Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.
A friend of mine, a great many years ago, once told me, “Jesus Fuck, Becks, can you ever catch a break?”
I don’t believe he was being malicious – it was more a statement of fact than anything else – so I’m certain I simply nodded and smiled, made an off-color joke to distract us both from what would have been a decidedly awkward conversation. There’s very few places one can take a conversation like that without bursting into tears.
I’ve had others echo the same sentiments through the years (and I have met others like me, which makes me believe that I am, at the very least, not alone. If I have done anything good in my life, it is to have created a space with that simple pretext: we are none of us alone; we are all of us connected); my mother, at one point, said, “you can never learn anything the easy way – I feel for you.”
I’ve been so accustomed to these storms, that, most of the time, I can barely enjoy a moment’s peace without waiting for another to touch down, leaving me breathless and shaking, wondering what I’d done in a past life to deserve this. Because come, they always do. Most are (apologies to Douglas Adams) simply a series of unfortunate events strung together in time:
I couldn’t have a single miscarriage; no. I had to have two, back-to-back. When I finally got pregnant again, I immediately fell down the stairs and broke some of the small bones in my feet, which meant that not only could I only wave a bottle of Tylenol near my foot for pain, I then began bleeding, my progesterone levels dangerously low, which meant activity restrictions and the fear that this would be a third consecutive miscarriage. I spent the rest of my pregnancy in Das Boot, chasing after a toddler and house-breaking a puppy who liked to eat poo and then barf it up on the carpet, praying for the safe arrival of my daughter to be safe. She was born with a previously undiagnosed neural tube defect, an encephalocele, and had to go in for neurosurgery at the might age of three weeks. I developed PTSD after experiencing a nervous breakdown, and lost my (at the time) best friend in the world.
In the face of life, being, as my father always told me as I raged against this or that as a small child, unfair, I’ve learned to carry on, hold my breath and brace myself for the next storm, only occasionally finding the moment’s peace that allows me connection to the rest of the world. They’ll hit me, I know, these storms, knock me off my feet, leave me breathless, send me overboard; the desperation to find something – anything – in the murky chaos of the unknown, to hold tightly onto, until, once again, I can be reeled in, once again looking for my peace.
Life, I’ve begun to understand only recently, is much more about the storms than the peace they attempt to overwhelm.
These storms will always lurk down dark corners, or in the middle of a sunshine-filled day – the type of day that like nothing, ever, could go wrong – always present, always lurking, always ready to, once again, send me flying overboard, once again, looking for any way to get back on deck.
Only this time, I’m done with the notion of clinging for dear life to anything; anyone. Not out of bitterness; no. This time, there will be no one to save me; I’m not – never have been – “little girl lost,” and I don’t need a white knight swooping in to make me whole, to save my life.
It’s time to live life on my terms for the first time. Ever.
The storms won’t cease, and maybe that’s okay; maybe this is simply my lot in life, and instead of fearing these ever-lurking storms, I’m going to embrace them, just as I’ll embrace the few moments of peace and clarity I may have. The cracks, after all, are how the light gets in.
In the past week, I’ve been knocked out, knocked down, faced with one of the biggest storms I’ve (thus far) known, and you know what? My eyes may be blacked and blue, my heart shattered and healing, and yet, in spite of it all, still I remain standing.
It’s what I do.
It’s what I will always do.
And rather than rage at the things that are unfair, the breaks I haven’t caught, the things that will no longer be, I will, instead, embrace these cracks. For it is through these cracks, that even in the darkest of the nights, when my soul feels empty and hollow, that the light – my light – gets in.