I have been thinking so much of life—at least so much of my life—just is.

So much seems impossible or at least incongruous. I want a reason it happened. I want an explanation. There’s no real explanation. Not a grand one anyway. There are particular explanations for particular events, but nothing to explain the overarching run of things.

Maybe God has some grand plan for my life, but I am not a Calvinist. I don’t believe in predestination. The wheat is just growing among the weeds, and my dad is certainly a weed. Even if God does have a grand plan, I don’t know what it is.

My life just is.

I was born to a psychopathic father who tortured me and a very mentally ill mother who assaulted me and I was raised in a cultish religion and ritually abused at home. I was trafficked for sex by the Russian mob and a trafficked girl took care of me and became everything to me and then she was murdered in front of me

These things happened, and it’s up to me to decide what to do with them now.

I have been thinking for the last few days that a major undercurrent in most world religions is the idea that we are happy when we make the best of things. Islam says submit, Buddhism says let things flow, Christianity says welcome God’s will. But these things seem to me to be the same.

Figure out how to make life good anyway. Stop fighting to make things into something they can’t be made into, and figure out how to make what is good.

It’s the serenity prayer, or one half of it, translated into various cultures.

It involves effort, doesn’t it? Making what is into something good can’t be a passive process, not unless the sun is always shining on you and roses bloom where you step. I think it isn’t.

You have to be able see what’s good in your life even if many things are not good, you have to be able to see those things that aren’t good that can be tweaked or changed or totally transformed, and you have to grieve for the things that aren’t good and yet you can’t change them.

The last one is probably the hardest, but you can’t accept what isn’t good if you shove your feelings about it in a box. Those feelings need to see the light of day. You must see those feelings. You must be nice to them. You must, in a sense, kill them with kindness. And only then will they let you go.

I no want Nata be dead.

Okay, here’s the earring. Rub that for a while. Here’s a warm blanket. Here’s a hot water bottle. Here’s the song you like. Here’s all the comfort I know how to give.

I can’t make Nata live again, but I can be nice about the fact that every part of me wishes she weren’t dead and every part of me is sad.

I used to imagine “making the best of it” as a brutal kind of thing, like grabbing a small, weepy child by the chin and forcing her to look at something good—a flower or a butterfly—and then saying, “Life is good. Now shut up and quit whining.”

No, it’s not. It’s those three things I said. They are all active processes, they must be done gently, and they involve a certain amount of whining along the way.


2 thoughts on “Is

  1. Ellen March 7, 2015 / 9:35 pm

    Seems like a really good way of looking at it. I smiled at the forced optimism bit – I used to do that as well – that’s kind of what the self-help stuff tells you to do – cut off the pain and focus on the good. Possible, but it doesn’t help for long.

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