Warning: F-bombs up ahead.
To me, life feels like a tumbleweed of beauty, pain, sorrow, compassion, heartache, love, destruction and repairing.
It’s like a rollercoaster that I had no idea what it was going to be like, until I found myself in the front seat, watching the world whizz by, often wondering why the fuck I had bought a ticket for this ride, and not the other ride I can see my friends on.
I look at other people’s lives and wonder how they’ve gotten away with being on the ride they have. I wonder what took them there, and why my life and my ride, my rollercoaster, can’t be a little bit like theirs. Even if just one corner, one bend, one high, one low is like theirs. I also have life-ride envy for my own life—the one I used to lead. I end up comparing to myself and those around me, and it’s always really fucking painful.
I forget all the pain that the me I’m comparing myself to used to experience, or the pain that others may be experiencing but I don’t know about, and see perfection and complete beauty and abundance in all the ways I feel those things are missing in my life, at the moment.
That wondering and wishing and comparing only lasts for a few moments. I don’t have patience with it anymore. Plus, I now know that every ride has its rickety patches, its missing planks, its heart shattering loss or bone shaking struggle or mind numbing pain. And that everyone has a time when the way they knew how to ride their own roller-coaster comes crashing down in their own unique way.
At 15, at 26, at 39, at 54…or even at 80…there’s always a time for everyone when shit gets really messy.
I used to spend a long time sat in that place of looking at others lives and wondering what I had done wrong to land myself on this ride and not another.
Wondering why, and giving myself shit about the fact that I had bought a ticket for this life-ride, and not a different, easier, softer, one. One that didn’t contain so much pain and turmoi, trauma and healing-that-is-happening.
Wondering why I hadn’t known that this ride would be as intense as it is.
Giving myself a really hard time around the fact that I’m here, on this ride—on my ride—and I’m (according to my critic) “letting life be like this, and allowing these curve balls to be thrown.” According to him, this is/was me failing and fucking up…according to him, the shit that happens is my fault.
But the thing is, it doesn’t work like that. Life doesn’t work like that.
Life throws curveballs. Shit gets messy. Life is painful and crazy things hit the fan.
When I hit drastic bends or gentle curves along my roller-coaster, I can fight them and try to turn my speeding cart around, or I can roll with them…go with the curveball, ride round the bend, and nourish myself in the best way I can whilst doing so.
This is something I’ve gotten really fucking good at over the years, and so (weirdly) my ability to do this comes with an extra load of shit from my critic around the fact that—according to him—I’m not doing enough to fight life, and fight the ride I’m on…to buy a new ticket, and get on a new roller-coaster. To trade in the person I am, for a different person—someone else stood in line at the theme park, waiting.
But, again, it doesn’t work like that.
I am changing, I am healing, I am learning, and I am continually growing and being reborn, but I can never just switch myself for someone else. I can’t just hop on over to a new kind of life. These things take time, and by doing that, I would be abandoning the me I am growing to love
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~ Steve Jobs
Part of me believes I didn’t really buy a ticket to this life—that the ticket was bought for me.
Perhaps, some would argue that at some point I did buy a ticket—when I was hangin’ out, up in the sky, waiting to come down here, waiting for my rollercoaster ride to begin, I was stood in-line at a ticket booth choosing a ticket for this ride, knowing that I could handle it and knowing that I could thrive on it.
When I think like that, it gives me faith that this ride isn’t here for me to bail on, it’s here for me to ride the shit out of it, because if I couldn’t handle it, I wouldn’t be here.
I’m not 100 percent sure what I believe, but this is the ride I’m on.
This is the life I’ve got.
This is the person I am.
One time, I tried to get off this ride, but quickly realised that I wanted and needed to be back on it, just sitting in a different seat, riding life in a different way.
I often feel angry and pissed off, and in shock, at the injustice of so many sections of my ride.
I long for a sense of fairness, rather than a sense of, “what-the-fuck, are you kidding, life?”
I wish for something more, for something different to what I have now and to what I have experienced before now. But I also see the utter beauty that wanders into my life—the beauty I pass or go through whilst sat at the front of my ride—and the way that my ride, so far, has meant that to notice this beauty is to survive.
To survive is to notice and appreciate and experience the beauty.
I increasingly realise that if I was sat on someone else’s roller-coaster, I would feel sick and dizzy and wonder when I could get off. I wouldn’t get the beauty, and I wouldn’t get the pain, that I get whilst inhabiting my own roller-coaster. I would get different experiences of both those things, but I wouldn’t be experiencing what was mine.
I would be abandoning my own experience, and I would be abandoning myself.
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Editor: Catherine Monkman