to break our own rules
I don’t believe in coincidences. I don’t believe in accidents. I believe that things happen for a reason, even if that reason is initially unclear. I believe in doing things that are terrifying, because they are worth it. I believe that love may seem ridiculous or crazy, but if it isn’t, it’s not love. Sometimes, things happen to remind us that no one is really that far away. That we’re all just a turn or a phone call away from people.
Yesterday, a funny thing happened. I left the house later than I intended to hang out with my BFF. On the way, she texted me to say that she was running late. I nearly killed time by stopping at Starbucks, but didn’t. Because of that, I drove right by someone I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. So many small decisions could’ve kept that from happening. For one thing, I’m never late. For another, my BFF is usually great about letting me know she’s running behind. And I love any excuse to have a coffee.
But all those little things intersected, or didn’t, so I’d be on that road exactly when I was on that road. It reminded me of how our choices affect our lives, how one seemingly small thing can set off a chain of events, and how things happen for a reason. Sometimes, things have to fall apart for a while to come back together. (“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” ― Marilyn Monroe) Sometimes, distance is a necessary thing, even if it hard to bear. Sometimes, people need space. In one way or another, everything is a choice. You choose to start up a conversation, or you don’t. You choose to be honest, even when it’s hard, or you don’t. You choose to stop for coffee, or you don’t.
You know, there are times where I do or say the wrong thing. I say too much or too little. I get caught by all the traffic lights. And life gets in the way of fate, if fate is the result of the things we choose. I can be horribly insecure sometimes, especially if I don’t have a good grasp of a situation. I can be selfish and a little be spastic. In short, I’m this Marilyn Monroe quote: “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” The easy days and things are just that: easy. It’s the way we handle our mistakes, our bad days, our flaws and difficulties that really matters. And you know, when someone or something is worth it? The bad days really don’t matter. They barely even tip the scales.
Yesterday, I was on that road. Yesterday, that happened. It was such a small thing, really. Being in the same place as someone else. It made me think a lot about certain things. It raised a lot of questions for me, some I’ve already been struggling with. But it strikes me as important – the idea of being at the same place, at the same time, as someone else. A large part of life comes down to timing. Or, at least, that is what we tell ourselves, isn’t it? Oh, this moment isn’t right. It’s too hard right now. If I ignore it for long enough, it will go away.
Well, bull – meet shit. Because there’s no illuminated moment where all the stars and planets align, making it divine perfection. There’s no such thing as perfection, first of all. Second of all, you don’t WAIT for the right moment. You make it. You seize it. You step up, and take it. To borrow a line from Faith on Buffy, “See. Want. Take.” (Within reason, of course.)
Sometimes, unforeseeable circumstances put you on a road – but most of the time, it’s not fate. It’s a choice. It’s deciding that something or someone is worth it. It’s a timely reminder. It’s a sign. It is whatever you make it out to be. So much of life is what we make it. It’s what we choose to go after. It’s every dream we’ve ever chased or failed to chase. It’s deciding if fear wins out. It’s who we love. It’s what we love. It’s how we honor that. It recognizing that our choices are our own.
It’s being on the road – even if you have to stop and turn around. It’s making the effort. It’s not running away. It’s not falling apart. It’s being the bravest you possible. It’s a thousand little things that add up to everything.
One of the scariest, most brave things we can do in life is DARE to change. To not let ourselves be boxed in, to be outside the lines – to break our own rules. It can mean quitting your job. It can mean telling someone you love them. It can mean that finally stop putting off that THING you’ve been putting off – and actually do it. There are situations that cannot be fixed, sometimes. No amount of willpower or effort is going to change that. You just have to say enough, this isn’t working. And then find something that does work. Life is too short and too uncertain for your days to be filled with have-tos and musts. It should have passion and wonder in it. It should have laughter, challenges, and too many kisses. It’s important to find people who lift you up, who make you better, instead of drag you down. “Go where you are celebrated, not merely tolerated.” (Paul F. Davis).
“Be with those who help your being.
Don’t sit with indifferent people, whose breath
comes cold out of their mouths.
Not these visible forms, your work is deeper.
A chunk of dirt thrown in the air breaks to pieces.
If you don’t try to fly,
and so break yourself apart,
you will be broken open by death,
when it’s too late for all you could become.
Leaves get yellow. The tree puts out fresh roots
and makes them green.
Why are you so content with a love that turns you yellow?” ~Rumi