Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Elmer's Glue, Sticky Tape and Paper Clips

We're amalgamations. Papier mache figures. Overlapping scraps of newsprint, delicate silk, denim, sand paper, tin foil, candy wrappers, cardboard. Fragments pieced together over a lifetime. A fragile tapestry woven into a crazy quilt. Fabric often stitched hastily into place with bits of yarn, hemp yet the odd strand of gold. Each unique. Us. Humankind. Ageless. Some as fragile as a newborn duckling. Others the tensile strength of wire mesh. Waterproof. Shockproof. Each of us vulnerable. Very. The whole of it threatening to unravel entirely with an arbitrary catch of a frayed thread. A misstep. An unaligned guidepost.

I am no different. My fix-it supplies next to my Barney's bag tool box always within reach. Who knows when those last minute repairs are needed to be stitched into place. Or, the more dramatic rips that compromise the integrity of our entire garment pulling apart seams to reveal our underpants. Our naked selves.

So I am at the ready. Poised to grab the Scotch tape dispenser. Apply a cartoonish bandaid to protect the tear. Ointment to salve the wound. Stapler reattaching the torn fabric. Whatever is needed to pick myself up. Dust off the debris. The accumulated matter torn from my not so rock solid armor. Detritus. And carefully smooth the wrinkles. Stumble until the glue dries the heel back on my big girl shoes teetering on the unbalanced rocks haphazardly littering my path. Catch my balance. Straighten up. Gain some equilibrium. Crown askew. Glasses smudged. A lump in my throat. Bite my lower lip. No one has to know the tricks of the trade or see the wizard behind the curtain. Carry on smiling. Gracefully. Bruises hidden.

How did this happen? When did I get so brave? Who am I protecting? And more importantly why? The sculptors? The performance artists? Les artistes? Each adding their own twist to the composition c'est moi. Is it worth exploring? The past. Deeds done. Ships sailed. Flat tires changed.

After reflecting and ruminating over the years I have decided. I really do not want to go back there. To each glitch. To wonder whether the path chosen was the correct one. What if I had gone to George Washington University and not BU? Should I have gone to that mixer at Amherst after all? Perhaps I should have matriculated at law school despite the glut of associate lawyers in the Boston market and showers/locker rooms at the big firms occupying multiple homogeneous floors of blue-grey offices in the tallest skyscrapers. Deciding in the 11th hour to get an MBA despite not being proficient at interpreting graphs, charts and the ubiquitous stock quotes published daily in the Wall Street Journal. Quitting a lucrative position in a corner office in Manhattan no less to be sole parent to my most amazing son. Hooking up with the devil. Moving and starting anew, over and over.

Roads travelled. Boulders scaled. Flowers sniffed. Illnesses cured. Friends made. Vinegar swallowed. Family loved. I am the accumulation of a lifetime of my unique experiences. I own them. They make me, me. You know? I wouldn't change a thing. Not one thing.

Message to self: Suck it up! Get back on that horse. There's no looking back. I've already been there.

Cheers. Until tomorrow.

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