Insomnia and Ichiban

It’s 2:23 AM and there’s no slumber on the horizon.

I’ve been talking a lot about brokenness lately, and in doing that I’ve discovered something that makes this whole situation less daunting. I’ve discovered that there are perks to being broken. One of these perks is that we have the truly incredible opportunity to completely reconstruct ourselves into something new and extraordinary. After all, if we have nothing left to lose, what is there to stop us from grasping what it is that we truly long for?

I’m not saying that this discovery is going to make it hurt less. Oh, no. I know that it’s a dull ache that courses through our veins and rushes through every muscle and makes our knees buckle, takes the air from our lungs. It sits in our minds and fucks with us when it is most inconvenient, like in the grocery store parking lot or a friend’s bridal brunch. It rings in our ears like a fire alarm that some delinquent kid named Adam pulled, just for kicks. There’s no real emergency, because the fire’s already burned itself out. There can be no more flame if we have already turned to ash.

I know it’s sort of odd to compare ourselves to a building, but let’s imagine this, just for a second, okay? I want to know, now that your whole life is scattered on the ground, being carried on a breeze, did you like the vessel you were living in? Was it the home you’d always dreamed of? Was your floor plan open and spacious, was there light spilling in? Did you like the furniture? Was the foundation sturdy enough for dreams to flourish and warm memories to linger? What about the people inside of the building? Did they contribute to the hard work that comes with maintaining a peaceful environment? Did they plant flowers, clean the windows, paint your walls in pretty pastels? Did they lay on the floor with you and laugh, their clothes saturated with water and dish soap after an impromptu chore war?

If the answer is yes, then you already know what it is that you long for. If you can shout “Absolutely!” to every one of those questions, you know what is possible, and if you should choose to do so, you can lay the bricks one at a time until your foundation is as strong as it ever was. The building will not look quite the same, but there will be no denying that what you’ve built is strong, significant, and beautiful.

But if you are honest with yourself and know that the ashes on the ground are only reminders of a life you were living, but not choosing, if the home was dilapidated, dusty, and dark, maybe it’s better this way. Maybe it’s better because today you can stand at the edge of the property of what used to be and know that there is nothing left to cling to. Maybe it’s better because the people moving through your doors were only marking your floors and making a mess on top of a mess. Though it is a bitter freedom, it is freedom all the same. Grieve as long as you need to, but promise yourself that when you are finished, you will take a deep breath, one last glance at the remnants of your broken spirit and walk away. And as you’re walking away, decide that you are going to rebuild. Decide that you are going to rebuild in a brand new neighborhood surrounded by meadows. Or next to a set of tracks so that you can hear the train whistle through the night. Or in a high rise above the bustle of a city. Rebuild in whatever environment offers you peace and serenity. Paint your walls in calming, neutral tones. Or Pepto Bismol pink. Put windows everywhere to let the light spill in from every angle, and then put curtains up for those times when you just want to sit with the darkness. Whatever you do, don’t cheat yourself, because this is your chance. This is your soul. This is your opportunity to create yourself in a way that you can truly live with.

The reality of the situation is that our lives are going to fall apart many times between now and the grave. We are going to be demolished and reconstructed over and over, and every time we will look different. We will feel different. We will BE different. We do not play this life with marked cards, and that is unfortunate, but it’s also part of the fun, isn’t it?  Yes, there are Octobers, but there are also Mays. There is war, but there’s also a group of people a table over laughing and arguing about who is going to take care of the bill. There is death, but there is also life that replenishes itself over and over in a very natural, gradual way.

So, now that we’ve imagined our endings as beginnings, let’s start building, shall we? You can always find me here, on Facebook or Twitter. Let’s create together.

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