I recently read an interview with Alan Cumming where he talked about how, when he was in the southwest and watched tumbleweeds tumbling by it made him think about how life is like that, like a tumbleweed, and how we pick up bits and pieces of experiences, of the people and the places we see, and carry them around forever…It made me think of how we keep adding to our tumbleweeds as we grow older. We pick up debris from bad relationships, bad jobs, accidents or tragedies, and it piles right up next to the joyful laughter, the excited and upbeat life events, the successes and the good fortune, all together in a tangle that we call our life.
I think if we were to take apart the tumbleweed that is our story, unravel the knot, we would all find some beauty and some beast; no one, at least I am pretty sure no one is, is immune to bad things, we all have had some terrible experience at one time or another…I know people who have suffered childhood abuse, I know people who have suffered accidents, deaths of loved ones, unimaginable recoveries both the mental and the physical, seemingly insurmountable obstacles that somehow they overcame and grew into adults and all of those things are part of their life story…all of those bad things are jammed right next to births of healthy beautiful babies, first homes, fantastic job opportunities, deeply meaningful friendships…REALLY really good stuff rolled around with the REALLY really icky stuff. All in a tumbleweed of who they are. You can’t take yourself out of the equation of what adds up to what has become your life.
The thing about a tumbleweed is that you can’t really see what’s deep inside unless you dissect it. They are jam packed with everything that has gathered up inside of them along the way. Much like the prettiest house that might be on your street, but the inside looks like some kind of insane chaos from Grey Gardens, or the Hollywood beautiful couple whose Instagram is filled with beautiful clothes and meals and trips, but neither of them likes the other and they are bewildered with what happened to their lives, to their plans, to them…The outside is not indicative of the inside. The depths of our tumbleweeds, the core, is really what makes us “US” when you think about it. Our most authentic selves are wrapped up with the deepest parts of our experiences and our pasts. Both the good and the not good events are the basis of who we are, no matter how we might try to run from some of them over the decades of our lives.
I am definitely feeling that I am at a chapter of my life where I have no interest in trying to decipher WHY I think like I do, or WHY things matter to me, I just know what sits right with me, what I think is right and wrong with the world and the people in it and I try to live in a way that does not assault my own soul. I like to lie on my pillow at night and know that I have lived well and cared well and feel at peace with who I am, how I think, and how I interact with those around me. My tumbleweed is filled with knots and clusters of things that happened in my life that have made me think like I do and I don’t really care about the “why” of any of it anymore, I just know what feels “off” to me and what doesn’t and I will go forth with that, doing and thinking what sits right with my spirit, what makes me shine and shimmer, and boy anybody who knows me knows I love the sparkles and the glitters of life, and what feels dull to me, and makes me dreary, or makes me feel clouded, well, it’s a hard ‘no’ now…I’ll pass if I don’t think it will feel good to my mind or my body. This vessel, this tumbleweed, is the only one I have and I want it to last me a while longer, so I will tend to it as best I can. It may just be a weed, but even weeds often have pretty flowers.