I bought myself a plant after work today. A beautiful green and pink and leafy thing.
Plants are having a moment in my life right now. They have a way of making a home of a place. Not to mention they suck toxins right out of the air. Which is to say, superpowers.
So just after work I purchased a lovely, leafy plant and toted it across the whole of central park south. And that short walk was long enough, and cold enough, to kill it.
I’m hopeful that it might yet come back to life. I mean, not too terribly hopeful, but hopeful enough. The pink is gone and the leaves, cold to the touch, have folded in on themselves, but things are cyclical--plants, especially. And I’m willing to invest a little a bit of time to see how this plays out. And to practice hope, even when it doesn’t feel reasonable. Or rational.
I am investing in radical self-love right now.
Which is what the plant was all about.
Remembering that occasionally, I’m the idiot, in the dead of winter, toting a plant across the belly of New York.
Even if it kills the plant. Even if it kills me.
Because things are cyclical--life, especially.
It took me a very many years to untangle the mess of all the many things I felt. A giant ball of yarn. A thousand small threads that I called one thing.
And now a spade is a spade.
Sadness is a thing. But happiness, too.
The latter shaped almost entirely by the former.
Which is a nearly impossible thing to try and explain to someone who hasn’t lived through it.
There’s a quote that I’ve been searching for for months--MONTHS, I tell you. Something like, only the nearly-drowned-man can understand the person who stands on the shore laughing just because there’s air in his lungs.
I have bastardized these words. Someone else said them much better, and to much greater effect, but as I can’t find them, I offer up my poorer version.
When I was living in that shoebox of an apartment in Greenwich Village there was a night when I turned to the girl I was living with and read her a set of words, not my own, and she looked at me, head half turned, and said, But what do they mean? And in that moment I knew we’d never be friends, not really. Because we spoke different languages. A before and an after of words.
I long ago gave up wondering what words mean. I’ll wonder about gestures and events and the idiosyncrasies of almost anything, but never words. Far more concerned, as I am, with what they feel like.
You can’t explain suffering someone to someone. You cannot tell them of the beauty that exists inside of that very dark place. You can only wrestle with the warring feelings of not wanting a person fail, and knowing that they need to.
Plants die and they come back to life.
And hope in the face of ridiculous things is important. Even if it is absurd.
Sadness is a part of my life. Because it needs to be. Because it is important and good and telling. Because it shapes who I am.
Because it is one hell of an educator.
And it reminds me to buy the plants and hang the banner and sit in the tub with the mud mask smeared thick on my face.
Because sadness rears its head and says, fight for yourself, motherfucker. And I know enough now to listen.