For my entire life, people have been telling me to lighten up. Most recently it was someone on Facebook who I knew a million years ago. We weren’t friends then, necessarily, but we ran in the same crowd and spent time together. For some reason she wound up on my Facebook friends list.
I have unfriended her.
It’s not that I don’t need to “lighten up” a little. I do tend to run on a higher mental frequency than most folks; I am a little buzzy in the brainwaves, and my thoughts leap around. Sometimes I get intense, and that is fine by me. We need more people in the world who get intense about things that matter to them.
In general, though, I feel that the command to “lighten up” is condescending and minimizes whatever the person is heavy about (man). In this last case, I was treated to a lecture on the difference between first and second world problems, a lecture that is entirely unnecessary and made me realize that this person has no clue who I am and what I am about if she felt the need to get sanctimonious on that particular subject. But I digress.
It is a burden sometimes, dancing along on this frequency. Combine it with the curse of feeling all of the feelings in the world around me (intuition? Empathy? I don’t know. I just know that there are times when I am literally unable to function due to all of the badness and sadness in the world. I can’t watch coverage of certain major news events, like Newtown, because I can feel what the parents are feeling and it is paralyzing and it didn’t happen to me and that is ridiculous. Again, I digress), and you have a particularly heady brew of anxious intensity that cause some people who don’t really know me to tell me to “lighten up.”
I don’t want to feel less, necessarily, but it sometimes it would be nice to float along in the world, lightly. I have moments like this, when my heart is so full and the moment is so perfect that I can feel bubbles in my hair follicles, like the moment when Sicily was just a few weeks old, and I looked over and she and Dane napping on the bed and was filled with an incapacitating love that was just fine because in that moment I needed nothing more than that.
Or any time when I walk over the dunes and down onto the beach in Assateague, and the sun is setting, and the horses are napping on the beach.
Or standing in the Louve front of Claude Monet’s painting of his wife on her deathbed (Camille son sur lit mort).
These are the moments where my soul is light and airy and everything floats away except what matters. That stays in my vision with pure clarity, if only for a brief moment.
So maybe life is about stringing these moments together like found, precious beads. Maybe the humming and buzzing, the heaviness, is what helps me see the lightness. Perhaps one cannot exist without the other.