The second anniversary of the death of my cousin was a few days ago. He was 19 years old when he passed. He died instantly in a car accident.
When I heard what had happened my life took a pause. My heart stopped beating for an instant. Everything stopped, not just my heart. Then, without asking if I was ready or not, life kept going as always.
I felt enormously guilty at first because I didn´t spend as much time with him when we grew up as I would have liked to. I didn´t know if he ever fell in love, what type of music did he listened to, whether he smoked or not. All sorts of questions came to my mind.
I came to understand a few months later that life takes us through all kinds of paths, and some people are going to be in them, some are not. The guilt finally faded away. I started talking with a few relatives that had the fortune of spending more time with my cousin and I realized that he lived fully, happy, he was young in body and spirit. He was wild and took advantage of life. That was my cousin, the cousin I remembered when we were kids. I felt so proud of being related to him, of being the cousin he liked to call many years ago, Miss Congeniality.
Since his death my life has changed drastically. The perspective I had on life just didn´t suit me anymore, so I forced myself to move around, to change, to open my mind wider and to accept the facts of life as they are. Accept them and move on. The perspective I had on life was now enhanced.
Just after I knew my cousin had passed away my mind and body became vegetative. For a few days I transformed into some sort of zombie. I was catatonic because I simply couldn´t grasp the concept of fugacity. I couldn´t understand the fragility of existence. One second you exist; the next you don´t. How is that possible?
My memories of my childhood with him made him look so real and present. Yet, the present was totally different from the distant past.
Where am I going with this? The title of this post has nothing to do with my anecdote. Well my dear reader, the title has everything to do with what I´ve said earlier. The death of my cousin taught me that life is a glimpse, life is frail, ephemeral. Since then I began to appreciate differently the air, a chocolate ice-cream, a cigarette, time with my friends and family. I started to really appreciate life and love.
When it comes to love (and I´m talking about romantic love, boyfriend/girlfriend love, even though it has to do with all kinds of human relationships), fear is usually my partner: fear of rejection, abandonment, pain, commitment, responsibility. All kinds of fear come to the surface and tickle me all day long. Fear tempts me with absurd thoughts about me, about my partner, and these thoughts as absurd as they may be, seem quite logical and sane. That´s the magic of fear. Fear is the great puppeteer because it makes the absurd and stupid seem something completely natural, logical. And when we get carried away by the charms of this grand illusionist we paralyze, we hold back. This is the same kind of paralysis I talk about on my last post: Words of hope for the desperate soul.
Now, don´t get me wrong, fear isn´t a bad thing; on the contrary, it makes us stop for the fraction of a second so we can analyze the situation and make a decision about it: either we run or we fight. That alert state of mind is vital for every animal on this planet, including us. But the alert state of mind is meant to be used only in cases of emergency. Being alert all the time could be mortal. This is applicable to relationships too.
When we get lost in the delights of excessive analysis we stop paying attention to the relationship, to the other person and most importantly, to ourselves. We become addicted to our own fantasies. But there´s always rehab, and the best one is action. Communicate with honesty and with no shame what you are feeling and thinking and why. Again, be honest with yourself and your partner. If the outcome isn´t what you expected, remember that life is unexpected. Remember that it is always more important to be coherent with yourself. Never betray yourself.
But fear manifests in other ways than just fantasies. Fear slows down the desire to live the present time like it is your last. That kind of fear, seen from the perspective of romantic relationships, makes us think: “Why are you going to fall head over heels in love with somebody if you are just going to get hurt. Get the hell out of here or just keep it casual, that way you won´t get hurt”. Bull! That´s just bullshit! What a waste of body and mind! If you really don´t want to get hurt then don´t even bother getting into the game, because in this game, every one of us are going to fall down, we all are going to get hurt, but we also are going to discover love, and all of that shows us we are alive.
Sometimes I´m in the mood for the game, sometimes I´m not. Right now I want to be in the game. It doesn´t matter if I win or lose. Just being a part of the game feels as winning for me. I don´t want to watch from the bench anymore, asking myself what would have happened if…
When I heard that my cousin just died a void sucked up my guts. Days went by and I discovered my cousin had had a beautiful life. He danced, loved, lived. His game was over but that doesn´t mean he lost. On the contrary, he won the best of all prices: the experience of life, a life lived to the fullest.
When it comes to relationships I think we shouldn´t look for a happy ending but for a happy ride. The goal isn´t at the end of a relationship but in the process. We´ll all get to the end at some point. Instead of worrying about it we should feel the present. It´s a good thing to think about the future, it keeps you going, but the present, the experience of the brief instant of time is what finally counts. It counts because I´ll never know which will be my last breath, my last heartbeat, my last synapsis. We´ll never know when we are having our last orgasm, touch, kiss.
Every time I talk or write or think about this kind of thing a movie comes to my mind: Home Alone 2. There is this scene with the pigeon lady and Kevin (hope you know what I´m talking about) that has just stuck in my head since the first time I saw that movie. Now, I couldn´t find the video but I found the quote at:
Bird Lady: The man I loved fell out of love with me. That broke my heart. When the chance to be loved came along again, I ran away from it. I stopped trusting people.
Kevin McCallister: No offense, but that seems like sort of a dumb thing to do.
Bird Lady: I was afraid of getting my heart broken again. Sometimes you can trust a person, and then, when things are down, they forget about you.
Kevin McCallister: Maybe they’re just too busy. Maybe they don’t forget about you, but they forget to remember you. People don’t mean to forget. My grandfather says if my head wasn’t screwed on, I’d leave it on the school bus.
Bird Lady: I’m just afraid if I do trust someone, I’ll get my heart broken.
Kevin McCallister: I understand. I had a nice pair of rollerblades. I was afraid to wreck them, so I kept them in a box. Do you know what happened? I outgrew them. I never wore them outside. Only in my room a few times.
Bird Lady: A person’s heart and feelings are very different than skates.
Kevin McCallister: They’re kind of the same thing. If you won’t use your heart, who cares if it gets broken? If you just keep it to yourself, maybe it’ll be like my rollerblades. When you do decide to try it, it won’t be any good. You should take a chance. Got nothing to lose.
Bird Lady: Little truth in there somewhere.
Kevin McCallister: I think so. Your heart might still be broken, but it isn’t gone. If it was gone, you wouldn’t be so nice.
Bird Lady: Thank you. Do you know it’s been a couple of years since I’ve talked to anybody?
Kevin McCallister: That’s okay. You’re good at it. You’re not boring. You don’t mumble or spit. You should do it more often. Just wear an outfit with no pigeon poop on it.
That´s why I´d like to give you a small recommendation: fuck fear! Love! Make love. Bear your soul and be yourself with that other person. Drink, smoke, be irreverent. Know each other and respect each other. Talk, listen and understand each other. Touch, watch, feel, love each other. Always love with your whole being, because if it isn´t today, then when? Tomorrow? Tomorrow doesn´t exist. The only thing that exists is now, this breath of life that you inspire and expire, this hot blood running through your veins and arteries. This exact second is everything that exists, and because this is all you have, take advantage of it. Use it. Don´t let it go. It is quite probable that tomorrow those rollerblades won´t fit anymore.
So, if you are with somebody right now who is not going to love you the same way you are willing to, let that person go. No hard feelings. Let that person be and move on. Save this space for someone else. Life and love are always moving and changing. Beat with them. Change. Do. And everything you do, do it with love, always go big, ´cause if you don´t, you´ll always wonder what would have happened if… and that sucks.
E.E. this is for you. Thank you so much for showing me this beautiful lesson. Thank you for existing and for teaching me how to squeeze every last drop out of life. I love you. See you later, your Miss Congeniality.