The Object Reentry Survival Analysis Tool
why I had to change my approach in order to survive and the joys of getting older
I can be habitually obsessed with naming. Giving words to the ultimately unsayable is fundamentally every writer or poet’s insurmountable task. But there’s also this hubris to it as well, isn’t there? On what or who’s authority am I naming things? Does everything have to be labeled so I can file it away? Am I willing to let an experience define me vs. the other way around? I’m 34 - I still have so much, so very much to learn. Luckily I’ve lived into realms I never dreamed existed, much less were possible. So I’m not trapped into thinking that “this is it, this is all the love, joy, happiness, and astonishment I’m ever going to experience.” That’s such a tragic and limited way to live, and I’m too full of curiosity and tenderness to go back to that way of thinking.
Some experiences cannot be named, they can only be lived and then let go of. The big terrifying questions are a bit like Halley’s Comet. They still come back to me from time-to-time, but the orbiting pattern has swapped - I don’t circle them anymore. After I came at them from every-angle and kept burning up on re-entry, I realized why that was happening. It had nothing to do with the questions themselves - but the fact that I believed I could find and was entitled to answers. Somebody or something owed me an explanation? C'mon - that’s downright laughable now.
Thank goodness we can laugh at our own hard-headedness. I think that’s a joy that comes with learning how to be gentle. I was having breakfast with a friend the morning of the 4th and casually mentioned that I hated cold-brew coffee because “it fucks me up”; she agreed - and immediately we both started cackling till tears rolled down our cheeks. Here we were, two former junkies, talking about coffee being “too much to handle.” What a hilarious miracle that is. What a wonder it is to be alive.
Sometimes we ask the universe the same thing over and over again, waiting for a response, and often - it does respond - it just says “no.” Sometimes that means I’m not ready, but generally, it’s time for me to surrender.
What I’m in the process of learning, in my life, and in my work (art) - is how to offer gentleness, understanding, and compassion instead of trying to name, solve, or answer everything that comes my way.
The only wisdom I can offer is that we have to allow grace to work and transform our lives, which often means getting out of its and our own way. I’ve never found closure or answers when I’ve been insistent on finding them - at least not in the way I desired. What I look for now, instead - are exposures, excavations, and openings. That’s how the light gets in anyway.