It’s Monday. After a tease of a warm weather weekend we woke up to slushy snow. Me? On this Monday? I’ve decided I want to chase elation. I want to stop typing my feelings for the day in my slices and reread after publishing only to find undertones of ache. I cling to quotes like “I think of death so much it feels more like a memory” and “I wanna be emaciated, I wanna hear one song without thinking of you” because they’re beautiful to me. Clever and bone baring. And, I think, I see me in there somewhere.
A friend visited from Northern California a couple weeks ago. I’d met her during, and actually because of, a particularly dark time in my life. In front of my kids, during this visit, she lovingly referred to me as “Emo Eddie” again and again and I flinched each time. Not at the moniker itself but at the implications of having that version of me shown to them. As if I could continue forever pretending they’ve not seen it themselves.
My first thought is to trace things back to before. When I was a carefree kid with crazy, ever changing hairstyles and colors and painted nails. Who, in my head anyways, always had people guessing who I’d take on as a persona that day based on my expansive thrifted wardrobe. Would he be an ironic preppie? A metalhead burnout? A Deadhead hippie? The sporty jock? All looks burnished with copious beaded jewelry and a look-at-me flair. But the more I dig into that time of supposed thirst for joy the more I remember it was walls and armor. That I wrote poetry in dark corners at night and in those moments found my only truth. The hopeless romantic self-flagellator just waiting…for tomorrow, meaning, today. For now, basically.
I do it, actually. I chase elation. Maybe I need to chase something slower? The rapidity of elation seldom keeps me on the cliff from which the chase generally ensues. Even when I catch it there’s a fall. I patch myself up and keep chasing. Off cliffs. Into already bloodied by repeated attempts brick walls with cartoon trick tunnels, sometimes so crudely graffiti’d on there that I KNOW they’re mirage, yet I smash head and heart first in with the trust of a child.
I reread this looking for undertones and see that something in me is proud. Like I’m some character in a play who will surely be finally seen by act 3, and accepted, by someone as a kindred something, all the way into a happily ever after denouement. When I was younger I thought I was so clever and edgy, telling people over and over, “It’s only life” when bad things happened. Now, I think there are much higher stakes. But are there?
I choose to chase elation. I choose to believe in trust and that, eventually, when I fall it will actually be there. I will continue to put effort into my responsibilities and realize that my own happiness is no longer the most important thing in the universe. But I refuse to accept that it’s not important at all. I suppose the thing I need to change is not exactly what I do. I think I need to accept that. But if I’m going to continue parading around with my heart on my sleeve, I just need to stop letting it bleed on others and blaming them for the stains.
“And oh, as I fade away
They’ll all look at me and say
They’ll say, ‘Hey look at him’
‘And where he is these days?’
When life is hard, you have to change”