A day late (as with any self-imposed project I assign myself), here is my contribution to the reflections and resolutions of a new year.
For me, 2011 is a moment. It occurred in the one tick where I began to exist. It was the second I couldn’t hear anything around me, and I could suddenly hear everything I’d been trying to tell myself.
It was marble tiles and vinyl furniture in the lobby of Yale Hospital. Surprisingly good lighting, and real plants. Cafeteria food somewhere not too far away, and exhausted souls of every capacity. Speed dialing every contact in my phone, desperate to get someone to pick up and talk to me. No one answered.
It was the perfect combination of exhaustion and frustration. I hadn’t slept in my own bed in over a week. I was transient and confused. I couldn’t get back in the car just yet. I was shaking from the residual energy of trying not to lose it in front of my family. Because the last thing you need when a 2 year old has brain cancer is to add a basket case 25 year old to the mix.
I’m fairly certain that, for me at least, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of a hospital is a siphon of your mental capabilities. This is where babies go to be poked, and hurt, and frightened. This is where parents realize their worst fears can come true. This is where my beautiful baby cousin just had three tumors removed from his brain.
This is the lobby were I finally realized life is fucking unfair.
And there it happened. Something in me shut off. The ability to blame my issues on any outside source. The nagging accumulation of self-doubts that taught me to be wary of insecurity. This life is it. This is all I get. I could waste it being upset that it refused to conform to my desires, or I could show some goddamn ferocity.
I didn’t move immediately. There was another good 20 minutes of staring at my shoes, wondering what had just happened, because suddenly my skin fit better.
In the months that have followed, I’ve been in attack mode. I quit my job because it just simply didn’t make me happy. I started religiously writing again because it did. I quietly collected my heart back from the first person I’d ever really given it to, only to realize there would never be a way to reclaim all the pieces. But that’s okay, because I’m learning how to re-assemble the segments into an entirely new shape.
I’ve taken my tiny existence and made it mine. It’s not polished. There are gaps, and cracks, and humiliations to come. It might even be held together with twine in places. But it’s mine. It’s the acceptance that I’m hopelessly romantic, sometimes frenzied, and perpetually naïve. I bruise easily, and I heal even faster. I am a mistake made on purpose.
2011 took place in a hospital lobby. 2012 will happen when I least expect it.