“In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
Today, feeling sick, stressed, tired, and lonely, I went to the Oracle, otherwise known as Peregrine (fourteen years and she hasn’t steered me wrong once). Taking her advice, after I left work I went into the mountains to be alone for a bit, to think and emote.
It was invigorating to get angry about being separated from my husband – up to this point I’ve tried very hard to put up a good front and be cheerful about the whole thing, but anyone whose ever done it will tell you it’s exhausting. Thinking about job hunting, the economy, and the singular ability for the firm we want most to hear from to stretch the hiring process into more than half a year, I felt a flood of fear and anxiety. Thinking about my two bedroom flat empty but for me (Margot having moved to her place of soon to be wedded bliss), and all my friends who now like scattered along the Eastern seaboard while I’m stuck in the West, I indulged in feeling very lonely and left behind. Reviewing my life plans and realizing how little I’ve accomplished compared to what I wanted to by this point, a clutch of panic squeezed me. Thinking of what I’ve accomplished and gained instead, gratitude put in a welcome appearance. A host of other slices of me put in cameo roles too – shame, jealousy, disdain, longing, hope, happiness, and a whole lot of frustration.
About an hour later, feeling very worn out (and if I’m truthful, a bit peckish), I made it home. My problems weren’t smaller or easier to deal with, much less completely gone, but on the way I drove by a small grassy area completely overtaken with dandelions, and looking at them I suddenly felt better.
I love dandelions. I know I’m not supposed to, no one is. I’m supposed to hate how unkempt they look, how neglectful. I’m supposed to be irritated at how hard they are to kill and how annoying they are at making more of themselves. I am supposed to find them messy, irritating, and ugly.
But I don’t. I love them for all those reasons. I love their cheerful, almost vulgar indestructibility. They are garish splotches of disorder on what should be nothing but velvety green grass. They spring up between concrete cracks, fed on nothing but sand and discarded cigarette butts. They are glorious, golden middle fingers to perfect lawns, anal groundskeepers, and people who think life should always look pretty and grass should be no more than an inch tall.
I feel like a dandelion.
I am messy and irritating. I don’t really belong where I currently live, I would rather some huge unseen hand pluck me up tomorrow and with one massive puff blow me somewhere else (preferably right to J.’s front door in London). I don’t think that life is easy or neat, even when you are doing the right or good thing. I am tough, perky, and pesky. And, let’s face it, I truly love messing with people’s well ordered lives.
I am a dandelion. And dandelions have enough gumption to make it through bad days.