As a first year teacher, my top five favorite things about Spring Break [in no particular order] have been:
1. Sleeping later than 5:30AM [and the possibility of taking cat naps]
2. Grocery shopping midday [look ma, no lines!]
3. Finding time to explore New York [and remembering why I'm nuts about this apple]
4. Freedom to use the bathroom, anytime [so I can drink more water and TEA!!]
5.Time to write. [And organize. And watch the Food Network.]
But I haven't been doing a very good job of cutting myself a break. In fact, so overwhelmed by all of the things I wanted to do, I have felt myself growing more and more frustrated with my human limitations.
I imagine that a break isn't supposed to make you feel like you have broken something. But every empty box on the checklist starts to color my legs black and blue. I am of a people who beat themselves up too frequently to remember why they originally felt so awful. And I feel bad about that, too.
To say we are a society ruled by bad feelings is an understatement but, where is the relief? At what point do we get to say "I see what I did wrong, here are the steps I am going to take the do better. I'm sorry"?
Instead, we throw blame around or otherwise fall so deep into a despair we aren't sure how to own. There is no relief, no discovery, no improvement.
I don't know how to be this miserable, I tell myself, even as I hide under the covers, eating muffins and drinking more tea than a person is supposed to.
I don't have time to hide away, I tell myself, and this part feels more genuine. The grey cloud above my blonde hair thunders a little more than usual every time I turn my head and, these days, I'm making a lot of turns, hoping to return to the person I was before.
Or...not. Perhaps I have outgrown her: the things that used to frighten me do so less these days. I find old photographs or clips of voices--of people I didn't even know--who had, I thought, destroyed something sacred. But these voices aren't special. These voices aren't so horrifying anymore, and I realize that they, alone, never had the power to destroy. Just like, we alone, are the only ones with the power to, destroy ourselves.
So, I don't have the time to be this miserable, as if it is a choice. I have decided that it is. And I find myself a little patch of ground, where I can write a few lines about loneliness and laugh as a child makes a silly face, and breathe into a life that I am creating for myself.
Does it look different than I had planned? Sure.
But...give me a break.
Don't ask me what to do with lemons. I used to make lemonade from the very pout that sour left on unsurprising lips but now I think I would just drown in it. Perspective has become this devastating bird that squaks above my head, as if to say, hey, it could be worse, it could be better, but it is what it is.
No amount of sugar can change that.
When you are a multi-millionaire, you can turn lemonade into an enterprise: Fill cups with spite and middle fingers, make everyone drink from your misfortunes--see what brilliance you squeezed from the rind. Cue more middle fingers, more maniacal laugher, more vague threats. They say lemons promote clear thinking. Maybe this post is lemonade. Maybe the last two years of writing have been lemonade, too.
The thing I love most about a lemon is its thick outer peel: part zest, part security, it protects the fragile fruit. Never have you seen a bruised lemon; apples, pears, people cannot say the same.
And where's Becky-With-the-Good-Hair? Oh, she's reclaimed her throne. She infiltrates every moment and patters in the echo of your feet on the wood floor. She hums in the background of songs you forgot you wanted to like---her name pops up in the strangest of places--or maybe in the places she belongs, in spite of how you tried to be sweeter, to linger on.
Guess some people are meant to be Becky-With-the-Good-Hair and some are just meant to make lemonade.
When a heart is no longer working, skilled surgeons implant a conduit to redirect blood flow. This little piece of temporary heart does the job of a once working organ because even the most vital parts of us can stop, sometimes.
Out of the surgeon's hands, the heart is not so easily mended. Everything I know about medicine, I learned from Meredith Grey. Everything I've learned about being "dark and twisty" however, long preceded her, even if she serves as the authority on the matter. This temporary fix is not a solution. At any given moment, the conduit may be in need of repair; when the wear and tear of scattered heartbeats becomes too damaging. This past year has begged for a brand-new heart.
And so we go back under the knife.
But it's not so easy to replace broken parts, by the light of day. In surgery, the heart can be disconnected from the brain, left to its own devices: To learn to beat by a new, steady rhythm. Give the brain time to acclimate to the newness of a heart that has been taught how to regain its shine.
I miss being shiny.
I spend too much time with children; notice the nuance of a smile, the meaning of the smallest glimmer in an adolescent eye. I used to think that growing up fell on some sort of timeline but now I know that isn't the case: we grow according to the scope of the world we are brought into. Some people never see beyond certain states--or states of mind--and others travel. Others have no choice.
The things I know have muddled my shine.
So we put in a conduit. When our hearts are no longer beating on their own. Foreign pieces that do the task of vital organs. This is what survival looks like, when we need to be reminded. When it doesn't feel like time, or love letters written by unwounded hearts, can repair the damage that has been done. When the person we used to be feels so distant from the person we are now that even we talk about her in second person. Her.
I desperately want to reconnect with her.
So my tired hands struggle to create a piece with enough strength, enough promise, to keep my heart functioning. A proper conduit, all on my own, so I can bring the butterflies from the lowest part of my belly, up to my heart. Where the flap of their wings could teach my heart a new rhythm.
This is Me:
My name's Melissa. I'm the girl with her hands in her journal.