I am a paper tiger.
Back in the day, when I was living with roommates in New York City’s Alphabet City, whenever we ladies went through some deep, and heartfelt change, we’d play Beck’s album Sea Change. I don’t know what it is about this album, but, it’s always comforted me and, for lack of a better descriptor, guided me.
As I go through something strange and profound, I pop the album in my CD player. I’m taken back to a different time, a different place, a different me. A time where being something different felt scary and new. Today, being different is the change for which I’ve been waiting and praying. Unsure and isolated. It’s a strange time for exploration and contemplation. But, this time around, I’m not sure what I’m seeking.
When I was younger, living with my little coven of girls, drinking, doing drugs, playing music, running around New York City, I was seeking something very different than I seek today. Well, I think I was. Perhaps it was the same thing back then, but, back then my path to finding the peace that I am so much closer to today was far more crooked and winding. I looked for love, acceptance, and friendship in all the wrong places. And, back then, I would get what I thought I wanted, only to discover it hadn’t been what I wanted at all. So, I sought escape in substance, not heart.
Today, I know where to look for love, acceptance, friendship. Not only that, but I know where to find it. Having found those things, knowing that I have so profoundly changed, it almost hurts still having a missing piece. A strange arch of change, that leaves me on new solid ground, but, my feet won’t move.
I sit in women’s group in treatment. Feel our collective wounds as they heal and scab over. We all pick at our scabs a bit. All of us still holding on to that one familiar piece of the people we used to be, our past selves. But, the tide is pooling at our feet. It is time. Time to either stay planted and drown in the wake of the rising tide, or, to kick up our feet and swim into new, unfamiliar waters. The sea change. The the simultaneous discontent of letting go and the blurry excitement of the future, who’s view is obstructed. It’s time for trusting. Trusting one another and ourselves.
Paper tigers in the sun.
Looking through a broken diamond
To make the past what it should be
Through the ruins and the weather
Capsized boats in the sea
O deserts down below us
And storms up above
Like a stray dog gone defective
Like a paper tiger in the sun
-Beck, Paper Tiger, Sea Change