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  • Writer's pictureBillie Proffitt

The Many Inspirations of Nana

Updated: Aug 12, 2019

I’ve been locked in a horrendous legal battle with an ex for over 4 years now - actually a handful of them, but it’s a long, boring story filled with confusing elements & negative emotions that doesn’t deserve the attention to delve into right now. I include this though, to set the contrasting scene of the beautiful emails I still receive from his grandmother a few times a week.

Nearly a centurion, she is extremely tech-savvy, which is a strange combination & a purely accidental collateral beauty that proves helpful in my work… it’s a rare combination to have a person with so many years on this earth, at a distance half way across the earth, & such accessibility to connect with her, asking her questions & inquiring of her view of the world so effortlessly. I tell her that it is more important for me to hear her truths than for her to shield me from their painful realities. Her sentiments of getting old are similar to a part of my book:

He turned out to be my great-grandfather’s nephew and he was still sharp as a tack. As he went to sit in his chair I offered to help him, but he refused.

“No, no, thank y’a kindly.”

And after a number of minutes sorting the chair’s level and angle a few times with some buttons he made it into it, eventually. A big sigh came and he looked at me very seriously. “It’s a terrible thing, gettin’ old,” he said and I laughed. “I mean it - it is.”

“I know, I believe you,” I said.

Today Nana sent me a kind of mash-up video that included a multitude of animals - mostly they are differing species cuddling one another, not one of them placing a boundary or a caveat due to their phylum in the love & patience they share. And I mean share: the comfort they genuinely give, & the comfort they openly allow themselves to receive - we so easily & hastily overlook the two-way street of what it is to be in a relationship. On top of all my other current pressures in life, this 3-minute distraction easily brought me to tears. I found it strange to see & even feel the world through their visually mismatched relationships, like a dog & an iguana, & a cat laying with it’s 4 little bird friends squirming under & around it’s limbs… these animals who are consciously choosing to love one another regardless.

It’s hard as humans at the top of the food chain to confidently choose love when we have so much control over our lives… Or maybe that’s just how I see it as a middle-class Californian woman in 2018? From my point of view we can simply choose to put ourselves in a different position - change our surroundings to include different people, we can break up with someone to date someone else, take a different job or move to a new location. But the creatures in these mini-movies don’t have that freedom to just go out & find a friend who looks more like them or whose skin feels more like their own: this situation is what god gave them & they can either spend their life fighting, or they can accept & love that other creature as their companion.

But where is the elusive line between acceptance & compassion for what is, & striving to create an environment for ourselves that is more naturally on the same wavelength? When do we rob ourselves an opportunity to overcome differences to make the stagnant better & when do those intrinsic differences hold us back from fulfilling our greatest potentials outside the box?

Obviously my tears are not about the pet friends in the videos.

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