There's a line from Leonard Cohen's "Anthem" that gets quoted a lot, and it goes like this:
"There is a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in."
And it's beautiful. And it's comforting. Right up until there is so much damned light shining in a girl's eyes that she can't even see where she's going. When the cracks multiply and converge like a spider's web, entire shards can crumble away, allowing everything to seep out; courage, conviction, confidence, self-esteem, they're all dripping all over the floor. At this point I am being held together by duct tape and baling wire, and the light is giving me a migraine.
I always knew this being brave business was going to be a two-steps-forward-one-step-back sort of thing. I told myself that as long as there was overall forward momentum, everything was going to be okay. But I keep forgetting to look in the side mirror for the reminder that things are closer than they appear, and when I get a good hard shove backwards I often find that that first step is a doozy. And there they are, still more cracks to try to crazy glue together.
"What do you want, Anastasia?" That's a question that sets me reeling back into the coffee table. (Craaaaaaaack!) "What do I want?" Hell, "How does one even know what one wants?" Listening to my heart's desire has not consistently served me well of late. I mean, getting the dog was absolutely the right thing to do. And the motorcycle. Getting the dog and the motorcycle were good decisions. And the boots. The dog, the motorcycle, and the boots, all excellent choices. I feel pretty good about those. But my record otherwise has been decidedly mixed. Sometimes my selections are more akin to sabotage.
And so my resolve has dribbled away through a big ol' hole somewhere on this battered body. It's an odd feeling to be out here on my own trying to dream my dreams about the future. For so many years, weighing options was something done in tandem, and when it got to be too overwhelming one person or the other simply took over. For a long time, that person was me, as yet another song goes I took that weight up off his shoulders and moved it to my chest. Decision-making was a manifestation of caring and a labor of love, but what I wanted was not an integral part of it. And it left behind some pretty serious fissures.
The girl who made those decisions is gone now, and the crises that required so much damage control feel far off and distant. But gone, too, is the middle-aged woman who was going to see those decisions through, and the old woman who was going to look back on them with pleasure, or ruefully, or with chagrin, or however it was going to go. We're all sitting around the table together, twiddling our thumbs, staring at each other and thinking, "Well, this is kind of a pickle we find ourselves in. Now what do we do?" That's still a lot of people to take into consideration in my choices, but none of them are talking to help me figure out what we all want here.
Turning back to good ol' Leonard, the lines right before the ones about cracks and light go like this:
"Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in."
Oh, Leonard. That might be easier to do if we could just dim the lights a bit, that ringing is making my head just split in two.