Good Days and Bad

Today was a bad day. Well, in all honesty, that’s a bit of an oversimplification. I loved today for all of it’s today-ness, all of it’s being alive and breathing the air and tasting food and having friends. I loved it for having work to do and meeting challenges and having laughter. I loved it for waking up this morning and for going to bed shortly after I get these thoughts off of my mind. Normally, this would be a good day, as most days are. What I’m learning about myself is that I have an overwhelmingly instinctual desire to end every day with a completed equation. This equation looks a little something like adding the good, subtracting the bad, and ending with a nice positive number. In this way I package up each of my waking hours into a play in 2 acts, broken up by lunch, ending with my eyelid curtains closing to internal applause for a job well done. I suppose I have always been a glass half full kind of guy – but I see myself allowing that to change in subtle and beautifully grounding ways. In the new balance of my equation I think I am being more realistic about the variables, more exacting in my calculations, and ultimately more sincere about my overall progress.

That coffee spilling on the notebook, previously laughable, now allowed to be a nuisance.
That person, driving their car whilst putting on makeup, singing Miley Cyrus and hesitating at a green light, deserves a gentle horn tap to nudge them on their way.
Those people, inhumanely treated in third-world countries to produce raw materials for our overly excessive want-driven societies makes me fucking angry.

While these things may sound petty to you, they are huge milestones for me. I don’t know if it’s a general byproduct of a conservative southern upbringing, or something that was borne out of my own personal childhood experiences, but for some reason I never got irked, never honked the horn, and certainly never swore. Everything was tamed and processed, goodness was culled from the bad, and anger was deftly filtered through the machinations of my well-trained mind. To say I was being Zen about everything would be a mistake. It was all about control. If I control my responses to external stimuli, I thought, I control me. If I control me, I controlĀ my world. I was the CEO, the accountant, and the janitor. If you don’t have anyone else in your operation, you don’t have to worry about someone stealing paperclips. You don’t have to worry about being hurt.

But, that philosophy was flawed. It made me respond to life traumas with a smile, a nod, and a pretty story packaged up with a bow. It failed to acknowledge the severe pain that was carried on the back of some of my life lessons. Life is dirty and grimy. It is mountains and valleys, laughter and tears. It is careless words yelled in anger, met with apologies and forgiveness. The very act of withholding from the natural knee-jerk reaction of frustration built a wall between my head and my heart. In this place, the cerebral and logical climate of minimizing, I grew into someone who saw every circumstance as a lesson, every heartbreak a well-typed chapter in some future novel of sentiment.

While I don’t condone lashing out, or being unkind, I do recognize that there is room for a little realness in my existence. There is room for me to be a regular human who makes mistakes, small and large. There is room for growth. There is room for love if I let down the walls. There is room for friendships and family. There is unconditional love, but you have to live in truth to receive it.

Today I still struggle, but I’m making progress. I’m starting to remove foggy lenses and dirty filters from my personal awareness, and starting to speak with a voice that is full and unhindered. Life is a variety of colors, with their endless hues and shades; the bright red of anger, the still and calming blue of serenity, the brilliant white of shared joy, and the dark browns of sadness. With these colors, and the limitless space to explore them on the canvas, I hope to paint my picture. With these thoughts I hope to live my life in truth.