Waking up slow
In which I possibly learn to change. With music!
It’s all okay, because love will find a way to be what love is.
I normally hate phrases like that: it’s all okay. It is what it is. What will be, will be.
They have always sounded, to me, like the voice of someone who is resigned and passive.
Someone who is giving up.
I don’t like to identify as someone who gives up. That is not a label that feels good to me. If there is one consistent thread in all the ways my personality has morphed and changed over the years, it’s got to be something like a refusal to give up on what I want, no matter how difficult or foolish or untiring I have to be to get it.
In a positive light, we might call that a good solid work ethic. Tenacity or responsibility. Maybe passion.
In a more realistic light, we’d probably just say stubbornness. Being obstinate or inflexible. Maybe idiocy.
But something’s changing. I don’t know what. Maybe I’m getting older and wiser, or maybe I’m just getting older and more tired. Maybe that turns out to be the same thing?
Maybe getting tired is a path to wisdom.
Maybe when you get tired enough—of your own efforts and failures, excuses and bullshit, efforts to prove yourself, all the striving and struggling—maybe something like room for wisdom opens up.
I’ve always seen two basic ways to approach the world: work hard and hard and harder to get what I want, or settle for not having it at all.
Maybe getting tired means I can stop thinking my own repetitive thoughts long enough to see another option or two or a hundred. Maybe there are alternatives that don’t require an extreme on either side.
And maybe taking responsibility doesn’t mean, necessarily, doing all the work, all by myself, in a kind of relentless, self-punishing way that means I have to hold the entire world (or my entire world) together through sheer force of will.
It’s a little tough to let go of this way of living, though. Because it’s worked for me. And sometimes it seems like it’s the only possible thing that could have worked, could have kept me going.
But seeming and being are different, aren’t they? Things can work out in a lot of different ways. If I’m so stubborn that I only see one possible path, then yeah: that’s the path I’ll take. But what if I could trade in a little stubbornness for, I don’t know, curiosity or receptivity or acceptance. Or trust.
That’s the one: trust.
But a different kind of trust. Not a trust in myself. Not a trust that’s about my ability to figure things out or be strong. A trust in something different, bigger, kinder.
A trust that desire is its own justification, and I don’t have to earn the right to be who I am or offer what I have. I don’t have to prove that I deserve what I want.
Maybe I can rest, and wait, and hold, and trust, and let what belongs flow in as it wants to, and let what doesn’t slip away.
Maybe I can just be.
Scares the shit out of me, honestly.
To quit trying to work it all out. To tell myself not to think through all the angles. To resist that urge to take it all on, figure it out, protect myself, protect everyone, bear the burden, take the lead, do the thing! DO ALL THE THINGS!
It’s weird to change your approach to the world after 30-odd years in one particular groove. Disorienting. Humbling. Vulnerable.
But… what I’m learning most lately is that feeling—the V word, you know, vulnerable—is a pointer. I mostly want to ignore it. Run the opposite direction. Put up the walls, close the door, shut it down, pull it in, hide. Get back to a place where I can feel capable and strong and confident.
Maybe this time I won’t do that.