I wrote something yesterday, but with a click of a button I made it disappear. I didn’t want to read my own drivel, which is pretty par for the course. For some reason, however, the entire piece just reeked of this sort of defeatist mentality. In it’s entirety the piece spanned about 600 words and was actually pretty well put together – complete sentences and everything. I wasn’t under the influence of any sort of mind stabilizing medications, I wasn’t drinking, and I wasn’t even on one of my eating disordered rampages where the room is spinning and the words just kind of barf out without me realizing exactly what I was saying. All of those words are gone, the time that it took me to write those words is now gone, and I don’t want them back. Looking back hasn’t been my strong point.
I’m sure there is some sort of “autosave” feature here in WordPress in which I could scour my past and find the article from recent past. I’m sure it’s somewhere in my history on the computer, but I don’t want it. That was yesterdays news, today is a different story. I feel the same as I do yesterday, in regards to what I was babbling on about, but at the same time it just doesn’t seem important. Life isn’t very important, there will always be somebody to piss in your boots. This is where I am now, the article of yesterday comes true today in vivid spectacle and all I can do is shake my head. The premise of the article was about not letting other people steer your boat.
Master your own sails and all that shit. The only one that has time to rock the boat is the one that isn’t rowing, right? I never quite understood that, how large is this boat, how many sails does it actually have, and who the hell let that trouble maker on the boat in the first place? If there is one thing that I can very strongly say is that I learned at a very early age to select your boat mates very carefully, you never know when you might need them to save your ass because you decided to jump into the lake after too much tequila….I digress.
The point of this dialogue is not so much to try to relive what has been lost, but why what we lost should stay in the past. Recently I got to adventure out on a spirit journey of sorts. In a bitter sense of the word I used my ailing grandfather as a catalyst to make this happen, I didn’t want him sick, and I didn’t want to see him suffer, but at the same time I couldn’t not see him. Given a wild hair and a pension for irresponsibility my battle cry for this journey was “for pops”. All of my actions were to lead me to visit and cherish him while he was still making jokes and using profanity. All of these things that form me into who I am today, all of these things that lead to character defects, work ethic, and hereditary predisposition to addictive activities were going to be celebrated on this adventure. What better company to celebrate the sorry sot you are than nobody but yourself, right?
This is where leaving the past behind is very important. Although you’ve fought the good fight all your life to become the person you “think” you want to be, there are so many damn things that are stuck – like your hereditary – that you can only ride the wave out. The past life of your debauchery, missed connections, and casual encounters can lead you to a future of repeating those same sorry acts. It’s hard, however, to break this cyclical thinking, especially if you decide you don’t want to. Your past is comfortable, your past is familiar, your past is just that, yours. On my journey for Pops, I realized that there weren’t many things about my adventure that were 100% me – the drinks I chose were because they reminded me fondly of other people, the places I stayed were because I liked the people there, the food I ate was because I knew it would make somebody mad somewhere. All of these things were who I “was” but really, it was more what other peopleI was trying to be.
Perfect example, my affinity for Makers Mark. Truth be told I can wallow in a bottle and tell the world to fuck off with no trouble at all. For all intensive purposes I think Makers Mark has broken up more of my relationships than I care to remember, but lets not look at the past – the failed relationships – lets look at the present. Which one of those past people are here for you to give you a hug right freaking now? Who of those people whom you “destroyed the relationship with your affair with the red wax” would still bend over backwards for you even though you truly wiped your ass with them? This is where you might start pumping your fist and saying “yeah, screw exes, screw them right in the ear”.
That’s where you’re wrong, because that failed relationship is in your past, doesn’t mean it can’t still very much be in your future. Your future can include your red wax lover, but at the same time a richer tapestry of life has to occur. Instead of dwelling in the past and realizing “damn, I really fucked up a good thing” or “they just don’t understand how good a snort is at the end of the day” you’ll start to realize that it’s really not worth it, nothing can be worth it. It’s just a beverage, it’s just bourbon, it’s just so damn good. Is it really though? Is it the warm feeling that you get in your belly when you drink it? Is it not the same warm feeling in your belly that you get when you embrace somebody that you really love and cherish in your life? The subtle burn on your tongue, is that not that same tingle that you get when your lips press against somebody that loves and cares for you even if you have morning breath or crooked teeth? Is that brown liquid not just showing you love?
This is war, folks, and some of us have become comfortable here. War against ourselves, our bodies, our brains, our diets, our beverage selections, the cars we drive, the list goes on. If you’re not fighting the good fight, you’re dying a cowards death. Fight for the things that make your bodies feel good and your bellies burn in the right ways. You’re not doing it right if you don’t swear a lot, if you don’t break a few hearts, and if you don’t make a few people blush along the way. Welcome to the fast lane into the future, folks, the toll booth is asking nicely for you to deposit your drama in the basket.
“you can tell a true war story if it embarrasses you. If you don’t care for obscenity, you don’t care for the truth; if you don’t care for the truth, watch how you vote. Send guys to war, they come home talking dirty. ”
― Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
And of course, we’ll wage these random wars throughout the day, in the evenings, and even in our sleep. How many times have you woken up in a cold sweat from a dream that seemed a little too close to reality that it awakens you? That imagery of something that doesn’t really exist haunts your brain in the minutes, hours, days after you’ve risen from your slumber. For me, I’ve got this freaking recurring dream of forest fires and brake failure. One of my best friends has a recurring dream of a fairy with knives, and my own dad has a recurring dream about worms. The fact of the matter is that they still haunt us, we’re not sure why, but it’s there. My fire, his fairy, his worms, they’re there, and there isn’t a single thing that we can do about it. We have absolutely no control over it, unless we take something like ambien, but then we have other experiences that aren’t pleasurable….but that’s not the point. We embrace our past and hold onto them by choice, however, these dreams we have are inflicted in our brains without our say so.
What’s the difference, I ask, between something that used to exist and something that never existed?
Can you really look upon the past or a dream and say it’s going to affect your day to day life? Really, it’s sort of the same thing, an image in your brain that your subconscious decides to haunt you with. You haven’t a power over it, you can’t chose not to dream, and you certainly can’t chose to not have a past. The dreams that manifest, the past we’ve had, the future that we decide are all congruent in a way that isn’t easily explained. We learn from our past in the fact that when we’re burned, we avoid fire. When we dream about brake failure, we make sure our braking system in our vehicle is up to par. When we expect somebody is a bonehead, we stay away from them and avoid some sort of relationship. Our dreams, our pasts, our futures are all interwoven in a way that isn’t easy to comprehend, but at the same time it’s all too simple.
Think about your last dream, where did it take you? Chances are it was someplace you were at least semi familiar with, although it could have been a bit altered. It was something you could recognize, comprehend, interpret. Think about your past now, how clear are your memories, is it nothing but a sort of dream like state that you sort of remember the details but fill in the blanks as you go? Is your past more of a color by numbers picture as opposed to a museum worthy piece of art.
And your future, what exactly is that? A movie that is missing the sound? A painting without the color? A book written in a language that you don’t understand? I know I lost the article that I had written yesterday, I have a vague idea as to the topic, but could I ever replicate it, no. Do I want to? Absolutely not. Today is here, yesterday is gone, and the words that come out today are way better than could have ever come out yesterday. The reason, every day is a chance for growth as a person. Every day is a learning experience.
“Day after day, I get angry and I will say
That the day is in my sight
When I’ll take a bow and say goodnight”
-The Violent Femmes
So when are we actually going to take that bow, when are we actually going to bid farewell to the past.
Most importantly, when are we going to fess up and admit that we as humans fuck up…sometimes really badly….but learn from those errors. True story (to reference a prior comment) I jumped off of a boat in the middle of a lake after consuming too much Tequila. It was about 3 o’clock in the morning and I thought I was invisible. I hit the water and sunk like a stone. There was no sort of cognitive reasoning going on to make me kick and swim to the surface. I. Just. Sunk. I can look back at that now and think to myself, “I should have done things different”, but I didn’t, and I learned from it. I was brought to the surface, but at the same time I had to swallow my pride and admit that I shouldn’t have attempted swimming.
Same thing goes for the “deleted” article from last night. Of course I could have taken the proactive approach and made sure I saved drafts every ten minutes, but I didn’t. Why didn’t I do that in the first place you might ask….well, it had never happened to me before. I typically follow a piece through to the very end, but in that circumstance it didn’t work out.
And now, I’m looking at the things in my life that didn’t work out and am happy they didn’t.
I’m happy. I’m here. I’m hopeful.