Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Million Little Decisions

I believe I have spoken before of the great rent in my life -- a thing that forever after there was a "before" and an "after". Most folks have some form of this -- a before marriage and after, or before kids and after, or before the move or after. Sorry, but I think mine is bigger than all those, partly because I of course have all of those other before-and-afters too, but mostly because the rent, at some soul level, changed who I was/am.

I have spent some of the last five years reclaiming some parts of the "before" me that were discarded, mostly inadvertently in just trying to live through the rent; things about myself and who I was that I claim as my own, that I reclaim, that I don't let fear turn me away from. I may feel fear but I walk on in a phrase that came to me as my daddy lay dying for three weeks, walk on in your own integrity; be true to yourself, damn the torpedos.

But I said then, when it happened, that it would be a blessing, that I would make something good out of it, somehow. That I would not forget it, put it behind me, or pretend like it never happened. Trying to do that has been a funny twisting path. But I am reminded yet again how very lucky, fortunate, blessed, I am to have gone through that.

I so messed up. I disappointed everyone. I totally screwed the whole rest of my life. I hit the delete button on every dream I ever had.

And yet, here I am, 45, with the best family ever, on a farm with a cow and a horse and my own food, with interesting people around, with time to write and sing and think and cook and play and laugh and work hard too. But the greatest gifts are internal: It was so bad then that I tend to think that nothing since then is too big a deal; I understand people, some of them anyway, in way more compassionate ways than most; I know why people turn away, and why they stare at a car wreck too; I love so deeply because I know what it looks like when none of it is there; I have seen the end of the world. I have been priviledged to live, and continue to live, any number of my most cherished dreams.

Of course, other people, the drama queens and people who get upset because their tv remote doesn't work, I think, folks, you NEED to have a real problem. And other people, people who think they are going to make a living gambling online or who live at the edge of their credit debt or who put off doing what they really want to do forever, those people I think, folks, your so-called problems are your own doing. See, there's the Contrary again.

But the things that were making me think these thoughts have also reminded me that it is a constant, choosing and defining what is important to you, who you are in your heart of hearts. It is like quitting smoking, something I did a long time ago -- it isn't a one-time decision but one you have to make every single time you want a cigarrette. That's why it is so hard. And not being drug along in the contemporary paradigm is like that too, a million little decisions. And then a million more.

7 comments:

H. Stallard said...

I have often pondered who you would be, where and what you would be doing if you hadn't gone through the crucible of your trial by fire.

But I do so love the contrariness.

the Contrary Goddess said...

well, now, to one who really did know me before, who knew the wild and priviledged child, who do you think?

There are so many ways it could have gone.

Thanks for commenting on this Harold. Because you do know, or close. I love your boy-scout-ness too.

H. Stallard said...

And I always came to the same conclusion...of all the infinite possibilities the final product(still in flux)is one of the better that could have been.

The dross of that very wild and very privileged child burned away to reveal a woman of tempered steel with a velvet cover.

the Contrary Goddess said...

oooooo, you sweet talker you!

KarbonKountyMoos said...

As Jim Croce said: After all, it's what we've done that makes us who we are.

Not to mention where we've been, what we've been through. . . and how we work with it.

Everything is always subject to change. I suppose that's a good thing.

the Contrary Goddess said...

Moose -- wow, what nice photos on your blog. I think I would like Montana, if I could survive the winter.

KarbonKountyMoos said...

Thanks, CG. Oh the winters aren't that bad. . .