I think that maybe it’s time we look at life from a different angle. An opposite perspective.
I think it’s safe to say a lot of people are afraid of the cliche “calm before the storm.” They’re afraid that when life is going so incredibly right, something bad must be lurking just beyond the horizon. Convinced that at some point, sooner rather than later, the other shoe is in fact going to drop. Hard. And I used to be that person. I used to think that when everything was going just how I had planned it out in my head, fate must be about to swoop in. And maybe in nature that is the case. Maybe the pressure of the atmosphere is usually steady and predictable right before a big storm. I don’t know I’m not a meteorologist. I am a human being though, and I know that for me, living in the shadow of this looming doom is anything but a calm at all.
I think there is more of a simplistic, genuine vibe to one’s life after a huge storm hits. After you’re ripped apart at the seams, rather than in the coming days before. I think it’s pure ignorance that people feel stable before life dramatically shifts. I don’t think there’s anything comfortable or calming going on right before a plug is pulled, so to speak. At least, there wasn’t for me. I felt shifty, and scared, and out of sync before every shitty situation that has come to light. & as horrifying of an experience as an unwanted change can be, I think the rawest and most honest form of human existence occurs not when you’re comfortable & steady, but instead when you’re shook up and alone. When you have no reason to shape yourself around another person or situation, you’re able to just be the person you truly are. When you aren’t trying to outrun fate (a childish game, I might add), you give your life a chance to catch you. When you’re able to stop the facade you were upholding in fear of losing all you’d created, you finally start living your happily ever after.
Instead of planning and plotting every moment of your life well in advance to allow for conversation and compromise, you’re able to make split decisions about anything you want. You’re able to curl up with your cat in a dimly lit room in your favorite TShirt without any pants and listen to Taylor Swift for 3 hours. You’re able to spend all night at the gym, & know nobody is waiting on you at home. (it’s freeing). You can eat a cup of ice cream and 2 cookies without fear of judgment from the Paleo police. (sometimes you even do it while you’re crying). You can copy and paste and re-read sixty or maybe six hundred quotes in one day and nobody is there to make you feel like words are pointless or stupid. You can go for an hour long drive to nowhere after work with the radio so loud your ears are slightly ringing when you finally park & turn off the car, and nobody bitches at you about what a waste of gas it was. You can blow dry your hair at any Goddamn hour your choose. You can watch pointless TV shows about dancing and drama, and nobody is there to make you feel guilty about it.
When you think you’ve lost everything, stop and look around at all you’re left with. I used to have a hard time with this because I’d always been somebody who puts everything I have into the happiness of another human being. My happiness depended on you. But when there isn’t a you around, I’m forced to make my own happiness. I’m forced to find ways to occupy my own time. To finally figure out who I am without all of yous.
And what I’m hesitant to admit (in fear of jinxing myself) is that I’m learning I like it. I like creating myself. Making my own decisions without fear of who they might effect. More often than not, I’m finding I feel most at ease when I’m left to my own devices. When there’s nobody for me to answer to, when I can do all of the things I outlined above (and more) the calm — it’s there.
I don’t know what that means necessarily. I don’t know if it means I’m selfish, or I’m scared, or maybe that I’m crazy and destined to forever be alone. But I’ll tell you what I think. I think that this calm that arises after the storm, it’s really been there all along; maybe buried beneath the winds of everybody elses storms. I think the harmony I feel falling into place all around me is this ability to finally be myself. It’s me finally saying to Hell with my past and the person I thought I should be; and hello to who I really am. And as scary as it is to start all over, it’s also incredible. Because I now know that the next time something, or someone, comes along I will be ready it. I won’t be dependent, or needy. I won’t be begging for acceptance or attention or assurance at all. I won’t be looking for a situation to provide me anything. And that will be perfect.
Trust your struggle, it is how you’ll find your strength. And ultimately, yourself. (and maybe your other half, if you’re lucky).
P.S. “There is something about intense pain that puts everything into perspective.”