The words are on the tips of my fingers, but I don’t want to jinx it. Not that I believe in such things. Well, I don’t think I believe in them. Then again, I have to acknowledge a simple truth. There’s more going on in the universe than I can fathom. It would be arrogant to assume that I know what’s traversing the infinite space between heaven and earth. No, I fully recognize that there’s a lot of grey space that’s filled with the unknowable.
I guess that’s why they call it faith. It’s the bridge between the knowable and the unexplainable. To believe? That’s the age-old question.
Just in case, I should still my fingers and close my mouth. Will I? Uh… Right after I type these words and post this on the wide world of webs. Of course, the second I do that, everything will change. The wind will blow, the clouds will grow dark and heavy. Every breath will freeze, and every sigh will be weary.
We will shake our heads and mutter ruefully, “The fuckening has begun.”
But it’s so nice outside! The birds are singing, and the blossoms are blooming. I took off my boots and slipped my feet into sandals. Oh, what a glorious feeling. Spring is, well, it’s springing, and it’s my favourite time of year.
Minus the horrendous allergies? Hush, don’t ruin this dance with fate.
Ah, but I said it. The words flew out my fingertips despite my irrational mind pondering the palpability of jinxes, hoaxes’ and bewitching charms. If I say too much? It will all disappear in a blink of an eye or a wave of a wand.
Or I’m being ridiculous, and my words carry no influence whatsoever. Which is more likely? Enchantment or coincidence. Hm, if I was of sound of mind, the choice would be simple, but where’s the fun in that? Amusement is found where sanity fears to tread, so let’s plod on, my fellow traveller.
What if a single word could change everything? Curiouser and curiouser.
It’s like…Do you have Christmas crackers where you live? Long, cylindrical cardboard containers wrapped in festive paper and a small, harmless explosive. Inside, there are cheap trinkets, a paper hat, and a piece of paper with a cheesy joke. It’s like a fortune cookie, but you don’t get to eat it after you crack it open.
Traditionally, two people grab an end and give it a solid tug. There’s a loud crack, a faint smell of sulphur, and each person is left holding a piece. Whoever has the largest end gets to keep what’s inside.
Tempting fate feels a little like that. Harmless with a nagging feeling that you’re about to do something forbidden. Oo, I shouldn’t play this game. What if something happens? I shouldn’t do it, but I did. Giggle, squeal, and glance over my shoulder sheepishly.
Oh no, did I do a thing? My bad.
I’m not a superstitious person, but I step over cracks in the sidewalk and bite my tongue when things are going a little too good. I don’t trust beautiful days or a string of good luck. It feels like entrapment. It was too good to be true!
You don’t have to say it. It’s a messed up way of thinking. If you’re questioning my mental health? Ah, join the line and leave your diagnosis below. People on the internet love to diagnose this mental illness or that other one. It’s fine. I’m fine. We’re fine.
Do you believe me? Nah, but that’s okay.
Every time things feel like they’re going well, I find myself glancing over my shoulder and flinching. Is someone there? No, it’s just a shadow. Oh no, not a shadow! What if the shadow people are coming to get me? There’s no such thing as shadow people. How do you know that? They could be real.
Paranoia for dramatic effect? Okay, that’s a choice, I suppose.
I don’t trust happiness or contentment. I don’t feel secure in the quiet times, even though I crave those moments more than tiramisu. I need all of those good things, but when I get it? My feet trample on eggshells, and I tell myself I don’t believe in jinxes.
To prove the point, I say the words that will poke the beast, and then I wait for something horrible to happen. What’s wrong with me? Again, leave your suggestion in the comments below, I guess.
Of course, life isn’t a straight shot of good or bad. Things come up, and the stillness is shaken, not stirred. Happy turns to sad. Yay becomes nay. I cross my arms, stamp my feet and say with a smugness that’s unbecoming, “I knew it was too good to be true, but I dared fate to intervene.”
I said these words out loud, and worse still, I put them in writing. It was a spell being cast without my knowledge or consent. I didn’t even know I was that powerful. Am I a witch? That’s probably not something I should advertise. It’s my secret identity. So covert, in fact, I didn’t even know.
Or the real power lays in the hands of the Fates.
Do you believe in jinxes? Do you think that the wrong word, at the wrong moment, will destroy a good thing? Someone opens their mouth to say the dreaded word, and you rush to shut them up. Don’t say it! You’ll ruin everything. Oo, but they couldn’t help themselves. Out of their lips comes the Q word, and you gasp.
They said it. How could they do that? They said the word. Not just any word but one that shall not be uttered. You know which Q word I’m talking about, right? You won’t be offended if I say it now? Fine, but don’t blame me if all hell breaks loose.
Quiet. There I said it, may fortune be forever in your favour. Do you hear the thundering sound of stampeding hooves?
I toy with the idea, but I don’t know if I believe in jinxes or even fate, for that matter. Greek and Roman mythology tell the story of three goddesses (or gods if you read Homer or Hesiod). They determine human destinies and give each of us our allotment of misery and suffering. Some stories talk about a thread of life being woven for us.
We’re puppets on a string, a plaything for gods, and our existence amounts to what, exactly? Choose to petulantly refute the Fates, and they cut the rope. Play your role without complaint, and your allotment of misery is lessened. I don’t know about that. I don’t think that sits well for me. It’s my life. Shouldn’t I have more control over it than some bored deity?
Coincidence isn’t comforting either, but it’s a bit more believable. Shit happens. A simple statement of fact. It’s not your fault. You couldn’t have changed or predicted the outcome. Just because you said a word or wore an outfit doesn’t mean you had it coming.
Life happens, and with that comes the good and the bad. Someday’s, the wind blows, the dark grey clouds roll in, and rain pours down. It’s a white-knuckle kind of day where all you can do is hold on, say a prayer if that’s your thing, and hope it clears up soon.
That’s the thing, isn’t it? As much as I don’t trust good days, they always come around when I need them the most. When I don’t think I can hold on much longer and my white knuckles are bruised? When I just can’t do it anymore? There’s always a moment that catches me off guard.
I open my eyes, and the clouds are clearing. There’s a patch of blue peeking through, and a streak of light follows close behind. I inhale, exhale, and let my shoulders drop. I tilt my head back and stare straight up at the sky. Did I think I’d see beauty again? No, I’d given up hope. I thought I’d be trapped in the storm forever.
I think anyone who lives with a chronic illness (whether that’s physical or mental), feels the endless parade of trauma and pain. Going from one doctor to another. Taking so many medications that it feels like a meal. Feeling like a lab experiment one moment, and medical curiosity in travelling circus the next.
It becomes all-encompassing so, naturally, there’s no way something good can break through the force field. And when it does? How can you enjoy it when you know it’s not going to last, but what if we live for the momentary reprieve?
It’s a thought that doesn’t just apply to chronics. Over the last two years, we’ve all taken a lot of hits. We’re slowly coming out of a pandemic and walking straight into a war. Are you fucking serious? When will we get back to good?
I’m trying to enjoy the moments of good that come my way because moments of happiness are precious gems. They’re a gift from the ancient Fates or a more modern God. They are perfectly timed coincidences that let us catch our breaths and shake out our tired hands.
Hold on, good is coming. It always does.
I need to appreciate them more than I do and thank the powers that be for a beautiful day. The rain has stopped, the air is warming up, and those blooming flowers have a spectacular burst of colour. It’s incredible how far a little bit of beauty, a little bit of happiness, goes when we forget about fate and simply enjoy the moment.