Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
I know that the moon is a large, spherical hunk of rock that orbits the Earth. I know that the phases of said rock are merely the perception, from a distance, of the way the light from the sun strikes the surface of the rock as it orbits our planet.
But it is rare that I look up at the moon and assess it with such cold, automatic science. My brain usually works from its logic and reason centers, but my heart has always been relentlessly, fatally romantic, and more often than not the prism it places before my field of vision supplants both logic and reason.
When I see crescent moons I see that famous, legendary Cheshire Cat grin, afloat sans feline, a smile of malicious wisdom, locking away behind its great white teeth all of the information you could have used twenty seconds ago.
When I see a half or gibbous moon I see the eye of some grim beast, skulking behind a lid of gun-metal blue, observing the world between dusk and daylight. Under the eye of this beast abandoned animals freeze to death inches from salvation and aging racists demonstrate to their children the proper way to maintain the fire of their hate. Immaculately designed German cars spin out into wheat fields, bayonets click into place on the ends of their rifles, wood begins to warp. The eye does not approve or disapprove, it does not influence one way or another; it just observes.
And the full moon is a punctuation mark at the end of a sentence so large that nobody can read it.
I am fortunate, I feel, to be able to look at something and see it for what it is, as well as also imagine something that probably isn’t. I am usually aware enough to know which is which and when to express one over the other.
I don’t tell people often enough that I love them. I have no excuse for this. I have possible origins of this behavior but I will not call these excuses.
I believe that there were strange and nonsensical ideas formulated when my emotional development began to ebb gradually into adulthood. Because we were teenagers, and stupid, and every time we felt that summer squall race through our lungs we called it love, we told each other it was love, we imagined that there was nothing beyond this save death or time travel.
Because most of the time we were painfully wrong about what it was. Because I spent most of my time observing this and decided that I would not use the word love until it really meant something. That it was a word so powerful one hoped, perhaps, that you’d never have to use it.
So I saved it. For family, for the single person who I believed I’d spend the rest of my life with, on days that I believed such a person existed. And I express it too rarely to anybody else; because I fear, perhaps, what it means to feel such things for people who do not occupy the spheres of wife or natural family.
I couch it in love of collectives–“I love you guys.” I soft-pedal it behind tilting, thin-lipped smiles and unnecessary additional words that bleed out the seriousness, so that nobody has to feel uncomfortable if my use of the word unnerves them. I embrace friends that I haven’t seen in months or years, that I won’t see again for many months or years, and I stop myself before telling them I love them. I let go too early, I refrain from kissing their cheek. I do not look them in the eyes and make clear what I feel. I do not look myself in the eyes and make it clear what I feel. My brain skims through its own thesaurus and declares that:
I have “fondness.”
I have “affection.”
I “really like them a lot.”
These are lies. What I feel is love and it does nobody any favors to pretend otherwise. It is not always the same sort of love from person to person, but it is always love.
I don’t imagine that this is some sort of purpose statement, here, that I’m going to go around telling everybody I love them at every opportunity. No worries. Put away that pepper spray, please. Tell your bodyguard that I’m blacking out. I’m not planning to get weird.
I am trying to look at the moon and see what it actually is instead of seeing what it isn’t. I am trying to look at you, any of you, and tell you the value I place on you, even if you already know, even if every other subtle signal has been read and interpreted correctly.
I need to actually allow myself to speak the words aloud.