There was a movie made a couple of years back called Crash. I can’t say I was much of a fan of this movie because it seemed to use extreme stereotypes to deliver its message. Personally, I feel that if you are going to do a film or story with a ‘message’ then you have to go outside the box and find the story that delivers that message, rather than try to build a story around the message.
However, the concept was an interesting one – even a good one. To me, it posed the question: Is life a series of crashes in which we are all victims or do we create crashes in our lives in order to make contact with it?
In recent months I’ve been doing a lot of crashing in my life, with my life, around my life and to my life. I won’t deny that this has bothered me a great deal. While I’ve always been a person who ponders and at least tries to look at the deeper meaning of life, I have always been able to see the light side and tried to just enjoy my life, such as it is. I’ve even been known to find life an utter and complete joy for no better reason than the sun was shining and my garden was growing.
So, to realize that life has become a series of crashes, both real and metphoric was a bit of a stunner for me. And of course, I’m not talking about the good crashes. That fun and exciting, inexplicable slam into the swing of things. That amazing tango of new and exciting concepts, people, places and things. That banging out of the door to greet yet another glorious day. Oh no, my friend – not those types of crashes at all.
Rather, I’m talking about cars being damaged, employee revolts, headaches, stomach aches, tax returns, root canals, bad digestion, sleepless nights, frustration, self-doubt and the sense of being trapped in a small box, dancing in peanut butter while wearing a white dress. Old Chevy keeps breaking down, running out of money on my credit cards to cover it – okay, got a new car – oops now there’s a big dent. Job that I loved went to nowheresville, okay get a new job – oops, it’s hell on earth. Hmm, hangnail, let me just take care of that – oops, now I’ve ripped the whole nail out of place. Yep, it’s been fun. A real laugh riot.
But given the kind of person I am, I refuse to surrender. I refuse to lay down and die. Even though sometimes, I think I’m going to just expire like last week’s cottage cheese and go down in a blue flame of methane gas – some kernal remains alive and true to who or what I am.
I wonder if God is testing me or maybe it’s just me testing me. In the past, when I’ve become bored, a buttload of trouble followed. That sure got my interest going again. But there must be a better way to get interested in life again. There must be a less threatening way to feel alive than to have everything go to shit and then go through the tedious process of pasting it back together again. Right?
And the only answer that seems to surface is creativity. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Sounds like something we could all do. We could just go create something. People do it all the time – it takes the form of hobbies, sports, gardening, singing, dancing, telling jokes, hell even re-arranging the livingroom could classify as something creative. Yet, it seems when you need them the most, the creative juices won’t flow. They’ve frozen and slammed shut the door that leads you there. The colors of the world around us sort of dull down. There are too many crashes going on around us. The door is broken, the cat is sick, your child is having a crisis, work sucks the life out of you. The most creative you feel is maybe voting for the least offensive American Idol contestant. Or possibly painting your fingernails (although the dry time is a bitch).
What’s a person to do? Life ganging up on one can sure seem like a pretty unfair fight. I mean shit, you against all of life? The whole universe? The entirety of the inertia of apathy that has snowballed and blocked your front door? Not fair. Not fair at all. Can you say, I surrender?
But here’s the thing. You have a choice. You really do. At least, I think you (I) do. You can just say, no. Really, you can. You can turn the tables and say, ‘okay life, what are you gonna throw at me today?’ You can laugh in the face of life and say, ‘big fricking deal.’ I know whenever I’ve read any book about a self-made, successful person that seems to be what they have done. They have made and lost fortunes several times in their lives. They have gone where few have dared to go. They had vision. They had guts. And man oh man did they have disappointments and troubles too. I’d like to think I could do that. I’m not sure I can. I’m not sure I have the nerves of steel or vision or whatever it is to do such things – but I must have enough gumption to get a little creativity going, right?
Yeah, I’m always going to have the bullshit stuff. Jobs, rent, dental visits – bills, problems, whatever… But I’ve denied myself my own joy of creating of late. I’ve denied myself the permission and pleasure to look around and see all the pretty things that surround me. Many of which I made myself. I took Roomies two pathetic strips of dirt in the backyard, which he was using for weeds, and planted a garden. Now I have lettuce, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and flowers. It sure didn’t cost much and really didn’t take that much time – but I sure do get a charge out of it. Every day when I get home from work, I say to my dog, ‘okay, let’s go look at the garden.’ She gets so excited she nearly explodes. So we go. Actually, I look at the garden and she runs around chasing her tail – but we both get a charge out of it.
I still have a pretty car, even though some joker left his mark in it. I have friends and I have ideas. And those may be the bestest and prettiest things I have in my life. Ideas. They are free-form and ever-changing – they are new and different and they are something wholly and completely made of myself. No seeds necessary, no fertilizer, no participation from others even – though those things help. They don’t weigh anything, don’t require closet space and I can take them with me wherever I wander.
So, I’m taking a do-over on my particular crashes in life. I’m going start crashing into my creative inner child. I’m going to crash into the sunshine and see what’s out there. If other people don’t like it, then they’ll just have to figure out their own crashes I guess. Maybe you’d like to give it a try too. If nothing else, it’s sure to be an adventure. Happy landing.