“Ring the bell that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack, a crack in everything , that’s how the light gets in. ~ Leonard Cohen
I’m not sure what I think about the whole New Year’s Resolution thing. I make resolutions so often, that when “the official resolution slot” in my calendar opens up January 1st, it feels anticlimactic.
I carpool 45 minutes with a fellow teacher to get to our suburban district each morning. We talk a lot about our job in that time- a therapy session of sorts- before putting away gripes in pockets when we cross school door thresholds.
One of our topics has been ‘masks.’ We all wear masks, but white, suburban women tend to attach their masks with krazy glue. White, suburban, women, teachers tend to use a staple gun.
When I was young my mother would brag to perfect strangers about her six-year-old brazen daughter at the Holiday Inn, securing best friend status with an entire pool of children in minutes. If you lined up girlfriends and boyfriends from elementary school to present you would see that my taste in people is really not a taste, but an experiment in human variety.
As proud as I am of this, I have a hard time with masks. If you’re a 50-year-old alcoholic dishwasher that draws masterpieces on notebook paper, and rides a 1976 Japanese bike to your 10 dollar an hour job, I can connect with you. If you’re a thirty something mother who lives in a development named “Woodpath,” “Oakdale,” or “Pinecrestforestridge,” wears ironed blazers, throws monthly candle parties, spray tan’s, and dresses their children in Ralph Lauren, I just don’t know what to do with you. It’s not that I don’t like you… I just don’t know how to connect on a level that supersedes weight watchers recipes and 24 hour sales.
I want authenticity, not perfection. I want screw ups, not resolutions. I want to see how you stumble and fall so that I might be reminded it’s okay when I do the same. I don’t need to know about how you ran naked across campus when you were 19… let’s keep some mystery after all. But I want to know that you’re human. I’m tired of cold, dark bells with seamless, polished surfaces that are afraid to play music. We’re all cracked. And cracked people don’t need resolutions. They just need to write a song and share it.