Tonight somebody asked me what gives me clarity.
I usually have an answer. A quick one. I usually know how I feel about things or at least what I think about them. If you know me, you know my answers are usually long.
(Fyi. I’m so sorry. Many thanks for keeping me, etc.)
It was extremely uncomfortable to realize that I didn’t have the answer.
I. don’t. know what gives me clarity.
I didn’t like it. The restaurant and the person faded out for a minute and all the chatter disappeared into the background while I tried to remember the last time I felt really clear about something. Like, a moment where I knew the truth. Undeniably. When I knew something was “right.” When I didn’t question it.
Funny how we’re not always as quick as we think we are to spot what’s right.
We know when something is pretty good, or hey-it’s-not-perfect-but-it-still-has-some-really-awesome-sides-to-it, but I feel like we can be oddly oblivious to
“Holy Shit. That was right.”
It’s almost easier to see it when you look back and go – actually it was that moment – right there. That was the moment where I felt genuinely happy. I just didn’t notice it, because it was a quiet kind of happy. The kind of interaction that had light. When I felt understood. When I wasn’t trying or wondering. That was the moment that finally felt like home, after not feeling like home for… a while.
I thought I was good at this. And in some aspects of life I am.
I don’t always realize things in the moment. And later that makes me feel like I lost it. Like if I knew what the value of that moment was, I would have stretched it out a little bit longer. I would have not spoken as quickly. I wouldn’t have broken the silence so soon. I would have seen where it would have taken me if I had only been a little bit braver.
I really don’t have any desire to give a 2017 speech. But humans love recaps, so: 2017 was good to me in many ways. REALLY good. But it was also the year that showed me how scared I still am of things, how parts of you that you thought were permanent can just walk out the door one day, and how “almost” is pretty much the biggest heartbreaker in the entire world.
Nothing in this world is as bad as almost.
So back to tonight. And clarity. And looking back. And realizing that the minutes that felt clear this year were all in my body. I knew when someone was telling the truth. I knew when I felt love. I knew when someone I loved was lying to me .I knew when I had to leave a situation. I knew when something was unhealthy for me. Even if I pretended I didn’t. Even if I found every excuse in the book and any possible thing that could mean the opposite.
My brain is basically the Busta Rhymes of Worst Case Scenarios. It is noisy and “on” and opinionated and you can’t keep up with it, so you shouldn’t try.
But my heart wanders around with a knowing look that it gives me quietly which is much, much worse.
I’m notorious for holding onto things I love past their expiration date. Time always moved too fast for me, and I have no idea to “take my time” when I don’t know how anyone even takes time anyway.
Like, I’ll have my time on the rocks with a slice of lemon please. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I just always feel like I’m running out of it.
My family tells a story where I am 3-years-old, sitting on the couch, looking through my baby album.
I am crying. Hard.
My mom walks in, freaks out. “Tova, why are you crying?!”
I look up at her. Giant tears in my eyes. I blurt out: “Because I’ll… never… be a baby again!!!”
She eyes me warily. “Tova… you’re 3. You have your whole life ahead of you.”
(My mother never did know how to talk to children.)
I brushed her comment aside with a mournful “It’s not THE SAME.”
Nothing ever is.
Maybe that’s good news. Maybe that’s what makes you appreciate something.
Knowing it will end.
So here’s to time. And clarity. And the courage to know what to do with them.
And may we always recognize what is real in this world that loves pretense.
There is so much that is good and beautiful underneath it all.
Please don’t settle for almost.
Happy New Year.