As my fortieth birthday approaches and my latest mini-comic book project has been completed, I’m once again thrust into a reflective mode. Granted, it’s a month away. And granted, this is something I abhor because I don’t know how valuable it is to go back into one’s own history, revisiting events that you can never change. But, as I actively try to go beyond the broad proclamations that some women make with stories that begin, “On this stage of my journey”—which sounds so pompous—or, bare my soul with mind-numbingly personal thoughts that may (or may not) be insightful; I take a step back. Surely other women experience much more profound things in blessed stoicism and silence. Surely I am aware of how self-centered ego plays a HUGE part in that drive to reveal.
I realize that there is a gift I’ve been given to tell stories. It flows out of me in so many ways that I can’t deny it. When I think about creating something from nothing—that happens so instinctively—I get instantly excited. It is important to note that it’s also something beyond myself; I often never really knowingly create anything until it’s done and then I look at it again. I get into a “mode” and just continue working through the challenges, the laziness, the insecurity until I can call it finished and mine. But it isn’t really mine. It has my signature but that isn’t really mine either, is it? It is more otherworldly; spiritual. So there is a validation occurring every time I create and I also feel as though I am paying homage to the God that made me by bringing forth whatever message I need to convey through this life experience.
I don’t know how to be soft. I used to think that I was the tenderest, sweetest person…then I met Pito. I used to think that I had a great memory…then I forgot whole conversations with my sister. I used to think that I was a great listener…until I missed out on complete chunks of vital information necessary to do my job. I used to think that I was a direct person…until I was called on my verbal evasion. So I’m not perfect. Big whoop. But all of this self-analysis is revealing my true self to the only person who really cares: ME. So growth really doesn’t end with puberty or adolescence or adulthood. That’s the good news! It is the notion that there really is room for improvement forever and ever…amen.
But along with that, comes an agreement between yourself and the universe. You have to be willing to accept the changes and say: Hey, universe! I’m up for the challenge. Go on and give it what you got! It will happen. You can’t live in a bubble. Whether it’s dramatic or minute, you will see the universe make change happen all around you. You will be unable to stop it. It will either hit you like a Mack truck, or it will subtly offer up a change just when you got your scheduling down pat and everything…and that’s the beauty of it. Oh you may not like it at first (because it means relinquishing control that you still think you have) but it will be the best of all possible outcomes, I promise.
Some of my blog readers will disagree. They’ll say, “But why did have to die?” or “Why did have to get cancer?” Look, on the tail-end of every horror a person can imagine, there’s always a lesson. There’s a balance which none of us are ever privy to. If it were up tous, there would be no death, no illness, no tragedy. But, think about it: how else can human beings really prove their worth? How can anyone know what true perseverance, strength, love is if we are never given the test? So yes, it doesn’t seem fair that some are given the Pick 6 as opposed to the Shirley Jackson version of The Lottery. No one knows why children die or why some grandparents get Alzheimer’s while others live to a ripe old age of 100! That’s what life is: a roll of the die, a game of chance. I’d like to think though that the odds are slightly in my favor because every horrific thing I’ve lived through in my forty years on this planet has always led me to a clear understanding that there is something out there. I HAVE FAITH. It came in many forms, shapes, ways and yet it never failed. Ever. Like Change, it was fierce and ferocious and trying and wonderful all at thesame time.
But just as the saying goes: It’s that easy and it’s that hard. I am aware of life’s duality. As I slice into my birthday cake this year, I know that it’s symbolic of the forty years I’ve lived to tell the tale of triumph and hardship (those two impostors). And as I taste it, savoring the flavor, I will be secretly saying to the universe:
Was that all that you could do?! Is that all you got?!