I have coffee. Let’s write.
Two years ago, I wrote a book about a beetle. This beetle actually was not a beetle at all; rather a boy, with a bicycle, and a relentless call to adventure. I’ve been thinking a lot about that story lately and the analogy that inspired it, and I’d like to share some thoughts tonight.
I’d like you to imagine yourself as a little bug crawling up a tree.
Like a termite, you live between wood and bark. Every move you make is traced behind you, etching into the oak the wood shavings of your life. Occasionally, you bump into another little beetle who is doing the same, and he finds himself wanting to glide along your path. After all, it’s much easier to push through the splinters with a friend.
Soon enough, though, he remembers this path is not his. So he wheels around to the other side of the trunk, leaving you to your lane. And you keep carving along.
Sometimes the beetle friend stays a long time; other times he bites you for getting in his way. Sometimes the beetle friend wants you to help him with his path, since you’re a very good gnawer and you love to work. Sometimes you can help. Sometimes, though, you can’t, even though you really wish you could. So you leave him to his work. And you keep carving along.
Time moves away. “Ah,” you think, “I sure do miss that old beetle friend!”
And then you have a wonderful thought! You pause for a moment, then crawl up the wall of your little trench. Behind you is a very long valley, ahead lies a monolith of wood to sculpt. From the top of your canal, you catch a glimpse of the beetle friend. And what you see breaks your little beetle heart, only a little bit.
He has found another little beetle friend.
They are both so joyous, laughing, swimming through the wood like a dart cutting through smoke. A hopelessness fills your little soul as you stare at the empty path beneath you. From this moment, the tree seems impossibly tall, the wood inscrutably thick, sinking you back into the trench.
Months and years pass and eventually you match the pace of an earlier time. The wood tastes better than ever!
Out of nowhere, another little beetle friend traverses your canal. Another pair of mandibles to nibble through the oak. Another path and another tree and another little beetle friend. Soon enough, another little beetle friend with another, separate little beetle path. Another little beetle lost to the woods.
And you keep carving along.
The new year is approaching. People start reflecting on the last eleven months, gearing up for some arbitrary strike of midnight to change a mindset or break some shitty habit. More obnoxious than the pagan-turned-consumer shit-show that just transpired on the 25th is the “In 2015, I will…”
But everyone needs their reset button. People are seasonal. I can respect that.
I’ve lost some loved ones this year. I lost some loved ones last year. I’ve lost a lot of loved ones over the course of my little life. I think we all have. Girls leave you, friends choose to move away, grandmothers die and husbands cheat. And sometimes even you are the one doing the leaving.
This year, though, I’ve noticed that humans have a tendency to possess.
We want to keep things. We want to hold things. We collect stamps and we collect likes and we collect other people and their lives. We’re needy and jealous and controlling and insecure and we can’t live without the affirmation or the friendships around us. It’s just a constant barrage of holding onto people and not letting go. This year, though, I think I figured it out. I think I really figured it out.
I want you to remember your last breakup.
Luckily for me, I had two this year. The first was with my best friend. We broke up because he chose to follow the love of his life, which was in the opposite direction of me. The second was with a girl that was much too busy to be with me. I suppose distance really is a killer.
Typically, I would be destroyed. I’ve been to the bottom of the well of heartbreak, and I’ve seen you there, too. Yet neither of these things broke me. They did not break my heart at all, and that’s because of one little tidbit of wisdom that has defined the past six months of Sammy G:
“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.” -Osho
I guess that’s just it. I think that’s the secret. I really do.
You always have two choices. You can choose to sulk in the loss. You can choose to despise and be bitter and fill your heart with words of hate and malice. You can seek revenge and you can blame and you can curse the name of the one you once loved. You can hold on to this person like a porcupine and hope that the quills don’t prick.
You can keep possessing this person.
Or you can just keep on loving them.
That’s what I learned to do. That’s it. Just leave the flower alone. Just leave the flower there and admire the fucking fuck out of it. Just look at that flower and all of its sexy petals and its cute little stem and its beautiful little anthers and stigmas (and yes I did just google flower anatomy). Just give that flower a little bit more water and worship that little thing. One day, a little bee is going to buzz over to your little flower and treat it all kind and gentle. It’s going to treat it a million times better than you because you’re a human with big fat clumsy fingers that crushes shit.
I love those little flowers. I always will, forever and ever.
I think everyone leaves. Everyone just leaves, at some point or another. Everyone is always moving away from you. You have a flicker in time, a moment, an explosion, and then a flash of fleeting memory to keep in your head. That’s it.
So here we are. The end of this year.
I guess I wanted to share this because I’m proud of myself. I’m really proud of myself for this because I think it saved me from a lot of hurt. Just a ton of hurt could’ve occurred, and instead, because of that little nugget of wisdom, I started smiling. I started imagining those two little beetles and their little beetle lives. I imagined a better path, with a better beetle, on a better tree than the one of my own.
I imagine a sea of trees, a million little mandibles and a billion little wings. I imagine a trillion little causes along a trillion little ways. I imagine all the beetles chirping as they etch along the wood, gloating in the light of the day and the advent of being alive. I can hear their songs echo through the cities of leaves and branches. The sculpture in the oak a testament to their past, the legacy of the bugs that lived and loved so well. Among them, there I am. A bug, too.
And I keep carving along.