March 25, 2017

My ex drove a motorcycle. I never got on it—we’d broken up by the time the weather turned warm—but he prepped me for it all winter. The only part I remember is what he said about crashing: the trick is to give in, go limp, resist the impulse to put out your hands, and instead, accept the pull of the earth up to meet you. It’s the opposite of instinct, but by fighting and clenching—bracing against gravity—you end up breaking bones. “If you let go,” he said, “your body will save itself.” It was advice I tried to return to when we ended, and again every time something in my world came crashing down. Over the years, I’ve been asked often why I stay—in a job, in a place, in a relationship, in a state of mind—when it all seems to be falling apart. Today, I stumbled upon my answer: what isn’t? What isn’t breaking down every moment we’re inside of it? What isn’t climbing, whether quickly or slowly, to some kind of end? If impermanence and chaos are good reasons to call it quits, then what can we possibly hold onto? What if instead there’s a way to surrender, not by giving up, but by giving in? The more I live through, the more I realize the only way to find a clearing through the brush and brambles is to accept their existence and learn to move within them. It is as Deborah A. Miranda writes in “Advice from La Llorana”: “Lean into the pain. / You can’t outrun it.”

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