I went out shopping with my friend yesterday. I feel like it was exactly what I needed. We looked at dresses, long skirts, sweaters (my Achilles heel, especially my new favorite designer, Vince), and shoes. I came away with a few bags and a beautiful beginning to a summer/fall wardrobe. When I was trying on the different outfits I had this singular impression that I was dressing up a new me. Or, really, an old me that I tucked away. It made me wonder why people begin changing. It also made me wonder at the nature of change. Do we actually mutate into a new self, or do we just perpetually hide portions of ourselves? Is there always some form of manipulation occurring? And if there is, how come there will be times when months, nay years, pass and you do not realize how much you put on the shelf for your significant other until one day you wake up, look in the mirror and question who the hell you are. But then I have just started down another path of existential thought… do we ever know who we are?
It’s raining outside. It has been insanely hot and humid the past two days, almost to the point of oppressive. Actually, I would have to consider today as having oppressive heat. The skyline began to darken around 4:00 PM until thunder and lightning filled the sky. It has that greenish tint that you often see when a massive cell is moving towards you and rotation has every potential of happening and turning vertical. My mom panics in this weather. She has a deep fear of lightning. I remember when I was younger I had similar anxiety, but as I grew older I would look at my dad in the face of a storm, hands behind his back and whistling, taking in the sights and sounds and smells that go with severe weather. He would smile, staring up at the darkening clouds, and remind my sister, my mother, and I that fear is what we make it. I began to appreciate the ominous beauty that storms have. So many poems use the image of rolling clouds to mirror internal strife and struggle, and as clichéd as that image is, there is a reason that it is a frequent in amateur writing. What vivid emotions occur when you hear thunder or see bright flashes of lightning? There is turmoil, but also a sense of excitement.
When I was younger (okay, okay, I still love this movie) I used to watch Twister to the point of warping the VHS copy I had of it. I could quote the movie to you, and there have been times when I have been almost passed out asleep and I can recall, in exact detail, what is going on in the movie (it’s been tested, people). When I begin to ponder the metaphor of facing the storm, or attempting to derive a new image for looking into the eye of the storm, I always come back to this moment from the movie where they are describing why Bill Paxton’s character has the nickname “the Extreme.” He faces the storm, throwing a bottle of Jack Daniel’s into the swirling funnel. I want to have that bravado. I want to define myself and I do not want to put my thoughts and my feelings and my emotions on the shelf.
I do not blame anyone for my transformation. The reality is that we are the masters of our fate. We can either consciously or unconsciously make decisions that affect how we are to people and where we are going on the path. It’s just sad, for me, that I let so much change come. Whenever someone asks me about the lessons I have learned from the past six years my first inclination is to say that I learned that I cannot mold myself into someone I am not. There are behaviors that I do not want to define me, but obviously there is evidence of them existing. One thing Jonathan used to say was that he did not WANT to do something, and I would get so mad at him because I would respond with, “If you do not WANT to, THEN DON’T DO IT!” But the truth was that I did not want to be saying or acting or feeling certain things, but I couldn’t just stop. There has always been a sense of compulsion in my behavior (anyone who has seen me on a french fry binge can attest to this) and though I believe that was part of the reason, I also believe that things had just snapped. My mind no longer wanted to hide certain feelings and I was losing the strength and willingness to face them. In the end, rather than talking about them and resolving them, I let them blow up. In the weeks before our break-up I had more questions about WHO I was and how it related to WHERE I was versus any other thought.
I have watched Lost recently, and there is this moment where the character of John Locke is sitting in the first rain on the island. I remember thinking how symbolic it was, being born again. Water is often times used as a way to show metaphorical cleansing, as well as rebirth into a new life. Maybe this tyrant of a storm is my moment to sit in the rain? The dark clouds billowing about and echoing the chaos within, but when the rain comes down and washes me clean, there is the dewy, sweet smell of a new life. Spring is a perfect time to rediscover. Many animals and plants are budding and fighting to escape the confines winter brought on. Maybe my hibernation is up. I know it is. The more I read, the more I write, the more I work through these mental blocks, the more I realize the type of person I want to become, the person I was, and the vast gulf I have to cover to reach the end destination. I am just lucky to have found supports in some of the most unlikely places, as well as truly open arms. Some times there is nothing better than to know you have someone, even if you don’t want to really talk. It’s like finding peace in the quiet. You know there is something in the relationship and friendship where you can just be with someone without clouding the moments with superficial dialogue.