I posted the bulk of this on Facebook earlier, but I suppose I’m not quite done, and I suppose that’s a good thing.
For quite a while I have had way too much time on my hands, reliving the past, screwing it up in brave new ways. Now I don’t have quite as much time on my hands, but still trying for a revision of what has already been etched into the sands of time (which of course is more or less fleeting, depending on the tides and the passage of cerebral deterioration, but I digress).
Well I dream you constant stranger
With your best bloods and your anger
You say, “Mother do you claim me?
My beloved do you blame me? (“Three Hits”, Indigo Girls)
Someone very wise told me recently that I should not be concerned about who I claim so much as who claims me. That number is small, but impressive in my opinion. Quality, not quantity. I choose to waste no more time on claiming the insignificant, the place holders, the toxins. Toxicity is frequently a slow and insidious killer, and I am tired of dying in fast-forward.
Where am I to blame? I have been obsessed with that for many years. What have I done wrong, where could I have done better, why do I make the same mistakes repeatedly? No matter how many wasted hours are spent on those questions, I am no closer to answers than I was at birth. The only thing I’ve gotten from this obsession is the sure knowledge that pursuit of perfection is a futile endeavor.
I suppose the only answer that matters is that I am who I am and that’s all that I am. Thanks so much, Popeye. Unfortunately, downing a can of spinach doesn’t imbue me with superhuman strength or reduce enemies to mere whispers. But I still fight to the finish, with or without me spinach. Victory is another matter entirely, and winning is but a momentary surge of adrenaline.
These days I question the definition of victory. I reflect on the lesson I learned not so long ago, contrasting success to mastery. I contrast victory with experience these days. Experience is critical to growth, as is pain. The two may be inextricably linked to each other, and to life in general. Life never promised any of us a rose garden – along with the sunshine, there’s got to be a little pain sometime. (yeah, another song. sue me but that’s how I roll.)
Anyhow, I am determined to figure out who claims me, or at least respond to who does lay claim. Life is way too short, especially these days when the clock seems to be spinning at warp speed. Here today, gone tomorrow, and what will I have done with my one wild and precious life except fret away the wonder of all that is wild and precious. Will I waste what is left of my time here attempting to make people love me, or respect me, or validate me? That sounds like a barren field to plow.
I have always known that I am wild, but precious is more the challenge. I am not quite sure I know what precious looks like. I always think I know what love looks like, but I imagine that’s a rather one-sided viewpoint. Maybe precious is that which has nothing to do with me, or doesn’t truly benefit me in any way. Precious simply exists for the good of everything, for the world, for the universe. If preciousness is lost, its absence change the dynamic of everything. Precious is a flower blooming in the crack of a sidewalk, or a shooting star that causes someone to stop and wonder. Precious is a split second that changes everything. I will have to reflect a bit more on that, but I feel like that’s closer to truth than anything.
In my mind, I suppose I believe that precious equates to beauty, aesthetic beauty. People like pretty things, and it seems that my concept of precious is that which is beautiful to others. That which is beautiful to me usually has more to do with things like spirit, and persistence, and passion. I have made the acquaintance of many a person considered aesthetically beautiful, and found them entirely devoid of character or the drive to become a better human being. Nothing is more boring to me than someone who has no desire to learn more, grow more, be more. Boredom is anathema to me.
Why does any of that mean anything on this overcast Sunday morning when I have cleaned up a mountain of stinky dog poop in the living room, deposited AFTER the little cur went outside not very long ago and left another formidable mass out there. Who knows what anything really means. I suppose things have meaning when they fit into our neat little perspectives on how the world works. Unfortunately, our perspectives are varied and diverse, so ultimately, meaning is very personal. It is what it is, and that’s all that it is.
None of that has anything to do with the false commercialism of Valentine’s Day, which is a commercial identity plastered on anything not nailed down and pretending to bestow beatitudes of love on us all (even when we demand it at gun point). Forgive them, for they know not what they do, and what they DO know is about a dollar. Social engineering at its best – short on truth, big on profit. That’s close enough, apparently. Truth is far too fluid these days to be particular about, so I suppose my expectations are a bit high.
Who claims me? DO I even need to know why they claim me? I’m coming to realize that it’s just not as important to my sense of belonging to know who it is that I claim. When people tell me they love me, I am generally underwhelmed because I don’t know if that means they actually claim me, or even know who the hell I am. Consequently, those words are frequently meaningless to me until there is deep water and often muddy water under the proverbial bridge.
So, enough of that on this Valentine’s Day-eve. I have resisted buying the chocolate covered marshmallow candies that change shape for each commercial holiday – they are trees for Christmas and turkeys for Thanksgiving and hearts for Valentine’s Day…but they are the same damned candy. I am going to go out to a place that sells those confections for other reasons – to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy, along with as much Febreze as I can carry to eradicate any traces of canine metabolic process in my apartment. It will all be fine. Thank goodness for chemists who survived organic chemistry and have concocted the means of making the stinky fragrant and the taste buds joyous. If there is a meaningful victory, that is one that fits perfectly in my present context. I’ll gladly take that right now, because – and I freely admit this – it is all about me (and my sensory receptors).