Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Decade for Truth

We’re raised in a world of perceived absolutes and extremes. Solid colors are often the rule, even when it comes to being “open minded.” I've seen people who take the hard-line approach, with a black and white morality that has no flexibility, while others trade the stick straight and narrow for a canyon so wide that nothing matters and everything matters and nothing is real and everything is real and honestly, I get lost in the metaphysics of it all. 

Either way, I've shared in a range of these beliefs at one point or another. My systems of thought have been in limbo, impassioned, influx…I've been sure of what I believed as deep as my soul, then uncertain of anything at all. But intense self-reflection and introspection mixed with harsh realizations and tragedy tend to alter us. For me, they created a sort of uncertain hybrid that might be okay with not knowing. I mean, I think my belief is that I don’t know what I believe, that I don’t think any of us do. I mean, we feel things. We can feel them strongly enough to build a whole life philosophy around them, but do we really believe them? When the foundations that hold our fragile systems together are shaken, toppled, crumbled into dust, what’s left is a harder lesson. It’s truth. It’s individual truth, which is often merciless and full of turmoil.  Seeing ourselves as we've truly been, as opposed to the way we wanted to be, the way we strove to be, or the way we believed ourselves to be, seeing ourselves…down to the raw…that vision is a religious moment. It's a spiritual experience. That is agony and terror and a miracle.  In fact, it’s one of the only things in life 
I can consider a miracle—clarity. A minute free of blinders, when my defenses and self-delusions are gone and I see what I've done, what I've been doing. And how. And why. All the lies I've told myself to sooth old wounds, unraveling the times I was sure I'd found enlightenment. All the patches I wore--the ones I'd used to “heal”, the ones that looked pretty but concealed an infection of hurt that spread beneath my skin even still, they didn't stop the old voices from replaying, they didn't resolve actual feelings or take away the sting of memories I couldn't bear to face if I couldn't bear to face them. 

Sadness, anger, weakness and flaws---uncertainty—these are gifts. But the ability to process and feel these things is the only means of unwrapping them. Sounds cliche, but I've had to abandon a good deal of fingers-in-the-ears optimism over the years in order to locate the source of some thorns. I found that stubborn idealism could be every bit as close-minded as utter pessimism.There was a balance in my own truths, many and unpredictable as they are. I've embraced those ridiculous parts about myself. I've acknowledged the sad parts, I've comforted the angry ones. 

Funnily, I actually know far less than I used to think I did. And then I know less and less every day. I’m constantly unknowing what I was certain of before, and that’s okay. I mean, it sucks. But it’s okay, because knowing everything, having all the right answers (or believing you do) is exhausting anyway.  I’d much rather break down and cry like a loon than convince myself I’m fine--that everyone is juuuust fine--when I’m not. Even if life is. Because that may not be my truth at the time. 

And this is the decade of truth, scary and otherwise. Passionate truth. I’m embracing it.   



Feather Stone said...

Very profound. During my youth, I lived in a place of great introspection and trying to adapt to being something I was not meant to be. Finally, in my old age, I've discovered that in any given moment I have the potential to be gloriously happy. It's a matter of choice to just be in the moment - non judgemental of anything or anyone, including (and especially) myself. To simply breathe and do what brings me bliss which I know are the simple things like being with my animals, walking in a forest, gardening, writing. I've let go of the need to control, to know all the answers, to fit in. Damn, wish I knew this when I was young. Find your bliss, Jen. Love you.

Nicki Elson said...

So much wisdom in this. I think true belief is being okay with not understanding everything - and oh, what freedom there is in that.

I'm a fan of breaking down. Earlier this year my family was dealt a nearly crushing blow. I tried keeping up my freaking optimism but each day brought worse and worse news until I couldn't hold it anymore and quite literally fell to my knees, turning the pain over because it wouldn't all fit inside me anymore. After that I was able to get up and be like "Yep, this suuuucks. Now what?" And that helped me be the strenth that the hurting people around me needed me to be. So break away, sunshine - you'll emerge stronger.

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