I will always think of her as the young girl who was an amazing gymnast. The one who studied Japanese and wrote me letters with purple ink and bubbly-girly letters. She was my cousin, and she is gone now. Drug overdose.
In life, I have heard the phrase,”You are your own worst enemy.” Now, with a few years behind me, I have witnessed that phrase in action over and over again. We create complicated scenarios and ensnare ourselves in them. Sometimes the one truth that could set us free is just simply the one thing we’ve not wanted to face within ourselves. So to keep from facing that truth, our psyche goes through tremendous machinations – weaving a complex web of rules and defenses, and later in our lives we become caught in the web we’ve spun for ourselves.
Is there another way? Perhaps. But then in our society we have woven a completely different web. One we actually teach our children about – we try to explain how to navigate it, prepare for living in it, and in some cases to just accept it. But over time, it just keeps getting harder and harder to deal with all the different webs – the interwebz, the government, corporations, religion, family, special interests, the list goes on. So even if there was another way to approach our personal lives, there’s a web outside of that, making sure we stay entangled.
It’s fascinating to grow older and see what wisdom will bring. But how I felt about my cousin, I find, is how I feel about each and every one of us. Surely, without the web, all would be in complete boundless chaos… so always we must seek the balance between boundaries and freedom. But lately, I’ve become aware of so many more boundaries… thought patterns being forced upon me, upon my children, upon all of us by what? Or by whom?
I think the answer now is, there is no one easy place to point a finger. Society did not kill my cousin. She was loved. She was, somewhere behind the person she became, still the same person inside. I just feel that, it is the year 2010. We spew out terabytes of data daily, we can use search engines to mine that and dig up almost anything we could think to ask, but we cannot help someone find themselves when they become lost.
In the end, I just think it gets so complicated that some of us lose ourselves in ourselves. Maybe we all do over time – maybe that’s supposed to be part of the journey. I’ve just walked in a circle…I don’t know if it spiraled upward or downward. Like so many other times in my life, all I know is I have arrived somewhere different. Where I am, I cannot pick-up the phone and call my cousin, or email her, or tell her it will be OK. I always thought there would be a day when I would get to make that call or write that email – even if it was just to say,”It’s been 15 years, but hello!” Why didn’t I? Maybe, like her, I’m my own worst enemy.
I won’t end this by saying I hope it helps someone else, or reminding everyone that they need to pick up the phone, email or visit the people in their lives. We all know that already. Right? I keep thinking I have it down…and then I keep being reminded that apparently, I don’t.
I am sorry, cousin, that I didn’t take 15min out of the last 15 years to say hi while you were here. I am sorry that, even after all the times I’ve lived this lesson, I still only realize what is missing after it is gone. You will be missed by many, but may you be at peace now.