“Well I’ve been goin’ through the motions
Wonder if anyone can see
That I been lookin’ for somethin’
Have you been lookin’ for me”
– Alabama Shakes
I gather no moss. Whether the sun is shining out of my ass or the world is falling around my ears, I won’t miss a beat. My habit is to stay low and keep firing. Arms fell off? Keep firing. Gone blind? Keep firing. Spontaneous combustion? Keep firing. I may spend five minutes on whatever minutiae took me down, then I’m back to firing. Because I’m strong…or whatever nonsense du jour that fueled my ego.
My mother always told me, for as long as I can remember, “Keep getting ready.” If you have a goal, don’t let anyone or anything stop you. On its face, it’s good advice, which I took to heart. As a result, I’ve received some of my greatest blessings in what would seem to outsiders as my darkest moments. But even when I lost my mom, I was at church the next day, out and about with my friends, and back to business as usual within a week. I afforded myself some semblance of grief and healing, but I never stayed still. Those things would happen while I was on the move.
“Mel keeps going.” Everyone quits everything, but not me. I am the cheese, and the cheese stands alone. I never consciously stop. I stop when I crash. Then I lie and call it self-care. Tenacity is an admirable quality, but not when it becomes pathological. Getting older has made me reexamine my habits. I’ve had to parse out what fuels my never quit personality; whether it’s necessity (most of it), ambition (a lot of it), or appearance and ego (still, a lot of it). It’s the last one that bothers me. I don’t want to let the mythical “them” (work, careless people, enemies *spooky ghost noises*) know “they” got to me. It’s a silly, performative act that serves nothing. It all got to me. As a result, I move differently, which isn’t entirely a bad thing.
Behind all of my words, I’m a real person who is just trying to get it right before the Big Sleep. I get hurt, scared, and I do my best to protect my vulnerabilities. I also fuck up. A lot. Even players have been known to do that from time to time. I’m not going to live a life of quiet apology for being human. I am going to take times of pain and pause for a minute for the sake of growth. Maybe a little moss ain’t so bad.