I found myself tearing up today.
I have many reasons to be tearful right now, as do so many fellow humans around the world. We all have our battles. Some physical, some emotional, spiritual, most a combination. All of them equally real and equally important.
But today my tears were set-off by the most unlikely trigger I could have ever imagined.
While idly surfing YouTube, jumping between clips of SNL or the ‘late show’ or ‘express kundalini yoga’ or ‘astrology for the soul’, Samantha Bee and Seth Meyers; I flip from political satire to meditation as if they were simply two sides of the same coin. Of course they are… Because our world is a paradox. The only way to navigate the eternal contradictions is to whole-heartedly surrender and embrace the absurdity. Soul-searching on the internet is my new found Aquarius-age expression of this ethos. Don’t judge – it works for me!
So now I have set the scene, let me give you the back story:
In the fresh, newly born Noughties, we had an evil president called W. He had stolen an election, started an illegal war… He pretty much represented all loss of innocence and so much heartbreak. Of course I was young once – then … so I spent my youth years raging against his smug attitude in the face of all this sadness sweeping the face of the globe; His choice of cronies and worst of all our very own Blaire. (pronounced Blurgh)
The two of them appeared like false idols, perfectly embodying a collective need for guidance at a time of immense confusion (9/11). but choosing to laugh in our faces by systematically disembowelling everything we had spent the 90s praying to – namely ‘freedom’.
The 2 crusaders took away many basic human rights through legislation and did so with greedy grins – reassuring us it was for our own good – they were protecting us from terror.
Their Cheshire Cat impersonations would haunt me in nightmares.
Then 2008 and Obama was elected the day I became a mother. The new world was born again. Faith, hope returned, a little ragged and unshaven, after roughing it in the wilderness for so many years. But still it was back!
The economy crashed (- whatever, we can handle anything now.)
Then here on our shores a strange and curious thing came about, where we had an election with three contenders… And hope in my heart surged again as I listened to one politician seemingly speak sense. No obvious sound bites and sort of looked human compared to the blue robot – on the right and the angry cyclops to the left.
An election we had. So close was the realisation of a potential for progressive politics and yet, when the time came, the human-looking kingmaker, crowned the tin man with no heart. And I died inside.
The rest is recent history. The pain has lingered on and only deepened with every new cut instigated by the Tories. A metaphorical deforestation – Devastating where once stood an immense forest full of diversity and potential, now stands a wasteland – with the exception of a few palm oil trees. It’s hot here now. We’ve a drought. Thirsty and sunburnt we roam these deserts looking for something, anything… Kundalini yoga? The late night show?
I found W.
They say that on the ‘Long Dark Night of the Soul’, you will meet your shadow.
“Well hello there, Darkness, my old friend!”
I want to leave a pause here. Because to me, seeing ol’W actually did feel like seeing an old friend. And that feeling shocked saddened and distressed me so much. The same face that had taunted and sickened me, no longer looked so ugly compared to the f*cking broken juggernaut of a cluster-cuss we now call normal.
In his face resides a time, where it wasn’t too late. A distant memory of when hope was still an normal, everyday emotion. Also a time when I was younger, and appropriately more naive. The black and whites of yesteryear had clearer edges.
All these memories, fragments of my internal world came to surface in response to W’s face.
But this time where once I saw a smirk, I now saw a smile.
His features appeared to have softened much like the edges of my imaginary chessboard. Grey areas emerging. But it’s when W began to speak that I completely lost it. Now, I am struggling to find words to define my experience. But here goes:
I was seemingly watching a man who looked like he had made it through a dark tunnel. He appeared humble with his words and with his body language. He joked about himself and yet did not make light of the serious issues. He appeared confident (rather than arrogant) and at peace with something internal and external. And to top it all off, he is now an artist! (?!?!?!)
Dealing with his legacy in the most tangible way I have ever seen! Full on painting. Facing up – He literally makes portraits of veterans.
He is painting the faces of people whom he sent to die and who were injured at his bequest. He ain’t hiding from his truth. Every brush stroke is an admission.
So many strange things were unfolding in front of me, with so little preparation I was struggling to either make sense or to fully absorb what was going on.
Who the f*ck was this guy on the screen and where was W the evil president?
It’s no wonder it broke me. I was witnessing a full on confrontation with my very own demons. This was the ultimate test – Could I bring myself to love my enemy?
Could I be humble enough to question my view, my take on reality? How ever appealing it is to hang on to?
Could I come down and accept that I too, had been judgemental?
Could I allow that the worst thing that ever happened in my youth was no longer the worst thing ever?
All those questions only came after the answer was already revealed, because through the tears of confusion were tears of joy. The answer was there.
In these moments I found myself loving W.
Because I saw in him a human, like me, struggling with what that means. Despite all his flaws (more likely because if all his flaws and mistakes) seeking some sort of resolution.
What seemed most moving was this sense of search – there were no longer any simple answers, sound bites, ‘axis of evil‘. But instead, with the expression of the idiot-savant that he is, he was embodying a new archetype.
The one I needed most right now: Transformation.
This post is really about the absurdity of our times. This is not a message to embrace Tr*mp or to go soul-searching on Youtube. I honestly just needed to share this most weird of transformational experiences.
I seemed to have found my new hope (Star Wars Episode IV). Hiding in a place I would never seek it. I am going to sit with my revelation for some time. But I feel something very deep and fundamental happened to me today. It is personal to me.
But perhaps there is still hope for the human soul?
After all it is a soul (and planet) we all share. Especially with those we most hate.