There are marquee moments to this life, the highlight reel fodder we can almost imagine as cinematically shot, well lit, sunset glow and slow motion emotion. Our birth, our first day of school, first kiss, first hand held, first fight, first black eye, first breakup, last goodbye. From graduations to weddings, birth of children, promotion at work, first time on an airplane, first steps on foreign soil, we tell ourselves we’re defined by these events, these moments, these memories. In many ways, we are, and I know this to be true. These big deal events can shape us, they can be the catalyst for great change, they can be the start or end of something that has summed up our existence for many years, sometimes. But, and oh yes, I believe there is a but…
I believe, wholeheartedly and sincerely, that it’s the moments between these stand out headlining moments, that truly tell the story. I believe it’s the little things, the ‘normal’ days, the monumental mountain of mundanity, that explains who we are, what we are, how we live, and most importantly, the WHY behind it all. The why, the elusive why that when we come to death, explains who we’ve been. The why that gets us out of bed, that keeps us trying, fighting, hoping, living, even when we feel like we’re just about out of reasons to stick around. The why is shown in the day to day, in the times we’re not off galavanting around some foreign country, not getting the promotions or saying the vows, when we’re us, unembellished, raw, completely ordinary in the best of ways.
The strange thing is, this last year more than any that any of us can recall, highlighted all of that with such savage efficiency. This 2020/2021 was the giant Pause button of the universe, the Thanos snap that shut all things down, took so many from us, and left all of us wrestling with mortality, with fear, with anxiety on a scale unrivaled. We were shown, in so many ways, what matters when all those marquee moments are forced to wait. When those are taken away, robbed from beneath our anxious noses, we’re shown what remains in stark contrast, the life that hides behind the life we show off on social media and sits quietly in the background, waiting for some other kind of realization to wash over us. That we are not the highlight reel, we are the months and years and million minutes that exist between the clips we feel are worthy enough to dig out and splice together. We are what we do not show.
What this time has shown me, more than almost all things, is what it is I need to find the happiness we’re all seeking, that I’ve been seeking. I thought, before all this, joy had a certain color, a hue that I could recognize in a sea of other color, and in many ways, I was right, but it was not painted how I thought it was painted. It’s simpler, much, it’s more like the life I just was forced to live, only somewhere else, it’s simpler, smaller, it’s braver, it’s softer, and I will be damned if it’s not a hell of a lot quieter. The real story of who I am, who I will be, who I have always wanted to become, was hidden in plain sight all this time.
My question to you is also simple: Who are you, really? Behind the bright shiny moments lit up and glowing, who are you? What is the story all your background details tell?
All that lives between
the moments that define us
tell the real story.
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