Last week I had major oral surgery: 2 teeth pulled, then three bone grafts and four implants installed in my face. The easy thing to do is write a blog post about the smoothies I’ve been drinking, but that will be too easy (turmeric, spirulina, maca, coconut milk, frozen bananas, frozen blueberries, frozen kale or spinach, and a half scoop of protein powder). Yesterday, I went on my first bike ride since surgery, and I actually hit a few PRs, according to Strava (disclaimer, I often forget to turn on Strava so that data could be tainted). I wore my new Club Ride Drop Bib chamois, which was a literal game changer. I wish I had those shorts on the Great Divide Wow. I’ve been complaining about bib shorts for years, and had a few designs that only ever surfaced while getting drunkenly angry while lamenting with guy cycling friends at the bar, post-ride, about how annoying women’s cycling gear options in general are, and how we are a very large demographic that is not taken seriously. Due to a pro deal with Outdoor ProLink, I was finally able to test out one of the models that have come out over the past couple years. The design isn’t perfect (zippers, tight-fitting mesh spandex, and sticky sweaty thighs aren’t a perfect combination when trying to do a quick pee behind a bush in a county park), but it is definitely an appreciated start, the zippers stay up, and the shorts in general are comfortable and well-fitting.
So that’s the good stuff. Or at least the stuff I should be focusing on. And I really wish I could, but…Man. What a year, right? It’s been really hard to find meaning in anything. I fluctuate daily between paralyzing ennui and, paradoxically, paralyzing empathy. Did you know, for instance, that plants are sentient beings? They can hear, feel (physically and emotionally), react, and even remember. It is something I’ve considered for quite some time (just the thought of the roots that sprout from a carrot give me pause in considering it’s desire to survive, and on a seemingly more crazy level I’ve felt a very deep connection to them and other plants, despite my horrible gardening skills). In these times of valuing certain lives over others, it’s made me really think about my stance on my personal place in this world, which has halted my ability to continue with this blog without hating myself. I don’t think I am any better than any other living being. I have intrinsic power in this world, as a human, with white skin, with an able body, with a US passport. But why, and how have I used it? A conversation I’ve been having with my close friends and compassionate coworkers revolves around how to be a living human in this world, when to live is invariably to cause pain. My coworker Nick reminded me that by nature of being alive, we provide life and sustenance to millions of micro-organisms, and of course supposed happiness to those around us. But still…
And writing about anything personal, knowing that my life has equal value to all other lives, without feeling paralyzed with narcissism, has been seemingly impossible. What could I possibly have to say?
And on the other side, it’s been liberating to live in a world where rules and etiquette don’t seem to matter, where people can act the fool and rule the world (and your supporters still cheer and make up excuses even as you disprove them! but I digress..), and where the world has been ruined to such a degree that we are already in a state of no return, and coastal cities will flood, there will be (more) war, famine, dehydration, forced migration, and other horrors—at least according to a variety of articles cited here.
So, is there a point? Evan, my partner in life and love, says No, and I don’t blame him. He watches documentaries on the food industry and gets so disgusted he goes out for Burger King, and meanwhile here I am crying over a carrot. I think we are both wrong, but have a lot to learn from each other. We can rage and riot and complain, sure, but in a time of such uncertainty (and, sadly, growing certainty), why not let loose, love, and shred? What is the point in protecting a heart that is destined to break anyway? Why not break and rebuild it, live a kintsugi life, the golden joinery of our fragmented salvaged selves? This idea has opened us up as individuals and as a couple, and when I sink into my daily depression, I think about this freedom in being allowed to break, or possibly not break, to expand and experience, and it pulls me away from the ennui and paralysis.
Because why not? If you want to eat a pint of ice cream, eat a pint of ice cream (just, I ask, consider where the ice cream comes from and the choices you have available to eat ice cream with limited blood and carbon footprints). If you want to climb a mountain, climb a mountain (and be mindful of the community surrounding the mountain and how you may be helping or able to further help that community with your visit). If you want to learn to play an instrument, if you want to write a poem, if you want to tell someone they look cute today, if you want to try a scary section of a mountain bike trail you usually reroute around, if you want to end a flat or toxic relationship, if you want to see how much weight you can really lift, if you want to dye your hair a hundred colors or shave it off and donate it to Locks of Love, if you want to do anything to make your time on this planet a bit better for yourself and maybe better for others at the same time, why not? Like the adage goes, you don’t have to fuck people over to survive. And I’ll add, at this point, you don’t have to barely survive and be fucked over to sustain a status quo.