buckle up

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“Ladies and gentlemen, please make sure your ass is in the chair and you buckle up.  Put out your damn cigarettes and turn off your cellphone. Because you have no idea what kind of ride you’re in for,” so says the woman’s voice coming from the crackly open loudspeaker in my mind. Or maybe she’s from a dream. I’ve had a lot of weird dreams lately. Including one where a close friend was getting married to a person so tall you couldn’t see their face and they were having their ceremony in my grandmother’s backyard which was actually the first Mexican restaurant I worked at in LA. Anyway, wherever the voice came from, she is definitely telling the truth.

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Twists, turns and loops. I’ve felt them all over the last few weeks. The things I had mapped out or knew the answers to have morphed into something bigger or more amazing or have painlessly fallen to the wayside. Most remarkably, I’m open to it. All of it. These thrill rides usually go down like this: first I get afraid, then I get crazy, then I let go and put my hands in the air and enjoy the ride. And that is certainly going on but it also feels like my perspective is different. Like I wound up in a strange, unrecognizable place and I was just okay with it.

alice-talking-flowersWhile we can, thankfully, rule out psychotropic drugs or falling down a rabbit hole, I’m not really sure what this change can be attributed to. Not to beat the metaphor to death but I feel at peace and protected even when I’m about to fly out of my seat as the ride turns upside down. My desire to fight everything is dissipating too. I am grateful for this because by nature I am one fightin’ bitch. The struggle to be on top or to be right doesn’t excite me right now. This is not to say the sun is shining out of my behind and I’m dancing around without a care. But today I’ve leaned into them and surrendered to something bigger.

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This is all swirling in my mind currently because on Tuesday, with bills to pay, deadlines to meet and obligations I didnt know how I was going to fufill, I walked down the street smiling. I felt ridiculously happy. This wasn’t Oz or Wonderland. It was just my normally complicated life with potholes and fuck-ups aplenty. But it felt like magic and something I was blessed to experience. Terrific.  I’m rolling with that, buckling up and appreciating the ride for exactly what it is.

The Things I Cannot Change

“Acceptance,” he said “seems like a great topic for today.” Insert the inner eye rolling and deep annoyed sighing from your’s truly. My response is primarily due to the fact the every freaking meeting I go to lately someone wants to talk about acceptance. I’m not sure why. I mean I couldn’t accept life so I drank to make it more acceptable. Moving on! And yet everybody has a list of things they have trouble accepting and they of course want to share about them. In short, I’m having a hard time accepting acceptance.

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Listen, I can accept a lot of things. I can accept that I’m an alcoholic and addict in recovery. I can accept that I won’t ever be a 6’2 olive-skinned matinée idol. I can accept a political system that I don’t agree with. I can accept that I am HIV+. I can (begrudgingly) accept that I am 40-years-old. I can accept that everything that’s happened up to this point has had a purpose and has played a part in shaping my life today. But other people? Well that’s when my ninja-like acceptance powers falter. In the serenity prayer, we pray for to accept the things we cannot change. Most of the time, I take the ‘things’ in question to mean the assholes who won’t do exactly what I want them to. They’d be so much happier if they just lived their lives in like I think they should. People,right ahead of volcanic rocks and our collective obsession with redneck reality television shows, are certainly things I cannot change. I was told not long ago that Sagittarius is the most controlling sign on the planet and considered to be bossy and unreasonable in the worse case scenarios. I wish I could say “That’s a boldface lie!” but judging by myself and my crazy controlling ass, its pretty much true.  From the way you mash potatoes to the people you date, I can almost guarantee that you are doing it all wrong and that I have a better way. Obviously this is not a pretty quality in a person so naturally this topic of acceptance keeps surfacing for a reason.

Accepting and loving people for who they are instead of beating the crap out of them for who they can never be is the real secret ninja power here. Being married helps me get better at it though. Working as a playwright in a world where dialogue gets tossed out, scenes get rewritten and actors vanish also helps me improve my acceptance skills. Editors who cut my best jokes, a cat who pukes on my steps, buses that show up late and even meetings where they talk about topics I’m sick of, are all great opportunities to practice this acceptance stuff. I find accepting the things and people and vomiting cats I cannot change gets easier when I love and accept myself too. When I stop and feel grateful for the life I have all the other stuff that isn’t going my way doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. But seriously.  Can we talk about something else for a change?

Inspiration for August 15th: ‘Human Behavior’ by Bjork

they’re terribly moody 
then all of a sudden turn happy
but, oh, to get involved in the exchange
of human emotions is ever so satisfying

Human Behavior, Bjork 1993

Released 19 years ago this summer, ‘Human Behavior’ kicked off a solo music career for Bjork wherein she has often placed her wise , lyrical observations beneath the striking visual and production stylings. Icelandic pixie Bjork might not be everyone’s cup of musical tea but I think most of us can agree with the sentiment behind  the song. Part spooky fairy tale, part thumping dance song, all Bjork, ‘Human Behavior’ both coyly rolls its eyes at and delights in the silly ways people conduct themselves. The sparse but thoughtful lyrics start off with a bang when she opens the song by saying, “If you ever get close to a human and human behaviour, be ready to get confused.” Bjork sings wat we’ve all thought from time to time: people are a pain in the ass and yet that is the very thing is which makes them enjoyable.

We started off the week talking about embracing our monsters so it seems rather fitting our mid-week inspiration has to do with accepting and celebrating others just as they are. This is something I’m practicing a lot lately. Despite my knowing the best possible way for people to live their lives, people continue to do their own thing. How dare they! The bastards! So I enjoy people more if I love them for who they are and not hate them for who they aren’t. I’ll continue that practice today and celebrate all parts of human behavior, including my own. Also, as I write today I’ll keep Bjork’s innovation and creativity in mind and try to come up with my own genius observations on human behavior.