Four years ago it was always the same. I'd go see the Healer, he would look at me and I would begin to cry, not just a little crying, not the sissy kind of crying but the big-full-on-broken-down-full-on-wearied-out-full-on-worn-out-gone-to-hell-in-a-handbasket-full-of-snot-crying. The hiccuping kind. The kind you most often feel stupid after. The kind that if you "pride"yourself on strength, makes you mad as hell you "showed" weakness. The kind that after it happens more than three times you finally give in to the learning and say, "It is what it is." Sometimes it might be the quickest way of getting to "It is what it is."
Meme told me she'd had a full-out-hiccuping-day-long-cry and she was really upset with herself. That's the way strong women are until they aren't, until they get to, "it is what it is." Or, until they get to the place they realize that in certain moments we don't have a clue and we can't define what it actually is: bad, indifferent, educational, life-changing, beautiful, funny, awful, awfully good, what it is or the opposite of what it is. Sometimes it really is about silver linings, things that are illusions, grace on the other side of that waterfall of challenge, strength in the middle of the snotty nosed cry. Sometimes maybe oftentimes it is about how when life shifts up our lessons we have to shift up our labels and our semantics to keep up---and most often we do this with a WTF planted on our faces, our bodies rolled into question marks and all if it, right before we hit our knees.
Meme's long ass hiccup day of crying had taken her straight to that place and the place we find ourselves loudly saying, "this isn't me, this isn't who I am. I am stronger than this."
I'd said to her, "But it is. It is who you are, it is who we all are. We are all the pieces and all the parts and it is always what it seems and what it doesn't seem and most especially when we say, it isn't who we are..."
I told her that the year of liquid brain had brought me to a clearer understanding of things like who we are and what we take for granted about ourselves and how we think about ourselves and the pieces that make it all up, that with liquid brain it all goes melting down the street in front of us and we can see it but it has all run together and so we stare and wait until it solidifies a little bit and forms any kind of new solid whole that once again spells out life. Liquid brain is like throwing ourselves up in the air in pieces and watching as they float back down and happiness is catching some of them and putting the some back together. The some back together becomes the new story and new stories mean change, mean we've moved on from the old and the letting go and we are free to write the new challenge, with new humor and new sweet. We can trade the old weak for a new strong, the old job for a new title, the cancer for the grace, the family can expand with in-laws and the story can grow as long as we need it to, until it is time to throw ourselves up and catch the rewrite, again.
Liquid brain is like snotty nosed crying, it brings you up short and just pauses you and you go on living as best you can and in a way that usually people only get a glimmer of how far you have melted and how far you have to go. Sometimes they see a together person when all you see is that liquid running down the street in front of you. Perceptions, perspective. Damn if it doesn't make you strong while it softens up all your edges, and damn if when you put your Humpty Dumpty self back together again you don't discover that you are no longer made of something hard, something rigid, something really defined, but instead, something sweetly, strongly soft with blurred and open spaces and something that if you fall, will only crack, heal and then be whole again.
She repeats. "This isn't me, I don't wallow, I'm so strong, I never cry." And I think how all that crying and all that liquifying and all that letting go only made and makes me stronger and how it is making her stronger too.
It is hard to pick up one illusion and discard another, hard to become everything we believe we are not. But if we can find that place inside that recognizes or gets the slimmest math glimmer of parts of the whole, we can maybe get to the loving of each of the parts. And whether the part is the big snotty cry that takes us straight to strength, the big shout of whoohooo that takes us straight to heart, the big glue of laugher that holds it all together or the big sigh of surrender that takes us straight to where it really all happens, it is what it is and what it is, is all of it.