An Ode to the Shitty Things

An Ode to the Shitty Things

We are lovers, you and I. We have the capacity to love. Let’s dance, shall we?

It is easy to coast. Go to work, greet the dog, eat food at some point. It is easy to accept that the people we know are the people we know and this is just life now.

But I am comforted in remembering: we are always chasing change. We make money when we go to work and with that money we will buy something new. Our dog will die. Our food will expire. Our bodies will grow and shrink and the strap on our favorite fucking pair of flip flops will snap clean off. Not even flip flops are permanent, even if they’re your favorite. Life doesn’t care about favorites. Dogs die.

“Everything happens for a reason” is bologne and you know it. It’s just a thing people say when useful words fail them. We are allowed to fail at our words but we can do better anyway. Fate doesn’t exist. Things aren’t “meant to be.” Stars don’t align and…you get the idea.

Our loved ones commit suicide and we are alone. We don’t get to get it. We just have to know that people disappear from us and sometimes it’s sooner than we want it to be. Meredith and I were supposed to get beers when I got back from Mali and then do standup comedy. There’s nothing funny now.

So we are alone.

Except for our friends and our dogs. Cats just honor us with their presence. Fish aren’t real pets and I will fight you on that.

Shitty things happen and that’s that. They wake us up when we’d much rather have stayed asleep. It’s terrible that we crave to feel, and then when it’s an awful feeling we shake our fists at the cosmos and shout “that’s not what I meant.”

But if wild romances and the sound of our nephews giggling can breathe life into our bones, then so too can catastrophe. To feel is a burden but we have to do it anyway because who wants to be accused of being a feckless sociopath?

I know it’s a tired argument but it’s one worth repeating: to be unhappy is to feel, and to feel is to be alive. Even coasting and being discontent that you’re coasting is a feeling. Appreciate that you’re dissatisfied, goddamnit.

Yes, times are hard lately. But Sinatra says That’s Life and I think he’s onto something. Eventually something rosey and energizing will happen. I won’t be coasting and I won’t be vomitting but I’ll be soaring. Times will get better.

And I know this because each shitty thing gives me greater appreciation for the unshitty things and for that I must thank the shitty things. I don’t mean having a top notch burrito tomorrow will fix the pain of the past; but I do mean when something beautiful comes along, I’ll be better equipped to catch it in a butterfly net and do something metaphorically preservational with it.

And so I’m comforted that nothing is permanent, not even the things we love. There’s a tattoo on this tired body and it’s all about determining our future. We can take stupid risks that might embarrass ourselves but they also might lead to the kind of energized awakeness that only comes along sometimes.

And it’s worth it, if I remember correctly.

-Liz

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