I shared meeting Jud,
And how it changed everything
I took you inside,
Illustrating how Blastoff was back then
I drop the final curtain,
Where I am,
“I will have poetry in my life.
And adventure. And love.
Love above all.” -Shakespeare In Love
It is an interesting feeling, having to continue on with normalcy as if everything were still normal. Like being reduced to three limbs from four, or being pried free of your sight, and still having to proceed down a pathway of light. It’s like a head trauma to the heart, except you’re a doctor, and you still have to perform surgery on a patient at noon.
Blastoff has been closed for three months now,
and it has been a journey,
to keep pushing on in this dangerous world,
without a safe space with which to retreat.
In many ways it’s like leaving home to live on your own, and you find out just how very expensive life really is. From groceries, to electricity, to car notes, to rent, to casual drinks (15 bucks a drink??? Really??).
Mom’s homemade food hits differently when you start doing a majority of your own cooking. Life was this really wide open ended thing, but now it has shrunk, bending itself around the tunnel vision you require to keep yourself afloat. In reality, life is still as big and infinite as it ever was. The only difference is now you are more focused, more connected to what matters, because you know there’s no one coming to save you.
In podcast episode 255 of the Robcast, “The Last Guru,” by Rob Bell, featuring Pete Rollins, they enter a fascinating discussion the inherent paradoxes of life and how it’s not a bad thing. In fact, Pete Rollins’ whole assertion is that whoever you deem as your guru is only worth the title if they redirect you into embracing paradox, rather than aid your attempts to abolish it. By taking you into the realness, and revealing there is nothing more inherently special about themselves than about you, they set you on the right track. You become better at life by learning to let opposing things hold space when they have to.
And something Pete Rollins said jumped straight out at me. I had to pull my car over and jot it down in my note app immediately.
“Do not reduce contradiction to opposition.”
Opposition is a thing to be conquered. From the world of superheroes we know this well. Take down the bad guy. Retrieve the treasure. Overthrow the Empire. Whatever it is, do the thing and life will be good again.
Which is totally true.
And totally not true.
Doing the thing can restore life equanimity while at the same time setting in motion things that will eventually knock you off balance. So, what, do you quit? Never try? Let evil have its day? No. You can’t quit, but you can’t stop either. Things are good now, but also bad. You are emotionally healthy, but your heart hurts. You are happy for your friends/family/loved ones, but lonely.
If we reduce contradiction to opposition, we will never move through it, because we’ll always be trying to solve it. But the whole point of contradiction is that it’s unsolvable, because there’s nothing to solve. It’s not this OR that, it’s this AND that.
-Blastoff was my safe place, which I lost
But I also have to establish new safety
-I miss Jud every single day and hate not being able to access him as easily
But I also am ecstatic at his life leap for him and his family
-I love reading comics
But it also still hurts to buy them elsewhere
-Blastoff was where I began my transformation into the person I wanted to be
I still need to be that person, whether Blastoff is here or not
Do you see?
I can’t solve any of these things.
And I would be killing myself if I tried.
I have to accept the opposing forces of each of these things.
It’s how it all works… how we grow.
I didn’t understand this at first. I was too busy trying to shut down, too busy trying not to feel, not explore the sorrow and longing lurking in the pools of my heart. Afraid to revisit memories and relive the joy and euphoria, knowing it will never happen again. In the beginning, I reduced contradiction to opposition and robbed myself of both the ability to heal and the freedom to experience joy. Joy at the moments and all the good times. Joy that, though the page has turned, the story isn’t over.
I learned that when you pinch the hose for sadness, you also cut off the circulation for joy.
In Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly,” she asserts the following.
“Yes we are totally exposed when we are vulnerable. Yes, we are in the torture chamber that we call uncertainty. And, yes we’re taking a huge emotional risk when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
But there’s no equation where taking risks, braving uncertainty, and opening ourselves up to emotional exposure equals weakness.”
In the wake of Blastoff’s farewell, I have had to engage in an extensive process of forgiving myself. You see… I am one prone to emotional attachment. It might take me a minute to warm up, but once someone or something means something to me, they REALLY mean something to me. I don’t do small feelings very well. When I feel… I feel bigly.
And losing both Blastoff and Jud so quickly and without warning had me trying to shut down. Attacking myself.
See? THIS is why we don’t do this!
An emotional over reaction, but a true one (there goes that contradiction again).
I had to walk myself (painfully, with more than a few frustrated nights) through the process of accepting that I didn’t do anything wrong. This is PART of it. When you open yourself up to the good things, you also invite the temporal nature of those things. When you say yes to experiencing life, you surrender the reins of convenience.
And that’s good.
There is health and wholeness in the contradiction.
So where am I now?
Ironically in the midst of an entirely unrelated, very deep heartache. While at the same time celebrating fantastic news regarding one of my dreams that I’ve been working on (announcements coming soon).
Where am I now?
Working at a school doing multiple jobs, one of which is teaching poetry to 4th and 5th graders, while figuring out schooling so I can have my own classroom. I also drive lyft to make ends meet.
Where am I now?
Pulling the trigger on a creative collaboration with my sister that has been ten years in the making (that announcement is coming in a couple months). I’m also working through complex feelings of distance from certain members of my family.
Where am I now?
I have healthy friends who I adore and can share anything with, and join in for adventures. I also feel lonely… a lot.
Where am I now?
I believe in the supremacy of Jesus from academic, religious, and historic perspectives. But most people don’t care because so much damage has been done in his name.
Where am I now?
I turn 30 in two and a half months.
(that’s it, nothing to add there, cuz I can still hardly believe it, lol)
Jud is thriving and I am truly happy for him. Happy for my friend. He is walking into things now that we saw and spoke about years ago.
I am happy for Scott, his co-owner and best friend, who also is doing well.
Where am I now?
Living in the contradictions,
Learning to embrace them,
Even when they hurt me.
I WILL have poetry in my life,
Love above all.
Contradiction is the price.
Even though I lost the safest place I ever knew, and have yet to find another…
I endeavour to be safe a place for everybody else.
“It all just disappears, doesn’t it? Everything you are, gone in a moment, like breath on a mirror. Any moment now, he’s coming. The Doctor and I will always be.But times change and so must I.We all change, when you think about it. We are all different people all through our lives and that’s okay, that’s good. You’ve got to keep moving so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me…”
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Also, check out my first short story anthology “Aces Wild” on Amazon!