I have been planning to write this post yesterday, the 29th, so I could sit down and vomit an entire month of painstaking resilience and joy I have never seen happen all at once. Which didn’t happen, because I was so burned out from all the day’s writing and the last thing I ever wanted to do was to sit by my desk and churn out a few more words.
And so, here I am, in the usual end-of-month fashion, sounding like a reporter with bad lines and trying to appear wise. This month has turned me over, around, flipped me upside down, shook me, then dusted me off before shoving me back into the long tunnel I have been walking on, but I’m a better person for it, and here’s how I’d remember this November.
I’d remember this November as the month I thought I had it, as the month I thought I was good enough, and then I wasn’t, because there was never Good, only Better, no End Game, but Pushing On, no Mostest, but Much Improved, and while I graciously suck up all the bloated dreams I had three years before and fold it into something less of a whimsy, I find myself appreciating these last-end blemishes. There is more purpose to this now, thank God, and I am ready to take the consequence once the ball was thrown. I hope some kind glove would catch it, though.
I’d remember this November with the sight of Jonathan walking by the sideways of a hospital with a box for his son. It wasn’t him breaking down that made it a powerful image, but the quiet resilience, for in that moment, he carried the weight of the world in that one box and bore it with sheer silence. That day, they were my heroes. For there is no greater pain than what happened this month, and I am certain, very certain, that Jon and Lyn would become all the better for this. They would carry this grief forever, I am sure, but the load will lighten, and the mourning will turn into a bright memory that they survived the Valley of the Shadow of Death, not with victory but with scars. And these scars will be another’s survival kit.
To Jon, you were courageous. You set your wills and ego aside for your son. That’s what being a true a father is.
And Lyn, for taking this year’s stress over your shoulders, for being a supportive wife and a very capable mom, for finding ways to smile after this unexpected loss, you have my fullest respect and know that we love you.
I’d remember this November with a horror story on a parking lot. Moments when I have started becoming afraid for my parents, thinking, what if they were hurt? What if they were assaulted. None of those things happened, thank goodness. And, despite that small chip of anger, I believe in people’s kindness. I believe in their kindness, but sometimes, it gets clouded by so many cumbersome things that they forget to use it.
I believe that love covers all wounds, and I will always, always love.
I’d remember November as the month I finally saw Bella again after 2015. She has grown so big and the first thing I did was to greet her, then ask, “Do you still remember me?” To which she replied, “No.” And you bet my dollar that I got a complete UGH moment. Until we talked. Until she asked me, “Are you that person I always wanted to talk to on the phone?” And I said, “Yes, that’s me, and I was never there!” Bella told me things, about school, about friends, about bullying, about her Gacha skits and her weird love for girls in ninja suits and two eye colors. I hope she gets friends. I hope she finds her place. I hope she grows strong and stands up for herself without the need for echoing the hurt girls give her.
I’d remember November as the time when I saw Jon and Arthur, who was in almost the same age line as me, get together, and realize that the world we live in grows up with us. There will be a new world growing with the new generation. And it would be completely different. To be honest, it would not be the world I’d want for my child, which is why I don’t have one. So when the curtains fall on me, I’d just tuck in my blanket and sleep away.
Last night, I had an epiphany. When I was younger, I used to think of myself as a Backstage Person. Girl Who Writes In a Corner, Girl Who Runs Behind the Curtain, Girl Who Organizes Things Behind the Scene. I was never in the spotlight, never on the stage, never getting the center position. I was wrong.
I realized this was me putting myself and my circumstances down. That I needed a better stage. I’m waiting for a miraculous moment. Only realizing that this, these, were already miraculous. I was mauling my self-worth for not having fame and money, tagging my life as Behind the Walls or By the Corner.
So, last night, I declared otherwise. This is my stage. Not a big, gaudy backdrop like ones from Broadway, with velvet drapes and neon lights. It wasn’t as dramatic as a theater’s, either. There’s no orchestra playing my song. No grand piano by the corner. My stage is chipped plywood assembled together in a small-town presentation, headlined by a run-about girl doing small things to make people feel warmth. I’m that girl. Not rich. Not famous. Just curdling plans on how to earn money for a farm. I have a crummy little set that probably smells, but I am happy, and I flourish in it.
Today, still a November, I stop re-labelling my life as not-nice things. I’m not waiting for opportune moments. This is me, breathing, and this is me, singing all my way through the tunnel filled with neighbors warbling Frozen 2’s OST and kids finding their way to me like I was some sort of fairy. I have miracles, and I have magic, and I am moving forward with that.
This is how I’d remember this November.