Why is it that when I *should* be getting ready for bed, my brain starts to wake up? I've always been this way, even from a very young age. (Okay, maybe the feeling of wanting to stay up all night was due to the fact that I thought an evil leprechaun lived under my bed, and that weird anxiety has never left ... nor has that leprechaun. Fucker.)
Anyway, when most "normal" people are sleepily wiping their eyes, and yawning their "good nights" through a mouthful of toothpaste, I'm starting to wake up. Maybe some of this is situational - this is the time I'm able to catch up on my e-mail, random YouTube links, and news. But always, the night has held me in its grasp. Especially 3:00 A.M. - I found out later in life that this is considered the "true" witching hour, but for me, there was a palpable change in the air, when everything just seemed to stop. And to breathe. And to "be". And to just accept whatever was out there, happening at that moment. It was, and still is, my comfortable and safe time. My me-time.
There's something gripping, and tentative, and soft, and even "dark" - no pun intended - about the wee hours of the night that just captures me. Reaches down into my soul, heart, and mind, and it won't let go. (Like a cat embracing a catnip mouse.) Maybe it's because the world (or at least the world around me) is quiet, and that allows me time to expand my brain, and let down my walls. It allows me to be fully in my skin, allows me to feel, and allows my brain out to gambol - this is the time when my synapses are allowed free reign. It's when I can follow the random paths of, "what if", or "what if I hadn't"? And I don't stress over it, at least not at that point. Not at that time of night. (Or morning.)
Seriously though? That type of thinking (the what-if's) leads to a downward spiral. When we play that game in our head, of COURSE our lives are that much better (or that much worse). In my late-night fantasy land, I ALWAYS win the lotto at the last possible minute, rescue the kitten in the tree, donate wildly to charity, and then Colin Farrell always seems to find epiphany in monogamy (with me) when he meets me at the supermarket ...
Our lives just ... they just are. No more. No less.
Life is what we make it. Life is what we *don't* make it out to be. It's raw material thrown our way, and our job is to shape it into something. Whether that is a bad rendition of an ashtray, or a Michelangelo-like sculpture, we are where we need to be (not necessarily where we WANT to be). But ... we are where we need to be. We are here, right now, right HERE, in this place, in THIS moment, because this is where we must be in order to ... do. To process. To digest. To take-in. To learn. And to teach.
The 12-year-old me would scream at the almost-32-year-old me. THIS, this "me" is not what I wanted, what I envisioned. THIS IS NOT ME, DAMNIT! But ... here I am. And this IS me. And you know what? I wouldn't give up, or re-live, any minute of it. (Yes, with hindsight being 20/20, there are instances where I wish I HAD acted differently, said something other than I did - or decided not to say - , or acted in a different manner.) Yet, all of those instances, all of those moments, have led to the "me" I am today.
Am I perfect? Am I all that I can be? Am I living up to my potential? Hellz to the EN-OH! But I am living my life. Even though sometimes this concept of living seems to be arduous, and instead I feel I am stuck on pause, in stasis. On the snow-channel of the TV.
We all, each and every single-damn-one of us, have those moments when you relive an earlier moment, and come up with the PERFECT comeback. But focusing on the woulda-coulda-shoulda is detrimental to our growth as people. We just have to put that away under the mental file of "Next time, I will say, I will do ... "
Regrets? Yeah, I've had a few (or maybe eleventy-thousand of them). But I would never try to trade them in for the life I have now. I've found perfection in the cracks, and I'm quite content to sit in those foundational ruptures and laugh. And weep. And cackle through the tears. Laughter is fun. Laughter is love. Without laughter, there is no life.
A friend of mine said something in a flippant moment, that has stuck with me for over 10 years now. The exact phrasing is off, but the meaning was, "I'd rather regret the things I did, rather than the things I wish I had done".
I'm trying to live that motto, trying to embrace this roller-coaster of life, and laugh the whole way. Joyfully. Embracedly. Whole-heartedly.
Finally I'm realizing that I can't be everything to everyone, but I can be the best "ME" when all is said and done. If my final product is an ashtray, or a sculpture, at least I know I was made out of love, blood, sweat, tears, and fire.
And that is what I strive for. Am striving for, daily. Moment to moment, second to second.
We are the sum of our parts - me, you, our friends, family, acquaintances, and even our ancestors have a hand in molding who we are. Sometimes carefully and lovingly, sometimes heavy-handed. A genetic butterfly effect.A societal imprint.
This late night peace and stillness allows us (or me, at any rate) to think. To feel. This is the time when the world-collective isn't using its brain, which shuts off all the extraneous noise. And this is the time that truly allows our souls to embrace, and enjoy, the silence.
It forces me to be more open, more embracing, of others. Of their quirks, foibles, and flaws. I recognize these things in myself, and know that others have a universal experience. What I've experienced, and lived, so too have they. As I learn to love myself, I learn to love them. It literally blows my fucking mind. And rends open my heart in ways I never, ever, could have imagined.
And now? Now I will laugh. And I will live. And I hope that you will laugh with (and even sometimes at) me.
To quote the inimitable Frank Sinatra:
I've loved, I've laughed and cried.
I've had my fill; my share of losing.
And now, as tears subside,
I find it all so amusing.
To think I did all that;
And may I say - not in a shy way,
No, oh no not me,
I did it my way.
For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows -
And did it my way!
When is your "silent" time? When is your "what do I see in me, when no one is around" time? When are you able to strip yourself down to your bare essentials, and see who you truly are, who you truly want to be?
Do you actually, truly, and honestly seek a quiet time? Or, do you allow the pomp and circumstance of what we call "life" to draw the lines of the art that is ... you?
It's late, and I must go meandering down the dry-goods aisle to meet with Mr. Farrell. I can't be late for a date, now, can I?