Saturday, July 21, 2012

comfort and ambition

I sometimes wonder how heartbreak feels to other people. Not in general, blunt terms because those are easy to guess. Terrible. Miserable. Astonishment that you, and you alone, have stripped down the walls that hold you and your world and let someone else in to play bandit with that so tender and elusive figurative organ that is your heart.

Heartbreak, to me, feels like I'm full, past brimming, past bursting, like every small part of me, down to the indivisible bits and pieces, has drifted apart to make room for something so large and achingly felt that if I move too quickly, my entire body will shudder and blow away. Time bends, grows hazy and staggers, drunk. I want everything and nothing at the same time.

It is, now that I think about it, exactly the way I feel when I'm first in love, only tipped on its head. I'm prone to fainting, it seems. To eating too little and feeling too much. My equilibrium is off and I cling to it as it swings from its course, threatening to capsize for one wild moment, and then, in minute increments, setting itself right again.

It makes me curious. Will the feeling that inspired all this, the right-side-up version with the goofy smile, survive the return to normal? I feel it so honestly and vividly. It makes sense. It seems true. But time heals everything, those platitudes and cliches all say, and they are so often correct, as sad as it makes me to think about a cure for love. Though they can't always be right. That would be so boring. Poorly written. Humorless and devoid of surprise.

I like my stories either funny or sad. I stay curious.

My sister gave me a card the other day. It says, "LET'S TAKE OVER THE WORLD, YOU AND ME." I think that might be our saving grace. Slightly mad, pure-hearted ambition. We want to be, as Shan puts it, pony-up cowboy champions. Not because we want the shine of it all, necessarily, or any glory, but because there are so many things we want so very badly to do. Our crazy schemes are all in service of making something we love either exist in the world or explode spectacularly on the way there.

Ambition keeps me sane. It gives those aforementioned, sloppily metaphorical boats of equilibrium something to navigate by.

Once, when I was a kid, I went to a Renaissance Fair(e) and watched a man give a lecture about the invention and use of the sextant. I was disappointed. In my storybook-addled brain, sailors of long ago just looked up at the sky and knew.

Maybe ambition is the wrong word. Ambition sounds like it could trample you in the dust. Like it might require a rodeo clown.

Enthusiasm to steer by? Pony up, cowboy.

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