Jan 10, 2013

Have You Heard the Good News?

So, I was reading Ecclesiastes.

Don’t worry, it was the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible.

The book of Ecclesiastes is, in the simplest terms, an autobiographical account of a Truth (yes, the capital “T” kind) seeker. Some say it was written anonymously, others claim it was written by Solomon in his last years. I’m sure there are other theories, but it’s late and I don’t care. Whoever it was does refer to himself (“Koheleth”) in the third person à la modern-day philosophers Mike Tyson and Jesse Ventura, which is always the mark of a sound mind. Oh, and there is the matter of when it was written…another minor mystery that remains “open.” But none of this matters.

What does matter, according to the words of Koheleth is, well, also nothing. This will come as excellent news to those of us who have long suspected such. In fact, this ancient text reinforces such gems as: nothing is fair; good shit happens to good people and bad people while, on the same hand, bad shit happens to bad people and good people; no human knows how to provide for the welfare of themselves or others; the more knowledge people have, the more miserable they become; greed is bad, but; smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, because; we are all going to die.

Aside from no specific mention of the Fiscal Cliff, mass shootings, or the fact that NY Met catcher Mike Piazza didn’t make the cut in his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility, it seems things really have not changed much since approximately 450 BC. This is despite Koheleth’s overarching message that – again, paraphrasing – nothing is permanent and that there is a season for everything. (Ecclesiastes, of course, served as the inspiration for the folk tune "Turn! Turn! Turn!”).

So, Natalie, what is this all about? Well, you do the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself around, and that's what it's all about. Wait, I think Natalie is on a tangent. Focus, girl.

Ecclesiastes, yes. Yes, there was one verse that struck Natalie as particularly relevant to her life at the moment. Hold your breath, kids; Natalie is about to quote the Bible:
Ecclesiastes 1:15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered (King James)
Or another way:
What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted (New International Version)
Or the way I interpreted it (note: for optimal effect read it aloud in a Sling Blade voice – preceded by an “I reckon” and followed up with an “umm…hmm”):
Ya can’t make a twisted thing straight, and ya can’t make somethin’ outta nuthin’ 
Why this verse? Well, it turns out I’m ready to admit I’m a twisted thing and I’m fucking done trying to make imaginary and futile things add up to shit that, well, just doesn’t add up.

Why now? You see, one of the most confounding characters I’ve ever had the chance to chum up on this mortal coil called me “weird” last week. Now, I’ve been called “weird” (and worse) many times before, but this was different. I was out of my element and feeling particularly sensitive. Plus, we are talking about a pretty big pot throwing labels at little ol’ Ms. Kettle, if you catch my drift.

I thought about it for a while and wondered why I was so bothered by the comment. It took some time, and a drink or two, but I think I understand now. I’ve spent way too long trying to make this twisted thing straight. I’ve tried so hard to live a certain way, act a certain way, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (that last part sounds best when read in a Yul Brynner “King of Siam” voice) according to the situation.

It was like I was living as some unfortunately-proportioned Barbie Doll. There was a professional Natalie, a gym Natalie, a perfectionist Natalie, a fun-time Natalie, and then a Natalie that seethed and defied and either spoke too little or too much because she couldn’t figure out what the fuck Natalie she was supposed to be. And that last Natalie kinda-sorta took over. Slowly, she became Unisom Natalie who stayed up all night nursing fears and self-loathing like the wounds they are. She'd ponder all the injustice that she never had and never will have any power over. She'd fret over knowledge she thought she didn’t possess and wisdom she thought she’d never attain. She'd covet all the meaningless shit that she can’t afford and won’t be able to take with her in the end. And she did all this while forgetting that she indeed embodies strength, love, and an intangible uniqueness that may actually linger after she’s gone.

So yeah, the words of Koheleth and my sugar-huffing pal have made me see the error of my ways. I am not “weird” because I’m a twisted thing; I’m “weird” because I’m trying to fix myself. And fixing twisted shit just doesn’t work.

It says so in the Bible.

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