“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald
Miltenberg, Germany. December 2011
Soulmates: we are socialized to believe a big part of our lives should be dedicated to the search of our soulmate. That one person we were separated at birth from. That one person that we will spend the rest of our lives with because no one else has the ability to understand us as they do.
However, I have learned that you don’t search for a soulmate. Instead, they come to you when you most need them and least expect them. And they are not, at least in most cases, meant to stay around for very long. Just long enough.
Long enough, as Elizabeth Gilbert would say, “to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life.”
I am a very spiritual person and therefore believe in the existence of a higher power. You can call it God, Allah, Buddha, the Universe (or Electricity as my high school Spanish lit. teacher would say). I strongly believe these soulmates are all messengers of a higher power that come into your life just at the right moment.
the lady that reminded you of your mom and helped you pick a nice pair of shoes at Norsdtrom one day when your world was so cloudy that even deciding on flats over platform heels seemed overwhelming;
the high school classmate who confessed he always wanted to date you and a decade later still finds you beautiful right when you were thinking how undesirable and unattractive you were;
the acquaintance from abroad who gave you company when your insomnia kept you awake and taught you that letting go a little and going for an adventure really isn’t that bad;
the college student in your standardized test prep-course, who barely knows you, yet gave you the sweetest, unsolicited piece of advice when you were questioning whether or not to finish that course;
and finally, the lover who unintentionally gave you the push and confidence you needed to embark on a a long overdue venture that will transform your life .
“Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” — Muhammad Ali
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring” -Marilyn Monroe
“All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” – George Orwell
Writing is therapeutic.
At least for me, it’s a way to let go of demons and feelings that haunt me. It forces me to analyze a situation and find somewhat of a conclusion to what I currently face. It’s a form of release, letting go, articulating what I feel and just moving on.
Other times, it’s a form of showing appreciation towards someone meaningful. It’s my way of letting them know that they’ve made such an impact in my life, I was actually inspired to create a piece of literature.
Writing is then a liberating, violent, passionate, beautiful activity.
But, what happens when after going through the whirlwind of emotions that usually precede a piece of writing — the tears, the cigarettes, the bottles of whiskey, the glasses of cheap wine that helped you dig deep into yourself, looking for words to describe your Utopia, the cloud you’re currently living on (or the absolute hell your burning yourself in) — you can’t share in any way what you’ve written?
When you can’t make it publicly available on your blog?
When you can’t even share it privately with whomever inspired you to write it in the first place? (Because you KNOW they won’t understand the complexities of your writer mind, the need to put feelings into words, the desire to make a few moments often considered mundane, perennial. Because, perhaps they won’t understand why there are any feelings at all).
What happens then?
I guess you wait for the right time. You open another bottle of cheap, organic wine and you wait. You switch from wine to whiskey and soda. You light up a cigarette, even though it does no good to you, even though you’ll probably end up inconveniencing them with an asthma attack tomorrow. You go back to the bottle of whiskey. This time you omit the soda and just hit it on the rocks.
You wait for that time when publishing perhaps the most honest and passionate piece of writing you’ve ever created will not affect either one of the parties involved. You actually care more about the other person’s interests than you do about your own. You’ve already bared yourself on a piece of paper. You already lay there naked, so what difference does it make for you?
This is not about fear, but about protecting the non-writer in your life. You’re waiting for the right time – that precise moment when publishing your story won’t affect the other party involved. When the circumstances that hold you back from making it public today are no longer relevant.
Because us writers have immunity in this crazy, hard to understand literary world. But the civilians we share our lives with don’t.
P.S. I have no patience. I’ll open another bottle of wine and wait because I still respect you. Tomorrow, I’ll turn to whiskey. And to your utter disappointment, there will be cigarettes every night until the day I’m able to publish our story.
I’ve been following Hugh MacLeod’s work for a couple of years now. Today’s cartoon is pretty on point with the quest for happiness. Thought I’d share with everyone. Visit his online gallery for more witty and sometimes cynical cartoons.
La vida es una torre de experiencias sostenida por el tiempo. Maldito el tiempo que traiciona.
Welcome to your 26th year of life.
One day, very soon, as you are on your way to a job interview wearing pearl earrings and a corporate suit, you will look at yourself in the mirror and say: “Shit, I’m a grown woman”.
You will proceed to wear hip jeans and a pair of converse sneakers on the weekend (when you can get out of your grown-up woman’s attire), because it was scary to see yourself as a grown woman in the mirror that one day.
And, you will remember that post, Tener Miedo by Ismael Serrano, one of your favorite songwriters, that you forwarded to me the other day.
You will read it again, finding comfort in his words and understanding what the fear you felt in front of the mirror that day was all about.
Because fear is like a heart monitor that beeps with every heartbeat, thus indicating we are indeed alive. Living and desperate to find out how the chapters of the rest of our lives will read.
Happy Birthday, my friend.