Hi. It's me again. It's been a while since I've actually took the time out and write, so instead of making excuses I'll just say...my bad and I'll mend my ways. Probably.
When I write I usually get triggered by some kind of outside force that inspires me. A song lyric. A strange encounter. A conversation. A smile. You know, just something. Anytime I schedule a time to write it is usually a pretty big steaming pile of shit. Everybody's favorite. Definitely.
As of today, I have been triggered by a said 'outside force'. Clearly.
I sat by a nun on the train today. If that's not reason to write, I just don't know what is.
Let me explain.
I got on the train today to head to work, completely reeling from my 40hr school week and my 35 hour work week and probably exuding a pretty pleasant "I hate the world and just want sleep" vibe. Just one of those weeks I suppose where everything is a personal offense, and you have to breath and think happy thoughts like Peter Pan suggests. But it didn't seem to be working to well for me today.
And then a nun sits down beside me.
At first, I think I was staring at her like she was Santa Claus, because I mean, I didn't know nuns really existed...let alone rode the train. Then I just started smiling really big.
She was about 55 years old give or take and she was wearing a Jansport backpack. Awesome. And then the thought dawned on me that we both, the nun and myself, were probably both virgins. The thought amused me quite a bit. I was on the verge of outwardly laughing but I figured that would be rude. And then at one of the stops there was one of those ever so lovely "ARE YOU STILL A VIRGIN?" posters and right next to it was a poster for a movie called "The Town." This is funny because the poster for "The Town" has people dressed as creepy nuns on it. I can only imagine that both those posters side by side were very unsettling for my nun friend, while only one of them is unsettling for me. Perspective.
After seeing both those posters my outward laughter was harder to contain. I made eye contact with a guy who was across from me, and he was smiling just as big as I was. We laughed. Little did he know, I was laughing because of the irony of sitting next to a fellow old virgin while he was probably laughing at the irony of a nun sporting a sweet backpack and a swanky wooden Jesus necklace, riding a train. I hope that's why he was laughing.
After the laughing urges settled I couldn't help but watch this woman. She was pretty fascinating. Her smile was one of the most genuine expressions I've seen in a long time. Everything delighted her. A little girl with pigtails, the mariachi band that sang songs for money, the man who gave his seat to a young lady...everything made her eyes turn into little slivers of joy and displayed her many laugh lines on her well lived face. I could tell she saw so much beauty in the everyday things and that made her one of the most beautiful people I have ever observed.
She was the embodiment of joy.
My heart has been kind of heavy over the past two months. I've looking at each day, thinking about what I have to do, what I haven't done, what I want, what I long for, what I lack, the stream of bad luck I've encountered and so forth. And as I result, I've been tired, I've been unpleasant and I've lost track of my joy.
I get on the subway train and I look for the least smelly person to sit by. I get pissed when the mariachi band is playing on the train because I can't hear my i-pod. I fill with rage when the train gets stopped for traffic and I want to throw my shoe at the creepy dudes. And I go through my day taking inventory of all the things I want to avoid and I seclude myself to the world with a cold demeanor.
But this nun. This damn beautiful, happy nun shook me up today.
I live in NYC. I am going to school 5 days a week and being taught by some of the most extraordinary professionals in the theatrical world. I can pay my bills. I am surrounded by love. I am doing what I love. I live in a place I love. So why a I choosing to only search for the moments I am turned off by? Why is it that this nun seems to only see the joyful moments?
Perhaps it's the power of choice. She chooses to see light and joy. She is a real life Peter Pan living in her everyday Neverland because she chooses the 'happy thoughts.'
Sometimes it's easy to forget that we are strong enough to choose our thoughts and see the world as a place we like. And I like this world. And I really like that nun.
If ever our worlds collide again, I hope that when she sits next to me our old virginity isn't the only thing we have in common...but our joy.