I was talking to a woman I respect, on a sunny Friday afternoon, after a morning punctured by her hums. Hums that, in the months I worked with her, were infrequent but promising; like the songbird welcoming spring.
The hums had faded into the general click-clack of a workday and, lost in 104 keys, I pulled her from her reverie to ask her why she had stopped humming. Wasn't she happy anymore?
She had been humming over a boy. Like most birds do, so she sighed and told me that everything is always great until "they become human."
I think about this idea, often. When I reflect on the wonders I have inadvertently placed on pedestals and consider how they've gotten there and how they will eventually have to come down; when they become human.
Can we spend a lifetime, pedestal-worthy, or is that too much to ask from anyone?
Well, I think it's possible that human is better. That the idea of a person can forever live upon a pedestal, as a breathing entity. Capable of mistake, even. Because it isn't "perfect" that gives us hope. This is a newer concept for me. I'm coming to terms with this idea that it doesn't have to be perfect it just has to matter to someone.
One of the lyrics in the musical Waitress, which I have just been obsessing over, is "You matter to me. Simple and plain and not much to ask from somebody." It makes me want to cry--because while the idea of mattering should be "simple and plain and not much to ask from somebody," I write my life away, as a reminder that it shouldn't be too much for ask, but some people can go through their entire lives feeling as though they don't matter to anybody.
I am on the other side of not mattering, now. From where I stand, the other side of not-mattering is mattering to yourself. Like a skeleton, as if the body is suddenly in alignment. We can survive maladjusted but, in that split second where we can stand up straight and we have the clarity to know that this is how it should always feel, a maladjusted life may not be one properly lived.
But that's human. Made up of matter, as if the parts of ourselves we give away should be matter. Should be labeled as such, should be described in that way: it shouldn't come as a surprise or be an option. But it is.
There is this heart-wrenching news story about a woman who suffered from such dreadful anorexia that she couldn't gain weight: She was a living skeleton. With time and the proper treatments, she is now at a healthy weight--but, in trying to explain how she could just shrivel away, she said that she didn't know she deserved respect.
Someone along the way forgot to show her that she was deserving. And it stuck, as it tends to do.
Human nature means we are susceptible to peer pressure, to an innate desire to conform, to be someone else's definition of "worthy."But, I think, it's important to remember that, to the attention of the people we spend our lives vying for, we will eventually become human. And unless the human that we are is enough for us, we will forever be defined by who are lucky enough to matter to.
So--matter to you. And others may come flocking. But remember that they are simply human.
Too often we define ourselves by people that only we can give that power to. Maybe, today, we can take it back for good.
This is Me:
My name's Melissa. I'm the girl with her hands in her journal.