First Class to Freakin' February-Chilly Tennessee
One of the things I remember most vividly about my childhood on American Airlines was the blessing of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies when lucky enough to fly first... Or the torture of smelling them when (as was more often) not.
I was banking on those this morning so intrinsically that I didn’t nab a preemptive chocolate treat at Starbucks on my way to LAX for later consumption on the plane when my anxiety takes over. Oh, I'm not afraid of flying, not at all - I actually sleep best whilst moving. But this was a dawn flight, and my current reality is a life filled with limbo and limbo after limbo shit-show's - a clusterfuck mess of "if-then's, but if-then-this-then-that's" all mostly entirely out of my control. Then, (and I know, I know, I should have known better to predict the possibilities abound of Murphy’s Law!) I was told the fresh-baked first class chocolate chip cookies aren’t served on morning flights that include the breakfast menu.
“Pretzels instead?” The beautiful flight attendant named Carly offered me instead after breakfast in her gorgeous Southern drawl.
“No, thank you, but if you come across any sweets, I’m in!” I cheerily quipped back with a laugh and got settled back into my flick as she continued on with her basket of beautiful rainbow pretzel bags.
I watched one and a half movies on the flight: Juliette, Naked - which was laugh-out-loud funny-awesome and made me miss London, and Blaze - which I constantly want to keep copying quotes down from. My favorite?
“Confidence is a consolation prize for knowing that you’re alive.”
That’s some heavy-hitting, mind-altering stuff right there, especially when coupled with the monologue that follows Ben Dickey’s hearty laugh... his character is a massive man of music - both stature and legend, half-naked in a cabin in the wilderness as he both bares his soul and beautifully fucks the woman he's in love with: *ordering finger high up in the air* "I'll have what she's having, please."
As a sidenote for the record, there was absolutely no rhyme, reason or even consciousness to the fact that I ended up with an Ethan Hawke double-feature so early in the morning: just randomly honored with it by the universe, I guess? Although I often get that I look like a younger Uma Thurman, so maybe it was in the stars for me on a Freudian level. Doesn’t matter, coincidence is not the point of this story...
Before I know it I get a tap on my shoulder in the physical world (as opposed to the ephemeral one I usually dwell in, in my mind) as Carly waves. “Sug’a, I brought you somethin’ sweet...” and as her hand extended outward I found a young, very handsome male flight attendant smiling back at me - and I’m pretty sure by vibes that this man is straight. Oh god. Is my forsaken sex life so obvious to others? (Notwithstanding my usual quarterly calls to an ex to alleviate the frustration, of course…)
I must have turned 9 shades of bright red as I could feel the heat emanating from my face and the air coming in from my open jaw. He saved me from my speechless embarrassment by opening both his hands in front of him to reveal three packs of Biscoff cookies and man did I laugh - we all laughed... I took the cookies very quickly, thanking them, and turned to wallow in my embarrassment alone, in the privacy of my own over-ear headphones.
To then ruminate again on that line from Blaze about feeling alive though, I realized the nervous discomfort the interaction brought to my body reminded me that I too felt more alive. I was grateful to have the shared moment, even if I couldn’t figure out why - I mean why? It made no sense; mortification is generally regarded as a “negative” emotion, I don’t enjoy it, I don’t think most people do... But somehow from it, there was something bigger. Was it the joy of having a body that works on instinct, that is capable of blushing? Or something deeper? No, some thingssssss deeper. (It's never just one answer in life - it's so complicated being a grown up!)
So many of us unconsciously hold onto unconscious old pain patterns creating more situations that allow the same terrible feelings to build up in us as similar scenarios play out, (yes, you guessed it) unconsciously. I believe this happens when we haven’t healed the underlying issues... but when breaking these patterns through learning and awareness, we release the ugly feelings in us, recognize the pitfalls and feel better. Live better, relate better - pretty much do everything in life better.
So long as we don’t get stuck in unproductive patterns, (IE: like choosing to invest in men who are not the right fit...) or maybe even more-so as we live through the journey and processes of breaking those unhealthy, unnoticed habits that do exist in us, (because that shit is pretty much constant), then these agonies actually can become our comrades. Can’t recognize the darkness without the light, right? Like the Khalil Gibran line from The Prophet’s chapter On Pain: “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.”
Mercury’s in retrograde for all of March, and it seems the question my dear friend and Soul Hacker, Tana Ingels, asked me yesterday will be in full, agonizing focus: “What sets your soul on fire?”
What pains do I find worth enduring - which laughs are worth the embarrassment - which juices are worth the squeezes? The answers are here inside me, I just need to slow my roll down with Mercury enough to find them, feel them, examine them…
And then let them go.