Wednesday, January 30, 2013

This is Mambo no. 5.

The truth is shaped like this: I am tired now -- but I am not tired all the time anymore. The mid-day caffeine wears off by late evening, but by then I have usually done enough to allow myself to be exhausted. This is how things go now.

For a thousand nights I spun completely out of control. I don't mean that in a dramatic, wild, self-pitying manner. I'm simply saying that for a thousand nights I thought I had direction, but I did not. The stars used to whisper things to me like, "What happened to Miss Independent?" and "Stop screwing it up or you'll regret it," and "Have you stepped on the scale lately? You're letting yourself go," but I, insomniac, mumbled to the oblivion, "Do you hear something?" and followed after the cries of, "Addy! You beauty!" and "Addy! You've got legs for days and hair for years!" and "Addy! You. You're perfect." It's easier to hear lovely, screamed lies over whispers of truth from the depths of the sky.

Look. I'm not trying to tell any of you how to live your life or say that these are my mistakes and I am perfect now so save yourself the pain and learn from me. What I'm telling you is that mistakes are part of life. You're not going to get out unscathed, I can tell you that much. You're not going to come out of this, not out of high school or out of life, unscarred, natural hair color, un-inked, flawless.

Allow me to enlighten you on perfection: You're never, ever going to get there. Not in your eyes. Not in God's. Not in the eyes of your mother or your publisher or your director. Perfection is an ideal. It's what will tie you to the bed every morning and hold a knife to your wrist and snicker, "Just say the word." Perfection will drown you, perfection stuck Sylvia Plath's head in the oven, Bukowski drank perfection into oblivion. Perfection will rain on your parade, rain on your nice hair-do, rain on your newly-washed car.

Now I don't know about you, but I know about me, I've had 17 years to learn about me, and I've gotten tired of realizing every single day that I will never reach perfection, a truth so perfectly articulated by a ballet teacher:"You will never reach perfection."

But I don't feel good. I don't feel healthy or skinny or spiritually present, and I think it's because I keep letting perfection strap me to the bed every single solitary morning. So I think I'm going to wake up now, for heaven's sake, because I'm sick of rope-burnt wrists and flat hair and fear, because "you will never reach perfection," I know, I know, "but you should never stop striving." Remember that part?

So remember me. Plant Forget-Me-Nots at my grave; bury me beneath the sky of a merciful God. Remember the long, skinny fingers of my life. Take care of the words I'll leave behind. Let me answer the rumors before you taint them: Yes, every day is Hamlet, and no, I don't think about you often.

The truth is shaped like this: I'm never going to die -- the best never really do, but I'm not going to be perfect, I'm coming out like the rest of you, scarred, fake blonde, tattooed, blemished, but today is the day I say to perfection, "I hope you'll clean that up when you're done," because I say that with a little caffeine and the right shoes, I'll conquer the entire universe.

All my love,

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