This past fall, I found myself in the midst of marathon training and unable to hold a straight face while watching a movie. A movie, any movie, forced me to tears– I’d wind up, curled on the sofa, bawling.
Looking back, it was most likely due to over-training, to pushing too hard too fast. So naturally, my body’s only reaction to buku stress was tears.
Lots of them.
On one of these occasions, one of my roommates suggested the film Big Fish along with the warning, “Just so you know, you’re going to bawl your eyes out by the end.”
So I steeled myself. Mentally prepared my brain not to cry. But lo’ and behold, the final scene approaches and ALL of my tear ducts activate and tears cascade down my face. All of them just empty out of every crevice of my body.
But this time, rather than crying because I was tired, I found myself crying because I was seeing, on-screen, the physical representation of something I thought was crazy, something only possible in dreams– seeing all your people all in one place.
At the end of the movie, all of the character’s people, from every aspect and part of his life, line a path down to a river to applaud and honor and celebrate and say goodbye to him. And in my sappy emotion-filled head, I thought:
“OMG I DIDN’T THINK THIS WAS EVER POSSIBLE!! I DIDN’T THINK ANYONE ELSE DREAMED OF HAVING ALL OF THEIR PEOPLE IN ONE PLACE, AT ONE TIME!!!”
So it’s kind of crazy, in a lot of ways, that now, flashing forward six months, I get to have my New Orleans version of a Big Fish moment.
Granted, I’m not dead yet.
And granted, because of how the world shifts and turns and spins, it’s almost impossible to have all my people, from all times, in one spot.
But look! Look around you! Look at the people next to you and in front of you and behind you!
These, these are the incredible, amazing, f@cking awesome people that have, for some weird and strange reasons that still boggle my mind, decided to let me into their lives.
And because of that, somehow I was able to guilt trip or coerce or invite you into this beautifully sunny backyard for my New Orleans Big Fish moment.
Because I never imagined this– this Big Fish-but-not-dying moment– would ever happen to me. I quite honestly didn’t think it would happen until I keeled over or died or some other calamity occurred.
When I was on the brink of graduating from college, I had these crazy visionary-esque dreams in which everyone I had ever loved or cared for was gathered on a péniche along the banks of the Seine. That there were endless, unlimited bottles of wine flowing and the sky seemed to glow with a glossy cotton-candy-like energy and we were all there, laughing. Everyone. Everyone I had ever met. Everyone I had ever loved.
But as life went on, as it evolved, I came to believe this kind of occurrence was more fantasy than reality, more a dream than real life. We would move on, whether we liked it or not, holding on to the coattails of a whorling world.
But holy shit y’all, right now– despite all the nevers and don’ts and couldn’ts in my head–
my boat-on-the-Seine dream is happening. That moment, that feeling, is now.
And I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry or cry or laugh or jump up and down or scream profanities or dance and shimmy or just close my eyes and relish in it all.
Because for so long I’ve been telling myself that my Big Fish dream, my everyone-sitting-by-the-Seine vision, can’t happen–
“Because life doesn’t work that way.”
“Because people move on.”
“Because life is unpredictable.”
But look! It’s happening! Now! All around us!
And all of these feelings that are popping up inside of me– joy and sadness and hope and love and nostalgia and gratitude– they are all there because of people like you who decided somewhere along the way to embrace the crazy workings of people like me.
So so so much gratitude to y’all and thanks for coming to share in some crawfish and craziness.