Today I was at Mac watching my boyfriend’s soccer games and I had to go to the bathroom. Mac has two “parts” to the gym- there is a new part that is new and expensive looking.. It’s newly renovated and really nice. BUT there is also an “old” gym that is kinda shabby. Needless to say, this was the gym that the soccer game was in. So, I was in the bathroom and I noticed that it was multi-coloured- orange and purple, seriously (I guess that is really irrelevant mind you). I was in the stall and I noticed that all over the walls people had written “I was here” in all of its possible variations (ie- I wuz here ’04 etc). I hadn’t seen that written in a long time. I started to wonder why people feel compelled to write that- to let people know that they were there…in the shabby Mac bathroom. I wrote a post about the idea that I think we all want to be known in some capacity in September. I think this idea that we want to leave our mark is slightly different. As much as people want to be deeply known by their close friends and family, I think there is another part of us that desires to be recognized for simply existing. It’s like that Inuit people, famous for their Inukshuks– little rock sculptures that they made so that they would know where they had come from, or to mark their paths in a landscape with very few natural landmarks. In some way, even on a superficial level, even as superficial as writing on the wall-we want people to know that we have passed through. Think about it, how awful would it be to be at a party with a bunch of people, just to have one of them later ask what you did the night of the party. It really sucks to go unnoticed. We hate the idea that we can be forgotten. I think another example of this is remembering someone’s name, when they haven’t remembered yours. There have been countless times where I have played along and asked someone what their name is when they ask what mine is. We long to be remembered, even in the simplest and smallest ways.
Also, today I heard a remix of the U2 song “One” with Mary J. Blige- It’s already an incredible song when it’s just U2, but something about this remix is really beautiful. I’ve listened to it at least 5 times today. The song has a great couple of lines where it says,
You got to do what you should
With each other
But we’re not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other
When I thought about these lines, and the idea that we are one, but we aren’t the same and the silly writing on the bathroom wall that I saw today I was so reminded of the strange and complex relationship that we have with those around us…because we are so similar, we all have these needs, wants, desires…the capacity to love and to be loved, to hurt and to be wounded- but at the same time, we all feel this need to distinguish ourselves from each other…to stand out and to be noticed. There is such a profound truth in the line “we are one, but we are not the same”… And as the U2 song so simply puts it, it is for this very reason that we get to carry each other- because as “one” we all need to be carried, to be loved, and heard- but at the very same time, it is in our differences where we have the capacity to take turns being strong, to take turns carrying each other. There is something beautifully interdependent in the song “One” and even in the writing on the bathroom wall. I am not sure that I am articulating this well at all. It’s just a mystery to me- this tension between being the same and being different…and today I have been reminded to be mindful in this complexity. People are strange creatures- I hope that even by remembering the simple idea that we are, in the most fundamental way, the same- that the way I treat people can be born out of this knowledge…it seems so basic, but we all have feelings, we all bleed, we all laugh and cry. I guess it’s a lesson in not “other-ing” people… there is no other…because we are, uniquely, one.