Dear Lily June,
When I fell in love for the first time, with a best-friend-disastrously-turned-boyfriend named Brett, he told me that he believed every moment, in its singularity, lasts forever–that some part of us always exists in that point in time, even when our lives and their daily events have carried us days and decades beyond it. For that reason, I started tracing the infinity symbol into his forearm, a way of communicating that my love for him would last forever.
In some ways, it has; the person I became and the definitions and expressions of love I knew and grew in that relationship continue to shape my perceptions of my life and love to this day. But because I rarely think about Brett beyond a passing and usually bittersweet memory–and because the depth of love I hold for your father extends into you, a way of continuing our love beyond our own mortality–in some ways, my love for Brett was less like a symbol of infinity, and more like the symbol of ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail.
With Brett, I was so concerned with moving forward, and I waited for years for him to want the same, to put the symbol of that kind of forever–a ring–onto my finger. It was never what he wanted, and that snake circled back to bite the both of us, consuming any hope of a future we might have had.
With your father, we wanted the same things, and we were, in that way, like Antoine de Exupery’s vision of love when he wrote,
“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”
Though both of us had been broken by past relationships–and had had to do the hard work of making ourselves whole again–there was a hole in both of our hearts that the other had to fill before we could truly contemplate what it meant to be infinite.
The symbol of infinity, then, with its two complete circles that run into each other and back into their own curves again, feels more fitting for the life we’ve made ourselves, and in our combination–of hearts, bodies, hopes–you have made us “infinite,” a promise I made to your father when I first, and finally, fell in love with him forever. “Loving me will make you immortal,” I told him, and in you, Lily, that promise comes to fruition. “I won’t fuck you up,” your father said as his vow when he got down onto one knee and proposed. And he hasn’t, Lily, nor can I ever imagine his kind heart capable of breaking mine that beats for his.
We are all of us vulnerable creatures, and so the concepts of love–and infinity–of being boundlessly bound to one another forever, are terrifying ones that some dismiss as futile fairy tale. But I choose to believe in the possibility and inextricability of both because, no matter what happens between your father and I, no matter what occurs in the relationships we both share and cultivate individually with you–no matter if we should divorce, or if one of of us should die, or any of the many things in life that split the living apart, some part of us is, always and right now, in this moment where you are reading these words and attempting to comprehend what love and life and eternity mean to you.
How’s that for a heavy Friday afternoon post that’s just supposed to be a puff piece where I accept the Infinity Dreams award that the incredibly kind blogger behind Shit Happens 2 U nominated me for?! Thank you, truly, deeply, for the nom, lady. I’m sorry it took me an infinite amount of time to finally answer you!
The rules for the Infinity Dreams Award are:
- Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back.
- Post the award badge and rules.
- Tell 11 facts about yourself.
- Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.
- Nominate 11 other bloggers and set questions for them.
11 Facts about Me That Will Always Be True
1) I believe–and have since I had an understanding of it–in the power of language. I believe that words, whether spoken, written or even just thought, hold more power to create and destroy than any womb or weapon. Because of that, I believe we are responsible for what we say and should be careful to only say what we mean. When we don’t, we should mean our apologies.
2) I have two biggest fears: One is being invisible, completely ignored, unacknowledged and unseen. The other is having all attention focused on me. Obviously, I’m also a firm believer in irony.
3) Pizza. Just that–noun, verb, subject, predicate. I pizza pizza.
4) There is nothing anyone could do to me that I couldn’t forgive, given a true apology. I will never cut another human being out of my life again, having done that in the past with loved ones and found that their absences hurt more than their painful presences in my life. That being said, if anyone ever harms you? They’re dead to me, Lily.
5) Coffee. Just that–noun, verb, subject, predicate. I coffee coffee.
6) I believe that to make people laugh requires more depth and intelligence than to make them cry. I aspire to be a funny person.
7) I am worried. At any given moment, at any given time, I will always be worried about something. You should call me to let me know you’re okay, Lily. And if you can’t call for any reason, whisper the fact to the skies.
8) Worry is the way I love. Forgive me this, Lily.
9) I am too serious for my own good sometimes. I take a joke too far sometimes. Obviously, I’m a firm believer in irony. Also, I’m a believer in the idea that anything worth saying is worth saying twice.
10) I’m also a believer in the idea that, once you say something three times, you truly mean it and can never take it back. I love you. I love you. I love you, Lily.
11) No matter how old I get, I am still a scared little girl. Whenever I’ve done something that doesn’t make any sense to you, refer to #11.
The Answers to 8 Questions Posed by Shit Happens 2 U
Q: Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey?
A: Without question, Whitney Houston. Like any person, she wrestled with her demons. Like any artist, she wrestled with her angel, too. But I’ll take soul over pop any day. And the fact that, in the 90’s, Yu Youhan made a famous diptych painting of her juxtaposed with Chairman Mao to call into question how celebrity is built in the Eastern vs. the Western worlds, and what the repercussions of that are in both locations? Mariah Carey’s balloon-depleting screech ain’t got nothin’ on that. Also, I just really like how she belts “I will always love you” out.
Q: Why do you blog?
A: I’ve answered this question before, with other awards and in my About section. The real question is Why do I write to you, Lily? The truest answer is this: It started as my way to save your life. It continues to save mine.
Q: How do you feel about bacon?
A: Once, in a grease-dipped diner in Alabama called Bottomfeeders–which doesn’t even exist anymore–I was able to order the best damn BLT of my life. For breakfast. And, like Stephen Chbosky’s narrator declares in The Perks of Being a Wallflower,
“…in that moment, I swear, we were infinite.”
Who is the we? Me. Me and that bacon.
Q: If you could be trapped in an elevator for 30 minutes with anyone, who would you want it to be?
A: The maintenance worker responsible for fixing the elevator. I think it’s generous that I’m going to give him/her the length of a sitcom to get us moving again.
Q: What would be your superhero name?
A: We can’t all be superheroes. Somebody has to stand on the sidelines and clap as they go by. Clap on, clap off, I. Am. The Clapper.
Q: Cat or dog?
A: Cat. No question. I am not indiscriminately friendly, and I don’t want my animal to be more congenial than me. I also like the idea of a pet who can eat your corpse if you end up dying alone. A dog would just sit there all loyally and whine beside your body. A cat would consume you and steal your power. That’s my kind of beast.
Q: How would your close friends describe you?
A: As a cat person.
Q: How do you want to be remembered?
A: I really only care about being remembered by one person, and that’s you, Lily. I hope you remember me in any way that brings you joy–with no pain, or grief, or regret. If you’re reading this at a time where all you have of me is your memories, I sincerely hope each one was a sweet one. I sincerely hope your last memory isn’t of my cold flesh being eaten by our cat, Sandy, like a Bottomfeeders breakfast BLT.
And the Nominees Are…
- Shajji of Paper Boats–who I encourage to follow her passion and art, which there is infinite room for in this world, and in your heart, regardless of what anyone tries to tell you;
- Debbie Diljak of REINVENTING ME–who shares my affinity for cats and who I hope saves a lot for me on Cat Lady Lane on “the Other Side;”
- Gemma Samuels of After Eli–whose bravery and recovery in the face of losing a child in utero is a heartbreaking beauty to behold;
- bjaybrooks of The Happy Traveler–whose travelling and retirement I covet in equal measures;
- Alyson & Reeanna of simple as it should be–whose tagline that mothers should be “not only in the home but also in the world” inspires me;
- Shreya of VitaminBS–whose blog I hope has real nutritive value as a supplement, because I’ve been chewing on its topics regularly lately, and I’m having these weird side effects…;
- Shelley of Life in My Tin Can–whose stories of being a mother, foster mother, and bird mother are all equally interesting;
- Andra of Affinity Now–who balances being an MBA with being an MOM in truly remarkable ways;
- Bun Karyudo–who owns and operates one of the funniest blog machines ever. If Mark Twain and David Sedaris found a way to biologically create a child, and that child grew up to be a man with his own children who wrote a blog…;
- Nena of Younfolded–whose blog, and its author, are beautiful in all the ways that word can be true;
- love, yates–whose blog’s “happy lists” really and truly inspired me to look at the world in a different way.
And My Questions, for Them, and For You, Lily, Are
- What are your feelings about the concept of “infinity”? Does it scare you? Excite you? Annoy you? Some combination of the three?
- What’s the biggest irony of your life? (No Morrisette references, please.)
- In the battle between pizza and coffee, who wins?
- What do you worry about?
- Who do you love? (No Thorogood references, please.)
- What do you fear?
- How would you complete the sentence, No matter how old I get, I am still…?
- How would you complete the sentence, No matter my current age, I will always..?
- “Screenshot Recursion via vlc” by vlc team, ubuntu, Hidro (talk). Licensed under GPL via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Screenshot_Recursion_via_vlc.png#/media/File:Screenshot_Recursion_via_vlc.png
- “BLT sandwich (1)”. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BLT_sandwich_(1).jpg#/media/File:BLT_sandwich_(1).jpg