Crossroads by Carolyn #76

    It is all coming together.  Or is it all growing apart at the seams? More and more I find myself looking at my life from a distance and watching it speed up to the present moment.  I ask with curiosity, feeling slightly outside of my skin, “How did this all happen? How did I arrive here? When did this come to pass?”  I ask with absolutely no trace of regret, but I wonder, because it seems things are changing in unfamiliar ways. 
    I used to hate that famous William Carlos Williams poem about the chickens and the red wheelbarrow in the rain, but sometimes I can’t help asking how much depends on this moment, that action, a certain coincidence, these thoughts.  Because revelation is only a thought away and tomorrow never comes and is there any way of knowing if things are meant to happen?  If they are, then do the moments, the little details, really matter? Wouldn’t another moment of chance inevitably arise?  Would everything have turned out the same?
    I’ll be 25 in September. I don’t know if that matters.  The occasional feeling of losing myself battles the growing conviction that I’m coming home.  But things are different in little ways. My dreads reside in a bag in my closet.  Above them hang a pair of jeans I paid $80 for because they make my ass look good.  My boyfriend comes home to me every night, kisses me on the lips, and I smile.  We live on 8 acres in the mountains with 3 dogs and a nearby creek.  Reflection is becoming an almost daily occurrence.
    I easily slip into seclusion, and then complain of being lonely.  I cook dinner and serve it on matching plates. I turn down beers and lines of coke.  My Amebix shirt has been in the drawer for over a month, but I do have a new tattoo.  When I was 13 I wanted a tattoo that read, “No Future” and not because of the Sex Pistols.  Is “No Past” a better mantra? People think I’m smart, but unlearning seems like a better idea.  I love a lot of things these days.  Some things I should probably let go.  “But I am the same,” I say and really I’m not lying. 
    Life lives a little slower.  It’s amazing what you can decipher and understand when you are not living as though there is no tomorrow.  When you understand what it means to say, “Tomorrow never comes.” To me, it used to mean, fuck it all, let’s get drunk and party.  Now it means something different.  But still, at really low moments, becoming less and less frequent, I sarcastically (and wrongfully) thank punk for my past alcoholism and pessimism.  I used to thank it for my violence and scars.  I know that is not fair.  Regardless, abandoning punk is not an option for me.  How could I erase what is inscribed on my bones?  How could I completely denounce my culture? And why would I? Punk is my home, the music- my salvation.
    In a sense, punk changed my life. In another sense, it just reinforced who I already was and showed me many different paths.  Yes, one took me to problems with alcohol and drugs.  Another led me to violence and hate.  Yet another took me to dark places where I wondered what the fuck the point of life is on a miserable and corrupt planet.  But overwhelmingly, it fostered my belief that I have the strength to find my own paths and be my own person, that THE WAY is not the right way.  Punk helped me channel all my frustration and anger into something that eventually became life-affirming rather than self-destructive.  Punk opened my mouth and my mind and gave me a sense of community.
    But remember, we are always evolving and growing. I now wear colors other than black. My record needle knows the groove of a couple of different kinds of tunes.  I sit on my deck overlooking the valley and realize that there is no end point, no linear progression, just a continual unfolding of life’s expansive and complex web.  I realize that there are no cages except the ones we create for ourselves.  I welcome these changes of mind, spirit, time, and space, even though it sometimes makes me feel like I’m in a jar of bells.  But still a little voice wonders, how much depends on this house, that meeting, that political decision, on my heart. How much depends on this moment spiraling in time? Nothing and absolutely everything.
—carolynchaos@hotmail.com