Inside a brightly painted frozen yogurt boutique, we swapped fears about the future. There is nothing worse than fretting inside a neon green & hot pink shop, where strangers stand feet away sprinkling toppings onto their vanilla & chocolate swirl.
We were scared + tired + hesitant to believe that self-worth is a thing we build daily. It is like a house, built over years & years & storms & blizzards & knock down, drag-out moments with our mirrors & zippers & scales.
“You’re so passionate,” she drawled. “My sister says I don’t care about anything.”
There were days, I thought, when maybe she didn’t. Maybe, she walked through the haze of college with a book in her hand and a test on her mind and not a single second was spent debating a better, brighter future. Not a single second inched into dream mode.
And then, I thought, I’d punch my sister in the face if she told me I didn’t care about anything. But only because we know it would never be true. Only because I have seen the light dance on countertops in just the right way, seen it catch the front of a glass storefront, seen it play with people’s smiles on Saturday afternoons, and I love it.
Only because I am a Jeep girl. I have sat in the back of a red Jeep Wrangler with the top down and felt the wind whip my hair into a beautiful, alive frenzy. She is a Honda Civic with the windows up and the A/C on & her expensive sunglasses perched on the bridge of her nose.
In spite of all the funeral dresses and breakups and goodbyes and failures, I love the light that skips across our forearms on Sunday drives. I love the rush of a highway cruise.
This world gives us too much to love. It hands us thunderstorms on Friday mornings & photo shoots on Tuesday afternoons & couples waiting in line for coffee with their hands in each others’ pockets like promises to always be the thing they keep.
And I realize that I’m passionate because I’ve let this life kick me in the gut and knock me to the floor and tell me that tomorrow will never look as good as yesterday. I’ve spent nights with my phone in my hand and my life on the line and enough fear in my bones to text my roommate that maybe, maybe my heart was giving up. Maybe we ought to go to the hospital.
On the way home, I told her to find what mattered. I’m still waiting. She believes that life is a day-in, day-out grind session, without so much as a beat in her heart for passion. She believes in waking up and doing work and going to bed and starting all over again, without ever sparking her excitement for life.
She’s built a wall. Not a safe haven for self-worth, but a wall that says the future must always be practical & controlled.
This life is too good. This life is too good to walk sorry all the time. It’s too fresh & new & possible to seem unimaginable that someday, she could be somebody’s somebody. That she could have a life outside of the monotony. That work could be more than a job. That sweat could produce goodness, newness.
I want her to hum symphonies of happiness while she sits in rush hour traffic. I want her to love her job. I want her to believe in something so real & raw her heart hurts when she cannot help it be. God, that’s the only way to live. Isn’t that the only way to live?