So in a land far far away there once lived a girl who had big dreams. She drew rainbows. She looked for unicorns. She sang on top of coffee tables and did questionable cartwheel dismounts. She loved the smell of crayons, and the look of all the colors lined up in the crayon box. She got chocolate on her nose every time she ate chocolate and it was Glorious. She knew life was just bursting with joy.
Later on, life got hard. Life – her life, to be precise – MY life to be very precise – was hit hard and fast, shattering into a million jaggedy little shards. Like Humpty Dumpty, you can’t just put that sh!t back together again. No, in fact, you gotta make peace with the mess your life has become. Well, no even before that, you must just sit amongst the shards and cry. Sob, really. Oh, you know the kind, where you’ve got more fluids and mucus and sounds coming out of you than you thought possible for a little lady such as yourself.
They call it ugly crying. But ugly crying implies a witness – doesn’t it? It implies it’s ugly cuz someone else is there to see it. Sometimes it’s ugly crying but you’re all by your lonesome. (Then again, if no one is there to see – ALSO, DO NOT LOOK IN THE MIRROR – can it still be ugly crying?…)
In any case, all this crying by yourself on the kitchen floor can just make matters worse, when you think about it – funny. Absurdly, hysterically funny.
I think one night after I’d done a bunch of that kitchen floor sobbing business (some day I’ll get into all the crap that went down that made life go off the rails – no, off the rails makes it sound like it had been on, no more like off the rails of the already-off-the-rails-rails), I was suddenly struck by how ridiculous this situation was.
A grown a$$ woman on the floor, clutching the newly-arrived ashes of her just cremated, first ill suddenly dead three year old cat (baby) and she’s sobbing like it’s her job. Then I remember having the thought, I wonder whether the upstairs neighbors jokingly call me “The Weeper” cuz I’m sure that’s all they ever hear from me (and in my head, I totes register on the neighbors’ radar so prominently that they nickname me, DUH).
And just like that, I’m like – this is actually a wee bit funny.
And I legit started to chuckle, through the sniffling and snorting mucusy mess that I was.
And then I wondered if the neighbors could now hear me laughing and how crazy I must sound – which, you guessed it folks, just made me laugh more, which, yes, then made it all funnier still.
And pretty soon, I wasn’t sure if I was Resilient or flippin’ nuts.
Don’t think I can’t hear you, dear Reader, and I know – maybe you’re right: it is a both / and: resiliency and a touch of insanity (Insanity Lite?). Maybe one needs a bit of nutso to be sanely insane or insanely sane in this nutsotastic world.
Anyway, a couple years ago, when I was starting to date again after being in a long relationship, I remember talking to my bff about what I wanted and didn’t want going forward. And I had the weirdest analogy for it (#shocker): namely, you know those toys for kids that come in those tiny little capsules, but when you put them in water they expand into big sponge animals – dinosaurs or elephants or octopuses (octopi?)? I felt like a sponge animal who kept trying to put herself back into that tiny little capsule, or more to the point, I’d find relationships that made me feel I had to capsule myself up, rein myself in, be something small and tidy just to be loved. (I know, cue the tiny violins.) Cuz really, I was the one doing all this re-capsuling of myself.
You know what, people? I don’t wanna do that BS self censoring, self smallering anymore. (#makingupwordsisfun) I want to be my sponge animal self, soaking up life till I get all big and drippy with it – maybe even unruly and untameable!
Dating again, after a long spell of being all squished back up inside the capsule, I felt suddenly free and sort of massive, spreading my spongey octopi arms out, being all like:
OMG I HAVE ANOTHER ARM!? DID YOU GUYS KNOW I HAD THIS ARM?
OMG AND THERE’S ANOTHER ONE! AND WAIT THEY ALL JUST KEEP GETTING BIGGER!
OMG GUYS, DOES MY OCTOPUS BUTT LOOK GOOD IN THESE JEANS?
(Wait, does an octopus have a butt?)
All my dates – those poor unconsenting souls – were like little mirrors that showed me all these arms and tentacles and reach that I didn’t even know I had. (Like when a truck is so big it needs those little mirrors to know how big it is and just where it is in space.) I got kinda addicted to all the little mirrors because it was exhilarating learning how big I really was.
My friends called that my Summer of Love. I just kept on unfurling and unfurling, not wanting to get smaller all over again. I was so happy I felt downright sparkly!
But right at the tail end of the Summer of Love, me and my sparkles fell in love goddamnit – head over octopi arms in love. And slurrrrrrpppp – in I rolled my unfurled limbs and in I rolled my unfurled self, and bit by bit, the re-furling and re-capsuling began. (See, I promised in my first post that I’d give you lots of mixed metaphors, and I DELIVER, People.)
Which is why it was a cruel irony that one reason the guy I call Tornado left me is because he felt I’d made my life and self too much about him.
Okay. So you were right, Tornado. Still a Jerk, but correct on that one thing.
Point is, to circle my octopi arms all the way back around to my point (wait, did I have a real point or just a bag o’ mixed metaphors?)… I feel a new Summer of Love coming on. Maybe this time though, I will remember I am kinda claustrophobic and don’t like tiny capsules. Maybe this time y’all can help me remember. And maybe when the “tragedy” of my life became just a little bit funny to me – when the mucusy snorts turned from cry-snorts to laugh-snorts – is when I remembered my mojo. Like, Ohhhhh yeah! I AM A BAD A$$ SPONGE ANIMAL. Stand back, all you tiny capsules and capsulators, and HEAR ME ROAR.
(Wait, do octopi roar? Do sponge animals? #mixedmetaphorsarefun)
No matter, this is me, roaring.