Monday, December 27, 2010

Hold It. Right There.

It is customary and traditional for me to herald my survival of Christmas with a post, but somehow it doesn't seem so important this year. Maybe because it really didn't feel like Christmas this year. It didn't. It didn't get off to a holiday-esque start with Christmas Eve, as it usually does. Mum said it was "as good as it could be", under the circumstances, but to my absolute relief, it was absolutely not like a Christmas party. Except for the decorations, the music, and Irving Berlin's White Christmas playing on the TV in the background, it didn't have an overtly merry atmosphere. Just a dinner, no presents. Just conversation, no discussion of how things had changed or further developments. Just a slice of what is left of the family. That's it. Pleasantries and technicalities and catching-up.

I slept in a tent with my sisters that night. We woke up on Christmas morning, and didn't care as much as we used to that the tree was over-run with gifts. Gifts that I wasn't sure that I wanted; gifts that I was sure that I had absolutely no room for. Gifts that were appreciated nonetheless. Then it was the Robinson party, which always always feels like Christmas no matter what. Even the year that we received a phone call in the middle of the mayhem announcing that there was another death. Even then. It was a perfect, beautiful death...but this year's death occurred a couple of weeks ago and thankfully there was not another one hiding underneath the Christmas tree for us to unwrap, surprised.

As cousins, we've always been close. Closer still when we realize each other's faults, although we were raised with especially high standards and morals. Because when we slip up, it can feel like a stain on the family crest; but when we slip up together and realize that things are more difficult than we had bargained for, we fall apart in tandem and it isn't so lonely or shameful. We build each other back up, synchronized, better. My cousins are untouchable examples of beauty and passion. We hold each other in high regard, and we try to make sense of things that knock us down a couple of pegs. I am glad for that kind of relationship with anybody, let alone with family. It is amazing to watch ourselves grow, and hear ourselves talk, and work ourselves ragged to figure things out, and have the courage to sing at the end of the day. That is the way it has been. That is the way it will be.

Among us, we fight a huge array of dark matter. Honestly, some of the reason why Christmas didn't feel like being thrown down a water-slide made of cheese-graters this time is the fact that I'm preoccupied with greater things. At least, things of a greater magnitude. As the rise-and-fall of my mental state continues, I continue my attempt at sorting things into their respective categories. These thoughts go here. This action goes over there. It is safe to talk to him but too dangerous to speak to her. When is my soul made of glass and when is it wrapped in steel? Because I am about to begin a treacherous journey. Something terrifying and uncomfortable, as of right now, that other people seem to know about more than I actually do. Lots of fighting, lots of preparing, lots of...insecurity. How? How does this work? How can I rock out loud at quantum physics but the silly, stupid, basic things that seem so easy for everybody else absolutely elude me? I don't want to let my heart go, and truth be told, I'm scared. Yep. The Great Becca Robinson is out-of-her-mind frightened. So I suppose I could take Josh Preston's advice and five-four-three-two-one myself into blast-off, with the courage to count backwards, and then the following question: what happens when I hit "one"? Is this the part where my whole life blows up? Is this the part where I surrender? You're in charge. Am I really this difficult and are You really this silent?

Yikes. Sometimes it seems like a mistake. I'm waiting for the point where it becomes natural, or at least comprehensible, or maybe...possible.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Just Flying

I looked into the mirror a moment ago and noticed a vein that I hadn't seen in a while, or at all for that matter. It was vast and green like the sea before a storm, and it looked like wings tattooed on my chest through transparent and winter-kissed skin. Like I had wings. Funny, since I had been thinking of a quote earlier from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."

If I wanted to fly, though, either metaphorically, spiritually or physically, why would I begin by throwing myself at the ground? Forgive my ignorance, but it seems like whenever I am flying (in an airplane, of course) or feel like I am flying on the inside, I am, in essence, very far away from the ground. Or am I?

Maybe real flying is hovering closely above the ground, above rock-bottom, and somehow missing the fall. Missing gravity. Missing the urge to get sucked back down. Flirting with death, but then coyly skipping away. In this sense, I feel like there has been a lot of flying going on lately.

For myself, there are few things that I currently enjoy more than:
a) the chance to catch up with people that I hadn't seen in a while
b) a glass of good wine (or two...and a half...)
c) a good night's sleep

If my life were a multiple-choice test and the question went something along the lines of: "Which of these choices makes Becca fly a little?", then the correct answer would just have to be 'a'. Because sometimes listening to people and talking to people is exactly like throwing yourself towards the ground. The best conversations are the most difficult ones. The moments during which we would be most vulnerable but find ourselves most secure are the moments during which we can fly. When truly amazing people die, their legacies allow the rest of us to fly. Things that stem from brutal situations are the things that make us fly. The closer to disaster that we come, the more opportunity there is to escape, somehow equipping ourselves better than before.

A good number of discussions this week stemmed from death. Literally. But these were discussions grounded in life, in lively revolution. Discussion of a paradigm shift. Ways to use what we know in the most effective manner. I keep coming into contact with brilliant, inspiring people who truly believe that everything that I am and have become will be used to dramatically alter some fundamental, currently unidentified characteristic of what we think we know. What a crazy, exhilarating responsibility. The thing is, only a handful of the people that I have spoken to over the past week or so realize how damaged I have been, and likewise only a few can realize the magnitude of this jump across the spectrum of my life. I'm not entirely sure what I'm trying to say anymore, honestly. So I'll close with a lyric that summarizes what I think just might be my ultimate point.

"...and God help you if you are a Phoenix, and you dare to rise up from the ash. A thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy as you are just flying past..." - Ani DiFranco