that’s how the whole thing starts. it’s a long, slow, beautiful dance…to the beat of a heart.
Reminder to self: take a break from all the thinking, rationalizing, negotiating cognitive dissonance…and just breathe. After a strenuous week of work and classes, I realized I was due for some serious relaxation this past weekend. I meant to update sooner, but my reserve of energy is running low. Midterms are over, and I did better than I had expected. I’m pleased with the work that I put into the first half of the quarter, although my lack of attendance has hindered me.
It seems like I only have a few days to breathe before finals start. The quarter system really is stressful in that respect. Extra exam periods. While I have to say that I feel more secure about myself in terms of self-awareness, appearance, and general satisfaction right now than I have in a long time, I am more puzzled about the direction my life is taking than I ever imagined I would be so far into college.
It’s strange… I’ll have these moments of clarity and the overwhelming sense that – this is right, this is what I am supposed to be doing. But then I start overanalyzing things to the point where I can’t even recognize where my train of thought started. There are surprising things that I have felt compelled to do as of late.
Things that feel right because they seem to be coming from a more unselfish place, which is something I definitely need to pursue because I see myself slipping into egoism lately… but some of them are risky.. .one specifically–dangerous to my health, and I know it will be easy to lose sight of what is important.
I’ve started to mention things in snippets to some of my close friends, but have not been able to talk through things in detail with anyone. Not because they wouldn’t listen, but due to my own hesitation and self-monitoring because of the understanding that I can’t ask anyone else to make decisions for me.
Maybe it’s the fact that we are reading the Gospels in my writing to change the world class and I am being reminded of the strong faith I used to have in the church, but I have been thinking a lot about fate or serendipity, predestination, however you would choose to name it.
Are we destined for something… how much of our lives are designed, in that–if we make a decision and it has an undesirable outcome for you, but helps others– was that maybe what you were meant to do? Or, if we make a decision to protect ourselves from risk, and by doing so don’t bring that fulfillment to others–are we really able to avoid the misfortune that we were trying to prevent? I don’t think anyone (living) could answer that…which leads me to believe that we have to do what our hearts tell us to, no matter what the cost. There are no guarantees, and so you might as well do all that you can…make as much of a difference as possible, while you have the chance–and hope for the best.
Speaking of making a difference…
I had the privilege of seeing a superb, but heartbreaking documentary directed by Cynthia Wade, entitled “Freeheld” this weekend. The documentary chronicles the last few weeks of Laurel Hester, a lesbian police detective who was diagnosed with lung and brain cancer. After years of fighting to protect her community, her request to have her hard-earned pension granted to her partner, Stacie, was denied by the Freeholders of her county. The story of these two women is amazing in itself, but the way that Cynthia Wade was able to tell it through her documentary is to be commended. She tackles issues that most people don’t even have the capacity to think about unless confronted with them personally. Death, unconditional love, discrimination, injustice, hate…the story embodies these issues so completely, and demonstrates how inextricable they are to each other– that it’s impossible to decide what is the most significant. On one hand, it is a sweeping and moving tale of political activism and a fight for justice. But then, at the film’s core, it’s a beautiful, poignant, inspiring love story of how much people are willing to sacrifice for their lover. Even though it broke my heart to see the tragedy and sadness this couple was forced to endure…it made me feel so envious of them because they shared that kind of love.
Most of us take for granted that we are not in life and death situations, that the biggest obstacles to our relationship are usually contrived in our own heads or through miscommunication. Laurel and Stacie went through unimaginable pain not only in Laurel’s illness, but the added dehumanizing way they were treated by their community’s governing officials because of their orientation. How many of us can say that our partners would fight for us with that kind of determination? Who would stand by us as we went through the horrific physical transformations leading up to our inevitable death? Facing the prospect of bankruptcy and losing their homes…
I was speechless.
After the speechlesness subsided, I was left with feelings of anger (towards the freeholders and all likeminded homophobic and bigoted people), remorse (for not doing my share to fight for the Laurels and Stacies of our country), sadness (understandably), and yearning.
I was left wondering if I would ever be lucky enough to share my life with someone who loved me with such unwavering conviction. I grew up believing in fairy tales, but now all of that has been dismantled. I’m not waiting for a white knight or prince to ride me off into the sunset…in a pumpkin-turned carriage. I want someone who I know not only would fight for me til the end, but who I would have the same desire to fight for if the situation was reversed. Someone to hold onto if I was so ill that I couldn’t even recognize myself, who would remind me that I was still the woman they fell in love with. Sometimes love seems so selfish. It becomes all about “I”..I need this from my partner, I want this from my relationship…I am unhappy when these conditions are not met. And then I get it..that’s not love. Or maybe, a backwards self-love…but that’s not the love that I want for myself, and that’s not the person I want to be in love.
Happy Tuesday, everyone. Don’t forget to check out Freeheld. It’s screening again in Chicago on November 8–I’m planning to go again if anyone wants to join me.