Friday, June 29, 2012

Walk the Line: Pottery, Palantirs, and More June Carter Cash

"I'm so tired I can barely wiggle" (June Carter Cash/JCC) Ain't it the truth? Its been a long couple days, and, unfortunately, at this point in my life, my response to a challenge is hysterics. I board up the windows. Shut the blinds. Turn out the lights and wait to succumb from grief. Eventually, one of my friends (usually Maggie or Lesley) pries my front door open, drags me out of the house bawling, and forces me to rejoin the human race. Of course, simply leaving my Hobbit Hole won't put me right again. No, for this Hysterical Historian, regaining perspective and the will to fight is the key to finding my calm. Because here is the truth: For a large portion of my existence, I was a veritable Muhammad Ali. When it came to defending my faith in other people and happy endings, I'd "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee". In fact, I retained a sort of blind hopefulness, normally reserved for small children, far longer than I should have. Perhaps due the strength of that feeling, eventually that well ran completely dry. From that point on, every trite quote about how enduring abuse refines one's character became a cruel taunt. Apparently, some of us were meant to suffer through endless character building hazings while other assholes glided through life with ease. Screw that! I wanted to see those Happy Jackasses cry! However, the problem with my total shift in perspective is that, now, I'm learning that the more my heart becomes involved the more terrified I become. Muhammad Ali has left the building, Folks. Instead, tonight, Ali's role will now be portrayed by Scooby Doo minus the drug habit. Ruh Roh!

All kidding aside, conquering that fear is extremely difficult for me. But what can ya do? Well, in my opinion, there is two steps to jumping back in the race: Find a Role Model and Go Pottery Painting. You guessed it. I'm talking about June Carter Cash (if you don't like her, well, too bad. Stop reading now and go get your own damn blog!) June was AWESOME. I brook no argument on that subject. This was a woman who knew who she was, what she wanted, and how to wait. Those are all traits I deeply admire. Johnny Cash once said of his wife: "What June did for me was post signs along the way, lift me up when I was weak, encourage me when I was discouraged, and love me when I felt alone and unlovable...She's always been there, and she's dependable, trustworthy, loyal, kind and cheerful - all the parts of the Boy Scouts." Personally, those are qualities I want to emulate. Cause HERE's the ISSUE: I know how frail and fallible I am. There is no question about many faults. Just ask Lesley and Maggie both of whom have endured my tearful conversations, avoidant behavior, and emotional breakdowns. To have June characteristics means overcoming my fear of being hurt, suppressing my sense inadequacy, and allowing myself to both feel and show affection despite the risk of future devastation. Because, my Darlings: There is no Crystal Ball or Palantir of Denethor. If there were, I'd have found it by now, even if that meant selling my soul to Lord Sauron himself. Everyone gives their heart away, but I think, maybe, its what we do after its gone that matters. That's where June comes in: "steel is strong because it knew the hammer and the white heat". Any ride worth taking has a few rough patches you'd rather skip. But I think it might be worth the risk if in the end you can honestly say: "You're my friend" (Walk the Line, 2006) Thus, today, I marched into Art Bayou, plopped myself down, and painted a hideous Ring of Fire serving plate to remind me sometimes ya gotta Walk the Line.

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