By The Light of the Moon
I love September. Maybe because I’m a self-involved narcissist, maybe because I love seeing nature shake itself in preparation for something new, maybe because it’s not so damn hot. There’s something about September that feels like home. This year was met with more apprehension. It was the year of the quarter-turn. The year I turned 25. The year when mortality becomes realer, expectations higher, pressure harsher, and our dreams even harder to believe.
I was standing outside, staring up into the sky. It was dark. I’m sure I looked crazy, squinting to find a break in the tangle of branches but I needed to see it. I was on the phone with a boy, a boy I knew I had no future with but one I’d grown to like anyways. It’s never occurred to me how odd that is to know things will end but pursue them anyways. That must either make me special in a sentimental sense or an absolute idiot. A sentimental idiot. I like it.
We were talking about it. The thing in the sky that I was waiting to see. A cosmic event that only happened once in a lifetime. I was still trying to find the perfect spot, a cinematic sort of framing. All I needed was a score but it was too late. The moon slipped away. It was completely dark. To some it may have been unsettling, to me it was comfortable. I had struggled with PTSD, with anxiety, and depression. I had become well acquainted with darkness, with living without light. I knew full well what it felt like to sit at the bottom of an emotional hole and wonder how the hell I was going to get out of it. I wasn’t waiting on the shadows, I was waiting on the light.
She couldn’t speak. If she could I’m not sure what she would say. She didn’t look scared, just tired. So unbelievable tired. Her whole body worked just to be able to take in one breath and then it rattled again when that breath left her. She was ready to die.
I don’t know why I told my grandma to hold on for one more day. It’s not like we were close. She was a role model in the worst way. She reminded me of everything I could be and never wanted to become. Her blood poured into mine so how different could we be? I think loving her was a way for me to tend to my own wounds. Where hers had festered, mine would heal. I was grateful for her, terrified of becoming her, disgusted by her actions, protective of her pain, and wanted her miles from me but never out of arm’s reach. I loved her and I hated her. She was my past and a warning sign of what my future could become. I don’t think I wanted her to die but I needed her to find her peace in whatever form it took. I knew that if she could find hers then I could find mine.
I sat there in the cold room, my mother on the other side of the bed and thought about how we twist life and death. Life is the unassuming and empirical one. It’s the embodiment of chaos. All of us together, spinning on a small rock in the middle of stars, worrying about taxes, and destinies, and love. It made things small and monumental at the same time.
I held her cold weathered hands and tried to imagine me in her place. What memories would give me comfort? What past actions would give me comfort? What was she thinking of that could possibly give her that?
I realized then that all the reasons I had built up in my head to deter me from what I wanted were silly. In the light of death they were so meaningless. I didn’t want to wait until death to find peace or anything for that matter. I wanted something different. I needed something better.
Embrace the Suck
“So what are you waiting for?”
I was half paying attention to him. I felt like the question applied a lot more to my life at the moment. I would make lists out of lists. I would plan to plan to plan but not execute. I was stalling, but why? What was I waiting for?
But I knew why I was outside and why I was stalling in life had the same answer.
“I need to see the moon move itself out of an imposed shadow.”
I needed to know that if a rock in the sky can do it, so the fuck could I.
Quarter-life crises are talked about as some terrifying, negative thing. It’s a terrifying, good thing. It’s a necessary thing. You don’t just know exactly who you are and what you want to do with your life from the jump. You find it or it finds you. You struggle to get to it, to fight for it, to make it happen. You struggle to understand the kinds of people you want in your life. You struggle to lay the groundwork for the career you want to pursue. Your whole life is about struggling, celebrating getting through struggles, and being thrown into another one. You should have a crisis…and there’s no better time to start. Have a complete breakdown. Get a new job everyday or stay at one for ten years. Be nomadic or settle down. Get lost and then find yourself the only way that you can.
You can’t avoid crisis in life. Turn on the news and it’s happening to someone new everyday. It’s only a matter of time before it’s your turn and there’s no use in hiding from it. You can’t avoid it. You can’t delay it. People that you love will die, someone you care about will betray you, money will be nonexistent, friendships will shrivel up and die, relationships will end, natural disasters will level your home, kids will disappoint you, accidents will happen, health will fail, and life will still go on. I don’t say that as a pessimist but as a relentless optimistic. Bad shit is going to keep on happening to you so you might as well get in the habit of learning how to deal with it now. Go full on, crotch out, head held high, and attack that son of a betch. Embrace the fact that you have no damn clue what you’re doing. Let your fear of missing out encourage new activities and hobbies. Question why you believe the things you do and test them. Detach yourself from results and expectations.
Embrace the suck. Why? Because you’re going to be here again one day. You’ll probably have a mid-life crisis. A pregnancy crisis. A relationship crisis. A daily crisis. Crisis just means an unexpected shitstorm of change. It’s a lot but if you’ve made it this far you’ve already been through changes…so you can do it again. Life is chaos. A shitstorm of changes that we navigate everyday and yet, flowers grow, love prevails, children are born, homes are built, companies flourish, dreams come true, and like I said before, life still goes on (I told y’all I was relentless).
So don’t curtail it, don’t be ashamed of it, don’t pretend it’s not happening. Use it. Find a way to get something out of this. Squeeze the fuck out of those lemons and make lemonade so good Bey will want to feature it on the deluxe edition. Think of it as raw materials. Yeah you were given something shitty but it doesn’t have to stay shitty. Make something beautiful out of it.
It’s here, it’s happening, so what are you going to do about it?