to subsist or submit, resisting
the change of the season's
from 100 Words While I Wait
Lorna Dee Cervantes
Last night I went to see an old friend do a presentation on his life's work. Mind. Blowing. I met him 11 year ago while living in Playa del Carmen. He is brilliant, always has been and I am in awe at how he followed his passion, to very successful fruition. Our friendship was a furious mix of laughter and arguing, swimming in the ocean, driving sandy roads. I can't believe 11 years has passed since we met, since those days and nights of salt, ocean. I remember one night a hurricane was approaching and the town was locking down. I convinced my friend we should walk on the beach to feel the storm on our skin. The winds were crazy; I think I was a little crazy. I climbed to the top of a bamboo lifeguard tower and leaned into the wind, I was wearing a long red skirt and it was whipping everywhere, painfully. I laughed and laughed while my friend looked up at me and laughed too. He shouted to me that I was crazy. That summer I sang Avientame by Cafe Tacuba every day.
Seeing my friend last night I was happy for my younger self, her love of wildness. I was drunk on life back then. Every day I woke up and went into the ocean and swam out, probably a kilometer, to the reef where I would let the currents carry me around while I floated, face down with a mask on, marveling at the world below. I'd see barracuda with their fucked up teeth; fish more colorful than American candy; sea turtles. The world felt enormous and I felt that I was an essential part of it, that my wonder would propel me.
I love that Lizz. I look at my life since then and it has been a gradual closing, battening down. I would never walk out into a hurricane these days to see what the storm feels like, I've known the storm and it was enough. I know there is still a part of me that welcomes risk because I know when it works out the reward is sweeter than anything any tongue could taste.
After the presentation last night I had dinner with a college professor I knew back then. She inspired me more than she knows. She lived life freely, traveling and exploring. I would listen to her stories and I collected them in my head. Last night she was amazed when I recalled stories she told me over ten years ago. She and I have a great connection and with her I can talk about things I'm not comfortable talking about with anyone else. She and I are of the same emotional tribe.
I've battled insomnia again this week. I'm tired at night but sleeping well is out of my grasp. I get into bed and wait and wait. When I do fall asleep I wake up in the middle of the night wondering if I've slept long enough. I'm awake long enough for moments of existential panic, the awareness of my own mortality sharp, wondering what I'm doing with my life, meaning and other daggers of crisis. It will pass.
Time is strange. Aging is strange. But interesting. I don't mind it so much, in daylight hours, with a cup of strong coffee in hand. I have friends who never got to age, I think of them often.
Last night I had drinks with my neighbor. We were talking about romantic love, relationships. We're both single and kind of looking (not at each other). He told me that I should tone myself down a bit, that I may come off as intimidating because I am strong in personality and spirit. I've wondered that about myself, if I'm too alpha for my own good. I don't think so. I am strong, no doubt, but I am also incredibly generous with my heart, to a fault. I don't mind being single, I enjoy my time and solitude. But cooking for one sucks. And there is no one to call when I have insomnia. But no, I'm not going to tone it down. That won't work for me.