Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Spanish Steps are in Rome

It's often difficult to write about experiences mid-experience. How can one be truly present and in the moment whilst continually drafting the next story in his or her mind? (Listen. I'm just going to use terms such as "whilst" because I'm pretty sure they're very impressive. If I'm wrong, I don't want to be right.) Honestly, how? Shut up. It's impossible. That's why I can't find ways to inject moments from my life that everyone has been begging me to write about until long after they've passed.

Remember when everything mattered so much? When the whole world was surely paying very close attention to you, especially whether or not your legs were too hairy? Remember?

I found myself, eight or so years ago, sitting on the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy, Tiramisu Gelato dripping down my hand and wrist, chocolate in the corner of my mouth gaping just enough...watching the children splash each other in the fountain at the bottom of the steps. Of COURSE I was watching children play in a fountain in ROME. I swear I'm not being overly sentimental. These are the kinds of things that happen in these places. It is ridiculous.

So I'm sitting there, sticky, mouth breathing, chocolate all over my face, just like that kid in junior high that was in love with me...the one I could NEVER take seriously because the amount of chocolate on his face was never his first order of business when it came to impressing upon me the level of his admiration, which, for me, was a death sentence. Because what my face looked like...the number of boogers in my nose, the placement of my hair, was far more important than how delicious the chocolate  I was eating was, or how gorgeous the day was. GOD IN HEAVEN those things meant so much in those days. The terror of looking a little out of place outweighed everything I loved/wanted to love about life.

Of course it's not until we truly understand the power of that weight that we can live without it. And we have to respect that power because, as Dr. Ellie Satler so eloquently states in one of the greatest films of all time, "You never [have] control. That's the illusion. I was overwhelmed by the power...But I made a mistake too. I didn't have enough respect for that power and it's out now." What else is Jurassic Park if not a tale of the Everyman, struggling to control the outcome of his existence? We proudly state, "I have found a way to achieve happiness through meticulous attention to detail!" Except instead of being happy, we just hate everyone, especially ourselves, and we invite our friends to the party only to have to watch them be hunted down by our demons, ripped to shreds in a tropical storm, or blinded, paralyzed, and eaten alive by tiny lizards. Spoiler alert, the old guy dies in the book.

The weight is a gift, and as soon as we acknowledge it and respect it, it lifts from us. And we find ourselves on the Spanish Steps in Rome, covered in chocolate, giggling at kids in a freaking fountain. And it's AMAZING.

OR...we never give it any respect, and we get hunted and eaten by a Velociraptor.

*I may have taken a few things from that quote out of context so as to bend its meaning to my own will. You're cool with that? Right?

*Also, see any comma splices? Let me know. Thanks in advance!

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