July 13, 2012
I’d had every intention of leaving you with a post, Pranksters, telling you that:
a) I hadn’t gone off the rails of a crazy train, shaved my head and moved to somewhere in Siberia to breastfeed baby Yaks.
2) Getting the hell out of Dodge was the birthday present I was giving myself.
But Thursday got late, and Dawnie got to my house at the ass-crack of dawn on Friday and anyone who owns a mobile device that rhymes with MyPhone understands that posting to a WordPress blog while on a “smart phone*” is nearly impossible. Or maybe, it’s just me.
(it’s not just me)
Sunday, as the always-lovely Avitable reminded you, was my birthday. And despite the recent “series of unfortunate events,” I didn’t feel as though I was particularly immune to my Birthday Curse, which happens to generally be a series of unfortunate and ill-timed events as well. I’ve probably spent more birthdays in ER’s and Urgent Care facilities than anyone under the age of 80 should admit to, but suffice to say, it’s generally DIFFERENT issues, which meant that this year, I was expecting to go big or go home.
So I figured if I died, I may as well be doing something I loved as I went out. Like, for example, going down to Nashville (NashVegas?) with Dawnie.
We hopped into the car, or, more accurately, I slogged my tired ass into the car, around 8AM on Friday and we set off to find some…thing.
“Dawn,” I said. “You’re aware of my birthday curse, right?”
“Yup,” she replied.
“If I get decapitated, please just put my head back on,” I asked.
“Fuck that,” she said, “I’m going to make it hang out of the window.”
“Like a dog?” I asked.
“Something like that,” she gave me A Look.
I stared out the Indiana countryside, marveling at the sheer amount of dead tires on the side of the road, trying to imagine what she meant by that. Was she planning to shrink my severed head and use it as a car ornament? Was she going to let it dangle from the rearview mirror?
“Look,” I said. “I don’t want to be pushy, but I’d like it if you could somehow either reattach my head – maybe with a broom handle or something – or have it nestled in my lap, like I’m holding it.”
She sighed. “I guess,” she replied, clearly unhappy with my demands.
And then we saw it. The most amazing thing I’d seen in at least three minutes:
*if my phone can’t cure cancer, it’s not very smart.
Hey there Pranksters.
My name’s Adam Avitable. Some of you may already know me, whether it’s from my writing on Avitable.com, the epic soul portrait that Becky and I had done, or from that one episode of “To Catch a Predator”.
Today is a very special day. A day so momentous that it could only be celebrated by a post by me. A day so amazing, so fucking unbelievable, that there’s no other way to say it.
Happy Elderly Men Day to all of those readers from Kiribati!
How awesome are Elderly Men? They pull off that awesome plaid/stripes combo when they go to Walgreens, they can wash their testicles just by sitting on a toilet and letting those bad boys drop, and they have a license to get mad at anyone, anytime. They can steal, lie, cheat, and they get away with it because they’re cute. Hooray for old fogeys!
There’s something else.
Is today the day I have to pick up my Chinese baby from Fed Ex?
Is it my brozilian appointment?
Oh, that’s right!
It’s Becky’s birthday!
Happy birthday, Becky. You have empowered so many people, inspired thousands, and made so many laugh until they cried. Or puked. That’s always a good laugh if it ends up with puking. It may not be the easiest time for you, and it may not be the most fun, but fuck it. You’ll get through it and you’ll be better than ever. I know it, and so does everyone else who’s ever met you.
Pranksters, won’t you join me in wishing Becky a wonderful birthday filled with love, friendship, and free from ninja attacks?
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.