Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The song playing in my head over the past 48 hours has been Sheryl Crow’s “It Don’t Hurt.” She’s all tongue-in-cheek singing about some lover (this was a pre-Lance song) who’s gone, but:

It don’t hurt like it did
I can sing my song again

Even though Sheryl gets to the end of the song and doesn’t really believe what she’s singing (“It don’t hurt like it did/ It hurts worse, who do I kid?”), she’s still singing it. And so am I.

You know that physical signal you get right before you throw up? The one in the back of your throat and in those glands just behind & below each ear, and the way your mouth all of sudden produces this ginormous amount of saliva? I get another signal that’s very similar. It’s like an emotional gag reflex. My stomach feels like it twists 45 degrees counter-clockwise and I feel the sudden urge to clench onto something very tightly (my misshapen keyboard wrist rest, which is made of a wonderfully malleable gel-like substance, can attest to this).

When I get that signal lately, the very first thing I do, after squeezing the wrist rest, of course, is to take a deep breath and then start singing to myself:

It don’t hurt like it did
I can sing my song again

For me, this does something. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a songwriter who’s felt completely blocked and crippled, an puddle of fears and emotions slowly draining into some forgotten spillway, but the possibility of “singing my song again” is one of the few things that holds weight and light in the world anymore. And I’m just choosing to believe that if I say “it don’t hurt” enough, and keep on singing my song, somehow it will come to be.

The Genesis story of creation is based on the idea that something can be spoken into existence, that the only thing preventing something from being is that no one has said it exists. I’m not waxing theological here, and obviously I’m don’t mean that if I just say “Let there be sweet ride to roll upon the earth” then a 2007 Lamborghini MurciĆ©lago LP640 is going to suddenly appear before me, but there is something built into the way this universe works that puts a certain amount of power (with which comes - you guessed it, responsibility) in our hands to believe that something is, or at the very least, can be, even when it currently isn’t. I think somewhere, someone called it faith.

No one sees God without faith. I think this is the same as saying the more one chooses to believe in God, despite the lack of sensory evidence, the more reason one has to believe in God. I think the same goes for what we believe about who we are and how we fit in this world. The more I choose to believe that I’m displaced, forgotten, and unvalued, the more reason I have to believe those things are true. My hope is that it works conversely: the more I choose to believe I have a place, something to give, and friends to share this life with, the more reason I will have to believe those things are true.

So, despite the intermittent onslaught of the emotional gag reflex, it don’t hurt.

My last day on earth

What if this were the last thing I ever wrote? What if I finish this page and tonight, as I ride home from work, my bike is struck by an inattentive vehicle, sending me to some life after this one? Would I want my last piece of communication to be the sorrowful, solemn piece I'm inclined to write on this quiet Monday morning?

I dont think so.

Life feels long, especially when youre in the middle, when youre waiting for something, something that never seems to arrive. But it isn't long. Its just a breath. One breath of God, and the earth has spun around the sun 70 times, and my body has gone from new to old, and everything that mattered so much in July of 2006 is long gone.

Everything comes down to making a conscious decision about whatever is bothering you. You just have to say it, and then do it, even if you don't feel it, even if you don't believe it.

"I'm going to commit to the life of faith, the way of Christ. I'm just going to do it, to live that way, even though it often feels absurd and isolated."

"I'm going to live in San Diego, to be a member of this urban community. I'm just going to do it, to live that way, even though I often wish I were somewhere else."

"I'm going to be the friend I wish I had to the people close to me. I'm just going to do it, to live that way, even though I often feel unnecessary and undervalued by them."

"I'm going to believe that I have something to offer, and I'm going to offer it. I'm just going to do it, to live that way, even though I often feel no one else believes in me."

No more self-pity, no more tears. Just resolution, determination. Creation of the life I wish I had. That's something I'm comfortable with writing, should this be my last day on earth.