I missed the Civil War
My timing, frankly, is shit.
And I don’t think I’ll be here for the Big Show either. You know, when the world falls apart? I won’t lead people to freedom from a post-apocalypse hellscape and I won’t see us beat cancer on the Jumbotron. I won’t make it to the Hologram Peace Treaties in the Middle East and I’ll never know a world where it isn’t terrifying just to live alone as a woman. Plastic is here to stay. It literally can’t go anywhere. And honestly, the fact that a six-pack ring will be blowing in the wind on some trash island in the ocean long after I’m dead is fucking depressing. I wish I could say I didn’t think about that all the time. But I do.
I know my life appears selfish and foolish, I know that. But I also know that it looks that way to people who don’t waste their time thinking about how they never got to charge down Little Round Top or scrap together rent with Lena Dunham. My whole life I’ve thought about the heroes and artists I’ve missed out on, am missing out on right now, and the cruel circumstances of being mediocre in a world humming with genius and art. So, that's the first problem.
The second? Get this. Every morning I wake up I think, really think, this might be it. Everyone knows on some level they are going to die, but once I learned about that as a child I never stopped expecting it. It’s changed me more than any heartbreak, horse, or cross-country drive. I’ve been expecting my own death so long that I won’t even confirm casual plans with friends when they ask if I’ll be at their parties the following week. Who could possibly know how long we’ll get to keep our imaginary infinities? Why jinx it? So when someone asks me if I’ll see them tomorrow or meet them for lunch I always say the same damn thing.
“That’s the plan.”
Saying "thats the plan" is safe. It doesn't assume or hope. It reminds me that there is a very good chance some vital organ could quit, a drunk driver could side-swipe me, or any other of the endless cold opens from Six Feet Under could befall. I'm a bag of electricity and meat that wishes more than she has any right to; to matter to strangers.
I’m lucky though. That I'll admit. I am alive. I’m here, now, in this weird moment in time when anything is possible. When a woman can live alone on the side of a mountain milking dairy goats and then vlog about it to thousands of people in the same day. I get to be this new kind of asshole, a Selective Time Traveler. My home office is littered with draft horse collars and falconry equipment next to laptops and iPods. A government employee delivers records to my door I ordered from a small robotic rectangle that that connects to the internet in my sheep pasture. This shit is bananas.
And I get to be alive the same time Patrick Rothfuss is writing Day 3 and Anna Kendrick sang Still Hurting in The Last Five Years. The American Empire is still kicking in full force. I can buy a pony or percocet in the same day, which you could not do in any pinpoint on the timeline. I get to watch Jennifer Lawrence dance with Bradley Cooper and know with absolute certainty that in this same lifetime that I am able to rewind their memories on flatscreens, they are both living the same small life —sitting down tonight in their respective homes or hotel couches—just as scared as I am of being surpassed by six-pack rings. They missed the Renaissance, too.
I’m nobody compared to the heroes and history books. I’ll never get to buy Rossalind Russel a drink. but unlike most of the people immortalized in ink or film, I’ve still here. I’m here and in this freakish time where war isn’t being waged outside my house and I don’t have to worry about being eaten alive by a saber-toothed tiger on my way to the bathroom.
My timing, frankly, is perfect.
I hope I get another day tomorrow. That sounds so corny, I know, but the fear is real. My fear of a small, short, life is exactly why I am trying to live a larger one. It's why I am on this farm. Why I am trying to keep it so desperately. It’s easy to fool people into thinking you're brave when you’re just terrified of regret. Anything you ever thought I did out of courage was done because I can't stop seeing that six-pack ring floating in red water. Do not confuse that for fear. I do not fear death, but it is the avatar holding up the carrot on the stick.
I am grateful I don’t share the pride that haunts people who think they’ll live long enough to be thought less of by strangers. It’s why I didn’t hesitate to ride the horse I didn’t deserve and love a man that didn’t deserve me. This mess of a woman, who is writing to you sober as a judge, is the only person I ever want to be. If I’m lucky I get a little more time and I’ll stumble into the magic people who value all the hollow pieces inside me at the same time they make them go away.
I don’t wish that any of you reading this start waking up tomorrow scared or anxious. But I do hope you realize we’re all just dancing on borrowed time, in the slot we’ve been given by a drunk lottery, and it’s all wrapping up pretty quick. And I’m going to get up in the morning and figure out what it will take to keep the lights on, the house warm, the words loose, and the liquor cabinet stocked.
At least that’s the plan.