learning to fly


what i really need to ask you right now is this: who will catch you when you fall?

you will fall. metaphorically or literally. you will fall down. (we all fall down.) bad shit happens. this world is fragile and you are fragile and everyone you love is fragile. there's no cure that will save you forever because there is no forever.

and awesome shit happens, too, but today i am thinking about falling down because this weekend i literally fell and hurt myself, because i was so tired. i was walking down stairs and i misstepped, slamming backwards onto my ass and then hit my head as i slid down the rest of the stairs. wake up call, indeed.

so i could ask myself, who will catch me when i fall?

there's the obvious: my love woke up immediately (it was his morning to sleep in) and rushed to my aid. i had already picked myself up, but he came downstairs to check my pupils and quiz me on restaurants we used to go to ten years ago (restaurants are a frequent topic of conversation at our house, so this isn't quite as strange as it sounds and it was a fun way to take my mind off having fallen down a staircase that i've walked up and down at least three times a day for the past almost three years.)

but wait, he didn't actually catch me. he was awesome and helped me, but who will catch me when i fall?

remy was already downstairs when i fell and he rushed over to try to help, saying "sorry! i didn't mean to!" as if he had caused my tripping, and i had this awful moment of realization yet again that he's in danger of inheriting my both his parent's "good child" complex, taking responsibility for things he really doesn't need to take responsibility for. (and yet, at the same time, he still kicks people "on accident" because he's not quite secure in what is fantasy and what is reality.) i still have to help remy. i assured him he didn't cause my fall (because he hadn't. it was entirely my own misstep.)

but wait. who will catch me when i fall?

the other obvious answer is, me. i have to catch myself. but i had already fallen, and time didn't stand still so instead and i picked myself up and walked to the kitchen (a little bent over because my bottom was sore) to get a glass of water.

dig deeper, though. who will catch me when i fall?

i am a spiritual, religious person, but i do not believe in a g-d who catches people personally. i do not believe in a personal savior. i believe in oneness, in the merging of self and entirety, but that's not gonna help me when i slide down a staircase at 6 am in the morning on a saturday after i've had four hours of sleep. who will catch me when i fall?

who will catch me? 

no one.

no one. no one caught me. and i was fine. (and if i hadn't been fine, no one would have caught me either.) no one caught me and that was completely and utterly ok. (and even if i hadn't been ok it still would have been ok, eventually) i fell and i slid and then i was done sliding and i got up and walked up and no one caught me. no one needed to catch me.

no one needed to catch me because falling - while dangerous - isn't something you can stop. not really, not when you look past the obvious and see down to the metaphor. we are all going to fall and there is no one to stop the fall and no one to catch us and no one to pick us up, after.

just the ground. the ground below you (which maybe, let's say metaphorically is everything) to catch you, to stop that falling. this isn't deep space, you aren't going off into free fall. there's ground beneath your feet, same as everyone else. how long a fall that is, that's up to you.

maybe the fall has to happen, in order to get back to the ground. (everything.) maybe no one can catch you because you have to let everything catch you instead.

maybe the real secret is that it isn't falling. what we think of as falling isn't falling. maybe it's just learning to fly. maybe the real secret is that we are all doing the best we can, living on this fragile sphere, in our fragile bodies, thinking that we think with our fragile brains, learning to fly.

maybe the real secret is that all of it is happening, all at once, sped up and then sped down, and all of it, the hurricane of our lives, so fragile and brief and overwhelmingly noisy, is all happening while we are right here, right now, feeling so very aware of what it is that we think we are thinking and feeling.

next time you fall (metaphorically or literally) and the ground catches you and you're able to pick yourself up (or someone else has to pick you up), remember that you couldn't be caught by anyone. your falling happened, is happening, will happen again. you were caught by everything.

and the everything that caught you will let you go soon enough, because it isn't sentient and doesn't care that it caught you, it was just there. you'll get up (or you won't). it (the everything that is there) just is.

it just is.

and this, this falling and being caught and falling and being caught, not by any one but by every thing - maybe this is how you learn to fly.