Portmanteaux Series: 3
The Portmanteaux Series is a short collection of personal writing to celebrate and encapsulate the memory of the beginning of my career writing online, a little over a decade ago I had the plan to start publishing my content online, which quickly became a blog about life. Every Friday I wrote about what I learned, what I didn’t learn and what I could teach to my peers.
I’ve since stopped writing in this manner, but given the circumstance I wanted to get one more good run in before I hang up the “lifestyle” writing for good. Lifeis+ 2023 is a celebration and it is also a funeral.
I’m glad you are in attendance.
The process of healing is not linear, and it is not illuminated by any signs or lanterns. It is a long, curving, twisted road and sometimes you double back into places you already were.
Have you ever been camping? Out under the stars and all the beauty of creation it’s easy to lose yourself. Back home there is a canyon my friends and I would frequent. Every year, two to three times we would go out and camp beneath the stars getting drunk and telling each other stories, living with one another in moments that we knew would pass too quickly to hold on to forever.
That feeling is like healing. There are a lot of things like healing that aren’t really it.
This is one of them.
I’ve got a long history of looking on the bright side of life. Somewhere back there in my memory I can pinpoint the moment I felt the change, but in the years since it has become a story about a sandwich I didn’t pay for. The crux of everything I’ve done since that moment was reliant on external factors. Things I consumed, music, movies, etc. I filled my life with things that made me want to be a cheerful, kind person. Then, I regurgitated the things I’d consumed to great effect.
Those were the kindest, most fruitful years of my life. There is no doubt about that. Even still, I have changed much in the decade that’s passed since I created a new version of myself and here I am once more becoming new again.
I think life is a long cycle of dying to who you used to be and growing anew, with each season comes new hardship and those things that forge us must break away the rot and the ruin in order for us to become something better, assuming we want to.
Out there in the chaos of life we can find sparks to ignite within us new realizations. As if everywhere all around us an invisible fire is burning, never to go out, waiting for us to notice it. To get through the muck and the mush of a life lived at all is a worthy triumph itself, but to become a good person on the way is a sentiment deserving of song.
It is easy to find joy and peace when you are fulfilled, but from experience it is even easier to find those things when you are inundating yourself with nothing but positive affirmations and content which espouses the importance of a kind word. I was the king of kind words and shows of affection for a long time. I’ve been the herald of secret joys just as I have been the biggest bummer this side of the United States. It’s easy to be both in short spurts.
What’s hard, is balancing the good with the bad.
Back in 2016, when the restaurant I worked at closed its doors for good I had a conversation with my manager at the time who moved on to become a counselor at the college. We talked about our futures, what we each desired from life, and we talked about love over the backs of a few cases of booze. During that conversation, he told me something I wrote down so I wouldn’t forget, and then, because I wrote it down I promptly forgot.
“Love is Stability.”
In my youth I preached a doctrine of love and happiness, but through clever turns of phrase and long winded justifications, what I was actually trying to get across was the idea of joy. The difference between the two being that happiness was a fleeting, frail emotion which came about in the space after someone does something nice. Joy, on the other hand comes from within. It was what I wanted to aspire anyone who read my work to reach toward in order with the tall order to love everyone they met.
I still believe those things, I always will. The thing is, is that when you are tangled up in your justification and your explanation of everything like the meaning of joy and love and the purpose of our existence, it’s hard to just simply be.
I’ve found since then that I am less happy in my day to day, I don’t have little moments of good feelings that chain together from sun up to sun down and I don’t have the urge anymore to preach to my friends about the importance of being happy.
On the other hand, I’ve found myself more joyful than I used to be.
The thing about joy is that it isn’t constant. Sometimes the world beats you down and drags you out and sometimes you can’t get away from that.
Sometimes you can’t be conquered by the world and nothing can beat you. You’re nine feet tall and bulletproof and no matter what happens you are indestructible.
Your wife’s windshield wipers stop working.
You can’t explain why, but then you crumble. All that strength you had a week ago evaporates in the middle of a snowy afternoon while you bang your knuckles on the frame of her car trying to dismount a broken linkage and you wonder why is it always like this?
But it isn’t. It’s never, ever always.
Life isn’t an always kind of thing. It is a sometimes and then, sometimes, it’s a long time of banging your knuckles on the cold metal frame of the engine bay while you freeze your fingers trying to remount the linkage and then, it clicks and you realize it’s held. You tighten it all up and you start to grow. Five feet to six as the car turns on. Six to seven when the wipers work the first try. Seven to eight when you tighten the nuts holding it all together and then eight to nine and indestructible as she takes it out for a week and tells you everything is working right.
Back to four feet tall when she comes home and tells you it isn’t working again.
You grow and you investigate and you put more marks on your bones and eventually you figure out the reason and you learn that right now, maybe you can’t fix it permanently. Maybe there is some part of you that wants to be rid of the entire project, to throw away the car and get a new one with working wiper blades. Sometimes, you know that’s silly. Throwing the whole car out for one simple fix isn’t the answer and would cause more heartache than just figuring it out and doing what you can to fix it until you figure out how to make it permanent.
That’s the other option. To tighten the nuts holding it all together and get back to nine feet tall, but don’t forget nothing is ever really bulletproof.
Everything in life has a point where, after enough bullets, it’s drop. Some things only take one. Some might take the entirety of Lockheed Martin and I’ve realized in the last decade it’s my goal to be the latter.
That’s my strength. That’s the thing I learned after years of pretending to be happy and getting beaten down.
Back in the day I was tangled up in my desire to be the champion samaritan. I was obsessed with bringing light and life and joy to everyone I could, and after years of trying I realized that my lamp wasn’t lit and I was small as a spider & lost in the middle of a bramble patch.
But we’ve been growing.
Portmanteaux Part Four comes out tomorrow morning:
Arachnomad: The Spider’s Rental
Thank you for participating once more in the Lifeis+ celebration. I’ve got a lot to celebrate this time around so you’ll be hearing from me often. If you’d like to read more, you can check out me current fiction project Sisters of Westwinter & The Portmanteaux Series below!
Breaking a Promise (My Favorite Flowers: 2)
In a garden somewhere, not quite here and not quite anywhere, there is a boy who has cried his eyes away.
Seeing Someone Learn (My Favorite Flowers: 1)
In a garden somewhere, not quite here and not quite anywhere, there’s a boy who is afraid of eyes.
SOW: Chapter Five, Part Five: A Single Spark
The Nail Ward, as they called it, was as miserable as it looked from the outside. The thousands of needles covering the floor and walls made it impossible to relax, and sleep was terribly out of the question. So Kerrick stood in the corner waiting, patiently, for the sunrise.
[…] Samaritangle: Talking To Yourself, Through Yourself […]