So, as I’m sure you have noticed, we have long since moved forward beyond the “End of the World”. We didn’t go out in a fiery blaze to the tune of the world’s arsenal of nuclear weapons exploding all at once. We didn’t get sucked into a black hole to be ripped apart. There were no invading aliens, or asteroids, or even a horrific plague to wipe us all out. Most tragically, there were no zombies. Come on world! How could you be so cruel and callous as to leave out the zombies?! That’s so terribly disappointing that I don’t even have words for it.
Maybe that’s why I’ve been so quiet for so long? Or maybe it’s because the world really did end…just not in a way we would ever have expected it to…
That’s right, I said it. The world really did end. In fact, I think it ends with the setting of every sun. Our lives change and mutate with every little thing that happens to us until we lay our heads down at the end of each day with the subconscious knowledge that we will never be the same again. That’s not to say that it is always something cataclysmic and earth-shattering. It’s usually so quiet and simple that we don’t even notice it for years afterwards: conversations we have with loved ones, people you choose to smile at when you pass them on the street, or the things we neglect to acknowledge as important. Those little moments add up though so that each morning we awake as a brand new version of ourselves with the people we were yesterday dead, gone, and irretrievable like forgotten ghosts that depart from us with every whispered breath we take while we are sleeping. More importantly, they are also the things that shape our reactions to those bigger, more life-altering experiences that we all inevitably have to face sometimes too.
I’ve had my fair share of those this past year–just like everyone else has I’m sure. And they’ve changed me to the point where when I look in the mirror, I’m not sure I recognize the person staring back at me anymore. I feel like some sort stranger is living in my head. That’s not necessarily a good or bad thing…it’s just a thing….a thing that I’m not really sure what to do with yet I guess. I think that’s why I haven’t written more than five pages the entire year–I haven’t the slightest clue what I want to say anymore…let alone how to say it even if I did. I’m probably not even making sense now, but I figure everyone has to start somewhere right?
I guess I’ll start with the biggest thing that happened to me this year…you know, get it out of the way or whatever. In February, I watched a man die. It happened at work so I still can’t really say anything about it. Suffice to say it was one of the most horrible experiences of my life. It was gruesome and brutal and I still can’t get the look in his eyes out of my head. I still have nightmares and I kinda think I always will. I don’t like stepping on dock plates, I get terrified of semi-trucks, and sometimes even loud noises are enough to freak me out and reduce me to a trembling mess. The sad thing is, this is probably the most I’ve ever talked about it too. I don’t like to talk about it because people look at me like I’m crazy for being so effected by it. I can’t help it though. It just is what it is. How do you move past something like that anyway? And should you even be able to do so? Isn’t that immoral? Isn’t that inhuman? I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll ever know. All I do know is that it has made me very…skittish…yeah that’s a good word for it. I’m skittish about everything now–and I was never very brave to begin with so that’s saying quite a lot. More than that, it has made me even more over-analytical than I already was. I can’t stop playing the What-If game about anything.
It’s driving me particularly insane this weekend–maybe that’s why I finally decided to sit down and try to write something…I don’t know. You see, I also fell in love for the first time this year. At this point in my life, I had convinced myself that that is something that would never happen to me. It wasn’t a “Woe is me,” sort of thing at all. I just hadn’t ever really met anyone that I really thought of that way. It was weird–in a good way mind you. I’d never really experienced any of those things that all of those cheesy girlie movies talk about. To be honest, I kind of thought that was a good thing too. You can’t get hurt if you don’t make yourself vulnerable after all. So yeah, having always been single this late in life, I figured I always would be and I was content with that. Then it happened and I’m still not sure how I let it. For a little while, I got to be helplessly and deliriously happy. It was amazing and perfect. Then Friday, he told me that he thinks we should just be friends. So yeah, first heartbreak too. And I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s driving me insane with all of those crazy what-ifs. The worst part is that I can’t even bring myself to be mad about it because I do love him and I want him to be happy. It won’t matter that he wasn’t happy with me if he is happy. I want him to have that–those moments of crazy, delirious happiness that nothing else could ever replace. They’re amazing–those little moments. Earth-shattering and cataclysmic even. He deserves that.
We all do really. That’s what this past year has taught me. And while I think I’m kind of a nervous wreck, I also think that I’m still better for it. Because I learned that I could be happy. I had never really known that before. Contentment I have always been able to do, but happiness? Not so much. So that’s what I’m going to try to be. I doubt I’ll be very good at it at first, but hey, practice makes perfect right? It doesn’t matter if we always get it right, because each day we change and that person that we were dies. The world itself changes and dies each day–and that’s a beautiful thing. After all, that also means that it begins anew each and every single day. It means a thousand second chances and a million more of those little moments that define us. It’s an amazing thing. It isn’t a tragedy in one of Eliot’s poems. He was only halfway correct because while it happens, it’s really a blessing in disguise. We could never be more lucky than we are in this: that “This is the way the world ends: Not with a bang but a whimper”…
The Butcher of the Bard