I received a request to repost this one, which is very good to hear since this is the premise of my book…. which has admittedly been put on hold for a spell, due to the whole ‘trying to piece my life back together’ thing.
I contemplated adapting it to the present tense, but decided it could possibly be an offering of hope… or induce fear, depending on your vantage point.
I wrote this in the thick of a heartbreak that made anything that came before seem like a minor scratch. And although I am not where I had hoped I would be 9 months later, it might provide some sort of solace to know that there were a few other events that happened simultaneously, delaying my arrival to the finish line I keep hoping will emerge.
God, wouldn’t that be amazing? If there was this definitive line drawn, one we could see off in the distance that would confirm that every excruciating step was a tangible progression towards arriving on the other side, both feet planted firmly on the ground with no fear of that next step being negated by the two you just took back…yet again.
I wish I could tell you I was there, basking in the glory of victory, heart intact, fear nowhere to be seen. I’m not, not quite, but I’m close. And on a good day, I can almost hear the crowd cheering in the distance as I watch one more mile marker go by, signaling my arrival is imminent and there is in fact, hope.
But most importantly, she has returned, our protagonist. She never technically left, but I tend to forget how unruly she is and always write her off when she doesn’t show up how I want her to…
Definition of Magic (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
“An extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source. Something that seems to cast a spell.”
I find a sense of irony is trying to define magic, just as I do with attempts to define love or evil or god. These all have very different meanings that are dependent on each person’s beliefs and experiences. But, this is what makes us human, I suppose. Our inherent need to define all that is around us, to place all things firmly and tangibly into reality, it is what I believe to be one of the worst tragedies; most things clearly defined leave little room for the extraordinary.
Of all things intangible, magic might very well be the most elusive. It is a very real force that influences almost every moment of our childhood, allowing us to navigate our world curious, uninhibited, full of wonder, and open to every possibility. But this elusive force will inevitably succumb to its nemesis. We all must grow up, right? We all must face reality.
So, like most people, Magic eluded me for decades, until reality had sucked all the life out of me, and I realized that the only one who could save me had gone missing.
Magic means different things for different people. It can be the thrill you feel when you throw your hands up and plunge down a roller coaster, when you hold your newborn baby in your arms, when you reunite with an old friend or laugh so hard you cry. And, it can be the spark you feel when you meet the love of your life. Perhaps you don’t think of those things as ‘magic’. Maybe you label them as joy or happiness or fleeting moments of emotion. I guess they can be those things, too. I just see them as magic.
I know that experiencing those things and realizing they are precious moments that should be sought out regularly just gets harder to do when we are older. We have responsibilities, distractions, stress and anxiety. We are in jobs we hate or relationships that aren’t working. We have been hurt and betrayed, disappointed and rejected. We become cynical, jaded and complacent. And there is just no place for magic there.
But every once in a while, you encounter that person who has found it. This person exudes it and it is contagious. You want to be around them as much as possible, you want to feel what they feel. You want it to work its way into you. But they haven’t been through what you have, right? They don’t have the same past and stress and pain as you do. You would be ‘happy’ or ‘carefree’ or feel that magic, too, if you weren’t in the life that yours has become. I can’t tell you how many times I have chalked it all up to that. I judge those people. I resent them….and I so envy them.
So, there I was, in my beautiful home, with my amazing husband, my precious dog, and my stable job. And I felt like the life was being sucked out of me. And now I question what everyone does after they completely blow their life up. Was I just completely selfish? Did I just not appreciate what I had? Is this the whole ‘grass is greener, holy grail’ thing? Maybe. Well let me be clear, the grass is not greener where I am sitting right now. In fact, I have never been in more pain and felt more hopeless than I have over the past 6 months.
But I can’t pretend it didn’t happen. It was magic, even if I was the only one who truly felt it. And it changed me, making it impossible to settle for anything less.
And so I’m back to the place where I spend most of my time, teetering between cynicism and steadfast conviction. I found it, the one who went missing. And as fleeting as it was, it was undeniable, filling in the empty spaces that had rendered me a slave to comfortable and safe. It was as if someone had pushed play and all the parts of me that had been dormant for years- that had craved inspiration, intense connection and the kind of love that made the thought of its absence unbearable- all came alive, all at once, and there was simply no going back.
But my god, the utter devastation that followed, the acute turned chronic pain that is so consuming the only way through is to try like hell to feel nothing at all. How could I not question whether it was magic at all, and if such a thing even exists. It feels like I’m being forced to walk after finally learning how to fly.
To make things even more confusing, in those rare moments of clarity, I can get a glimpse of what might have actually been missing, that intangible thing I have been searching for. I think it might possibly be that little girl who always sought it out, magic, and worked like hell to bring it to everything she did. I lost her. She conformed and opted for ‘normal’ and ‘safe’ instead. As much as I wish I was, I’m just not these things. And it turns out, these are the things that most people choose. Perfect, right? I found what was missing and lost everything in the process.
So, that’s it. Sorry, but no ‘magical’ words of wisdom come to mind to share. I am a bit nervous, to be honest. If there was a time for me to be jaded, this would be it. What if I already am? What if the cynicism sticks? Is there no going back? Is this just how it’s going to feel from here on out?
No idea. So I do the only thing I can at this point. I get up in the morning. I try to do things that used to make my happy. I force a smile and initiate conversation. And I try to do what seems to work for most…I try to face reality.
Maybe there really is no such thing as magic.