“…And BAM. It hits you.” – Brooklyn Academy of Music subway ad
Directly following a moment of impact comes a moment of clarity when the world just stops and buried truths bubble up to the surface for you to see and consider before you actually feel the effects of the impact itself. In that brief space of time, you can see inside yourself for miles and miles as though you were looking out onto a vast canyon and marvelous vistas; the landscapes stretching into infinity, and sky blending into horizon. For that moment of clarity, you see the whole iceberg instead of just the tip, and it’s what lies beneath the water that is most important of all. It’s in that moment, you see just how precarious the situation really is, and that is when you finally feel the impact. BAM.
When these moments of impact/clarity enter your life, it’s jarring. At least, it was for me. Suddenly I saw some truths about my life I had never seen before, and they were ugly. I felt stripped to the bone; raw and naked. I was utterly defenseless, my armor gone, and the truth went straight to my heart like the dagger of an enemy. And what’s worst of all is that the Enemy turned out to be my heart itself.
A heart killing a heart.
(Sounds like something out of an Edgar Allan Poe story.)
1. A regular and intelligible form or sequence discernable in certain actions or situations
The word “pattern” comes from the Middle English and Old French word, “patron,” meaning something serving as a model. Webster’s says, “the change in sense is from the idea of a patron giving an example to be copied.”
Patterns are studied everywhere from math to science to psychology to traffic and I suppose, even the human heart. How do patterns form? DO patterns form or are they just inherently part of our own genetic makeup, our universe’s DNA? And if our universe is made up mostly of patterns, how do we explain things that are patternless? Or is not having a pattern also a pattern?
Needless to say, my brain hurts trying to consider this.
My question is: what do you do when you suddenly realize you’ve been stuck in a pattern you weren’t entirely aware of? My moment of impact/clarity brought Matrix-level reactions to my brain: I had been quietly plugged into a pattern for close to twelve years and had just taken the red pill. As I tumbled down the rabbit hole, I found myself confronted with just how much I had failed to see…or refused to acknowledge. Like Neo waking up in the Matrix-created human farms of 2199, I saw for the first time how much I’d been deceived; only I was the cause of my own personal deception, and it was frightening.
If, like its origin states, a pattern is an example set down by a patron to be copied, then whose example have I been following? Who is MY patron?
Perhaps a patron is not a person, but a feeling. In my case, perhaps I have been following my feelings blindly rather than stopping to actually LOOK around at things; to see things and people as they are instead of as I want them to be. One of my great strengths AND weaknesses is my imagination, my ability to romanticize events and create whole worlds out of nothingness, but now I see that perhaps I’ve been doing that a little too often in my life, and it has ultimately hurt me. When reality doesn’t meet expectation, it can be excruciating; a hard slap to the face.
I don’t think I’ve consciously chosen this pattern for myself, but it doesn’t change the fact that I have one and MUST do something to alter it. To be honest, I’m scared. I’m scared to leave the comfort behind and possibly open myself and my heart up to be hurt in new ways, but I also know it’s the right thing to do. I have no idea what’s coming next, and that’s scary too, but thrilling because anything is possible. Choosing to stay in this pattern would hurt more than choosing to leave it behind; I know that now. I just can’t go through something like this one more time. Choosing the pattern is choosing the blue pill, and now that I’ve seen the truth, I, like Neo, could never go back.
So here I am, post-impact, ready to go through life without a patron. Ready to be my OWN patron, setting down examples for myself to follow. I’m in a new ocean and not quite sure how to navigate, but I’ll figure it out. I have to.
It’s sink or swim. Fight or flight. There’s always a choice, and I’m finally making mine.