19 || the bs of permanence
Sorry it’s been a second. I find myself constantly starting letters to you, getting halfway and then losing touch with whatever it is I was trying to get across. Not that topics lose their importance. I think recently I’ve just been having trouble finding direction. With literally everything. We’ll get to that though.
How are you? How’s school? Based on my inconsistency with these things, you could be anywhere from five to eighteen right now, so let’s just throw you in high school and reference that. I’ve been thinking about home a lot. About you. For good measure, let’s say sixteen-year-old you? That’s a good middle ground. You’re a fuckin’ trip, dude. You’ve got huge tits, you dress like the rainbow sharted on you, you’re a chronic dater and you’re bossy as hell.
So. You know. Pretty much the same as me, but with boobs.
I remember being your age, looking at people my age and thinking, “Wow, they’ve really got their shit together.” Now I’m here and everyone is still a fucking idiot, they just have jobs and nicer apartments and their bodies can’t break down dairy.
This is what ultimately shocks me: I used to think that as we got older, we got less dramatic - more logical, more reasonable - but as it turns out, age has nothing to do with maturity. I realize you and anyone else reading this is probably like, “Yeah bitch, we know.” Maybe there’s just a part of me that’s been hopeful. But change and maturity and viewing the world and the behaviors of others through a lens of reasonable understanding comes from an honest and concerted effort to do so. I’m not saying growth in that ability doesn’t come naturally with time, I think it does, but it also takes honing and a lot of challenging yourself.
Okay, so what does all that preachy shit really mean? I’ve noticed more and more recently that a lot of people I deal with, including myself, have a tendency to think in black and white. Emotions take on epic proportions and we struggle to understand that nothing is permanent because feelings, especially to those of us who have a difficult time making sense of ourselves, feel BIG. Good things happen and we think it’s forever. Bad things happen and we think it’s forever.
But the truth is simple – everything is temporary. The good, the bad, the in between. I’m not saying that like I’ve reached some sort of enlightenment where I’ve actually grasped what the fuck that even means. But I am saying it because it’s true and it’s important to remember and I wish I could remember it considerably more often than I do. It’s a work in progress.
If I’ve learned anything from the last couple years of being in LA and trying to maneuver my career and my friendships and my dating life, it’s this: life is really only as complicated as we choose to make it.
The last few months for me have been a continuous lesson in various types of loss. Loss is not foreign to us, as you well know, but recently its reared its shitty head, and I’m truly sorry for when you get there because it kind of blows. You lost your step-dad, you said goodbye to an important relationship with someone you love very much, and you lost most of the sensation in your left arm and hand to peripheral neuropathy. It’s a weird combination of stuff, none of which you – or I, still now – anticipated facing.
But it’s also forced me to stop thinking in black and white. Or at least try harder. It will do the same to you. This last week especially. Because, honestly, it would be very easy to sit here right now as all this shit has accumulated and exploded, and be a mess and point fingers and feel bad for myself and be upset. But what the hell good does that do?
Thinking in terms of permanence is a choice. These days I often try to remind myself that while you can’t choose your emotions, you can choose your thoughts. And you can choose what you say and how you say it.
Now, did drunk me remember that while in a screaming fit with someone I really care about a couple weeks ago? She sure as hell did not. And really there’s no excuse for that. But again, work in progress. It is what it is.
When you can, I encourage you to challenge your current thought process and try and bring that black and white into a grey area. Here, I’m going to do it right now –
Yes, your step-dad is gone and it’s incredibly sad. But he also lived a great life, and you got to spend some of his best years with him. He may not be with you anymore, but the impression he left on you isn’t going away and it never will. And there’s something really beautiful about that.
Yes, you said goodbye to someone you really believed could be your partner. And a big part of him fucking hates you and a big part of you hates him too for the hell you put each other through. And that hurts, especially because it comes from a place on not understanding how to love simply. But sometimes paths just don’t cross at the right time. That doesn’t make either of you bad people. You both just have a lot of battle left to figure out in yourselves. And that’s really okay. Hopefully you get there.
Yes, you can’t feel your arm and hand and your fingers twitch a lot and you kind of look like you have turrets. But you’re not going to die. You still get to live and have a full life and maybe the feeling will come back. Even if it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world.
That’s the thing, no matter what difficulties you experience, they’re not the be all end all. I also want you to remember that this applies to good experiences too in a way. I think we often get so tied up in how great things are that when shit hits the fan, we react without bearing in mind that good can’t exist without bad. Again, the good is not permanent, the bad is not permanent, the in between is not permanent. Life does not travel in a straight line.
To the best of your ability I advise you to try and be thoughtful and take the above into consideration when dealing with yourself and others. This is not an easy process, and you’ll fuck up a lot. But again, nothing is permanent. Those fuck ups won’t matter forever. Time is really the only thing that will put that actuality into perspective. So just try your best.
And as you go through your teens and early twenties, try to find that gray area as much as you can. Reality doesn’t exist in black and white, and it doesn’t exist in permanence. The more you condition yourself to understand that, the better off you’ll be.