have to offer the world. The not-so-fortunate find themselves spent before their final breath approaches leaving them scurrying in their twilight moments looking for hope or purpose, finding none, and denying everything that ever tasted like reality, waiting patiently for the taunt of death to finally cease so that death itself may arrive.
Opportune moments are most often recognised in moments of good fortune. But as always, moments that remind us of the beauty we take for granted, or the companionship that we barely recall are the moments that are most opportune. It defines who we are in provoking the responses of our true selves in its wake, while leaving us bare and vulnerable only to the eyes of those that see beyond the aesthetic. Thankfully they are in short supply so living with such brazenness is possible without attracting the attention of the distracted.
Tonight, I was reminded that it is not loneliness but isolation that breaks our spirit. Because as they say, you are never alone if you like the one that you are alone with. Isolation is what you feel when you are in a room full of people, all of whom are close to you, but none of whom truly know or appreciate you. Isolation is felt most deeply when you feel the warmth of an embrace so close that it sets your heart racing, but it leaves without being fulfilled leaving your heart breaking.
There was a time when such expression was reserved for anonymous posts that protected my dignity in the presence of those that have spent much time and effort in trying to prove that some humanity rested within me. Only, the humanity they sought to expose was in fact humiliation they wished to impose. It makes others feel less weak or pathetic when they are able to prove that the strong have moments of weakness just like them. Little do they know that it weakens them even more instead. These are all opportune moments. Moments that define our contribution to the world, and moments that define what we wish to finally accept the world is able to offer us.
Shame is only felt when the opinions of others matter. When those opinions hold no weight at all, vulnerability and hope become companions that walk side by side, with optimism pretending to be the mascot, and reality being the path on which we travel. Incoherent ramblings offer solace and repose, even though after bleeding at the keyboard the gravity of what was not will once again visit a heavy heart.
Despite all this, I would have life no other way. Living in half measures, even when surrounded by ingrates and mirages, is no life at all. Fortuitous it may be that I was reminded of a quote from Shakespeare just last night. It said, “Life is but a walking shadow that struts and frets its hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” I think he got it right, except for the last part. It signifies everything. That everything only loses its value when we hope for it to be valued by those that don’t recognise the value in us, or sometimes, the value in themselves. Either way, rubbishing the good or chasing the bad is only ever a cry for sympathy. I pray that I will never be met with such weakness in what life remains ahead of me.