Thu, 23 Oct 2003top
everything must change
Nothing ever stays the same.
Ah. My last few days in the Bay Area. I was able to connect with old friends, people I haven't seen in three years. In truth, people who had a great impact on my college experience.
I've said this before, but the things that I remember from college are definitely not the classes I took. Most of what I learned is either obsolete or irrelevant to what I do now, and I have scant memories of lectures and texts.
What I remember are the innumerable hours I spent working on the magazine or on PCN. The chain-smoker nights on the balcony. Dragging a friend across the carpet to drag him to watch the special edition of "Empire Strikes Back" The random trip to Seattle. The afternoons spent flying kites at the marina. (And then there is the pain. For once, I am trying not to think of it, although I can only remember too well the crushing loneliness. But, as they say, let sleeping dogs lie.) Ah, there are too many to ennumerate.
Those were good times. For the most part, I do not regret.
(Everything is always conditional with me.)
But I'm straying from what I wanted to say.
As the days wane, I realize that I am growing older, by which I mean, I am getting accustomed to loss. These past four weeks have been the best I've had in a long while now, and while, yes, I am once again leaving empty-handed, it does not mean I did not gain from the experience.
I am going to miss this place. I am not so sure I want to go back down to L.A. And I definitely dread heading out to the frozen wastes of the Midwest. But everything must pass.
If I could store time in a bottle.
I do not know why I have taken the label of "exile" upon myself. It feels that no place feels like home, but every place feels familiar.
Sometimes these memories are enough to carry me through the darkness.
Sometimes the darkness closes in and all I can see the infinite night.
I will write this down, because I know I will forget, and even though I know that when I read this again when the going gets tough and the shit hits the fan, I'm not going to believe a single god-damn word in it, but I'm still going to write it down anyway.
Note to self: Remember once that you were happy.
I find it strange that it is much easier to give advice than it is for me to take the very same piece of advice.
Yes, I admit it. I am drawn to situations that promise high drama. I have this penchant for trying to turn friendships into something else, knowing full well that I am likely to discover tragedy, like as not. These things do not work, at least for me, and still, I persist.
In any case, it's the same old story that people write cheesy pop love songs about: the girl keeps talking about some other boy, about how he doesn't treat her right, about how she wishes he was more like you, all the while never even considering....
(I know she knows. They always know.)
But I've learned a thing or two in this quarter-century (give-or-take) sojourn of mine, at last, and that is this:
You can't sit around waiting for things to get better.
And most of the time there is nothing you can do to make things better.
Sometimes (like now), life gives you a reprieve. The other times, there's really nothing to do but to endure.
And still, the smallest decision just might have a disproportionate effect on the trajectory of your life.
It's funny how a single word, an errant turn of the head, a glance, can change whole worlds, overthrow empires, change destiny.
I know where I'm going, and yet I still, still hope that I'm wrong.
One day Sisyphus will just have to realize that, yes, life is all about rolling the stone up the hill, and then watching it come down again. (And while this may be horrifically depressing, there are other ways to look at it.)
Drink deep, for someday, someday....
Yeah. The only thing certain about luck is that it will change.
Good times for a change. See the luck I had would make a good man turn bad....
But, as I promised, I will write this down:
You can only get what you give. There is no hope of receiving anything if I don't give of myself freely. Because there is more of where that came from. To freely give of myself, now that is love.
And love is all the same. While people are wont to confuse love with lust, true love with romance, I really do think they are all cut from the same cloth: the love of family, the love of friends, the love of that one special someone in your life who you anticipate spending the rest of your life with.
Regardless of whether I understand it in practice, I know the theory.
Love can only be given freely. I know there is this phrase, "unconditional love" but anything with conditions isn't love.
And then: it is impossible to love someone else if you do not love yourself.
You know what's sad? I've always known these things. I hold these truths to be self-evident (to steal a phrase.)
And I, for once, know who I am. Well. As far as anyone can no themself. I do not rightly know the limits of what I can give, but I do know that I am willing to give. While I do not know what the future holds, and I cannot imagine the specifics, I know that I am capable of a lot.
I have a lot to offer.
So, if there are no takers, then fuck 'em. There is no need for me to subject myself to anyone else's external metrics.
My worth is intrinsic, undeniable by the words of mortal humans.
So. It's easy for me to give this advice. This girl, this woman, I wish she could see. I know I can say these things and not do a damn thing about it, but it hurts to see what happens when you don't believe.
That is perhaps my biggest flaw: for myself, I couldn't give a rat's ass. I was made, it seems, to suffer. But when it is someone else, I can't stand it.
But it doesn't matter.
Whether or not things will work out the way I want them to is not entirely in my hands.
In the end, as an old friend reminded me, all you can really do is roll with the punches.