“It’s not working. I try and I try and I try. But it’s no good. My heart gets broken. It never lasts. It never, ever lasts.”
You’re so right, lover. Of course you are. It never lasts. Things break. They fall apart.
People love us and then don’t love us anymore. We have something beautiful and then it is gone.
There are endings and endings and endings. More endings than all the beginnings in the world.
Cynicism is the easy choice. Protective. Sensible, even. Build yourself a safe little box and seat yourself inside it. Shut the door. Do what you’ve always done.
Say what you’ve always said. Slide the deadbolt across and only open it for people you already trust. Haunt only the familiar places. Do not venture into the vast unknown.
You could do just that. So many of us do.
Or you could do the exact opposite…
The entirely unwise, and utterly reckless thing. The bold and audacious choice that makes heart pound and stomach butterfly. The one thing that makes absolutely no sense. You could smash the boxes. Burn the labels. Step outside into the light, throw your arms wide, and lift your face to the sky.
You can vow to write a different story.
Look at me, love. Let me cup your chin and tip your face so that your eyes meet mine. Listen to me now; this is important.
The stories that will define you are not done being written.
It is good to become sure of who we are and what we do and how things go. But that very certainty that makes things feel solid and sure can cause us to miss out entirely on who and what and how we might become.
I’ll always… I’ll never… It will…It won’t… I can’t-I can’t-I can’t.
Those are momentary truths. They might even be the ending of a chapter. They might be the wisest things you ever say. But they are not the end. Your story is always in progress.
You can copy and paste the first 30 chapters of your life and use them to fill in the empty pages ahead. Sigh a sigh of relief and climb back into that dark and familiar little box.
Or you can do the bravest, most foolish and foolhardy thing in the world. You can turn the page, look at the stark whiteness before you and just sit with it for a bit.
It takes courage to be a blank slate. To start clean. To refuse the desire to fill in those empty pages as quickly as possible, with familiar words and characters and plots.
But do me a favor, dear one. Take a breath. Take air into the unfathomable depths of your soul, right down to your core.
Now let it out. Exhale with the unceasing sound of the ocean. Release old scripts. Say goodbye to characters who have served their purpose. Reject plots that keep you playing small.
Here’s the tricky part: You must let those pages stay empty long enough to fully come awake.
Empty is the most profound discomfort, bottomless and deep. It will make you antsy. Leave you feeling naked and searching for cover. But empty can also be the one thing that releases you to freefall long enough to locate your solid ground. Awake, naked and uncomfortably grounded is where it all begins.
Have you made it to the bottom? Good. Now just sit there. Look around at the brilliance and beauty. Feel every tingling cell in your entire being. Notice the potential in the air. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Breathe it all in. Let life fill you up.
And then begin.
When you are fully ready, you will write your own story. Write it with heart and soul and grace, the way only you can.
So fill the pages, love. With fountain pen and broken crayons and bright orange marker. Add some glitter and glue.
Shamelessly steal from those who inspire you and then use your own inimitable magic to mold their words into something entirely new. Give yourself permission to scrawl across the pages, relish the messiness of not knowing what comes next.
Nobody writes in this book but you. It is all yours. You are author and editor and publisher of your own biography.
You always were, you just needed a reminder.
And damn, you know exactly how to write the epic poem that is your life. You’re the only one who ever could. You just had to trust yourself to do it.
Try everything. Say yes over and over. If nobody asks a question that makes you want to say yes, make up your own. And then make up the answer. Dream twenty different answers and choose a new one every day until you find the one that fits.
The answer that makes spirit burn with creative fire. The answer that makes toes tingle and breath catch. The answer meant only for you.
Write them all down. The mistakes and the blessings and the places you cracked in two. Write the prayers and the tantrums. The sacred and the profane. The open roads and the closed doors. Nothing is permanent.
Erase what does not fit. Cross it out. Write on top of the lines that no longer serve, fifty times over if you want. The real story will always be legible to your valiant heart.
And there will still be endings. Even the most brilliant and true eventually encounter the end. Writing these endings will be impossibly difficult. Your jaded cynic will peek her head out of that safe little box and try to take command.
But behind that weary skeptic lives a hopelessly idealistic heart. I know this. You know it.
And that hopelessly idealistic heart knows well that this world is a most holy wonder. All of it. Every day.
Life is a constant phoenix rising. The rebirth from ashes only comes after the annihilation of what came before. This annihilation is both ending and beginning. It is heartache and brilliance. It is fuck-ups and bliss. And it is all yours for the writing.
Let yourself be annihilated. Rise from the ashes. Be born and die and born again. Celebrate the blood and guts and gore of it all. It’s the stuff great stories are made of.
So go ahead, write yours.