The Property of Being Sure
There are so many things that I have learned through experience that I have been unable to translate without speaking them as I had felt them in the immediacy of the moment. That’s why I turn to writing, because then they read like a story.
You know those moments, when you’re listening to the perfect song, at the perfect time, and you look out the perfect window as you sit in the perfect backseat of your best friend's car. All of a sudden you’re in the middle of that coming of age indie teen movie. All of a sudden you’re casting your friends as your favorite actors and actresses. You have your leads and your supporting, you have your soundtrack and your stage set. Sooner or later you’ll be holding that Sundance Award, right?
Or maybe it’s not a car.
Maybe it’s your routine walk past the house you grew up in, with the handprints of your 7 year old self, cemented into concrete under the mailbox your dad nailed down so many years ago.
Maybe you’re fumbling through an old memory box trying to find a ticket stub from when you saw Secretariat with the Pastors from your Church after bidding (for some reason) on dinner and a movie with a Priest.
It’s your hotel room key from your first college formal.
It’s the doormat you stole in a drunken chaos as you left Spain.
It’s a handwritten valentine from your schoolboy crush, signed “ur secrt admir” in crayon, aw.
It’s a framed picture of your college roommates sitting on the steps of your old home, completely oblivious to the secrets those bricks could tell.
It’s a blurry picture from the night you broke into a football stadium with that guy you just ran out of time with.
They read like a story and the memories flood back.
A lot of my life has been chalked up to “dramatics”, labeled as overthinking, or relentless repetition without changed behavior. I stay sedentary in life’s cycles not only because I am uncertain of what change will bring, but also because I am scared of the impermanence that lies in so many of life’s corners. I am terrified that what is good, will never stay. I talk a lot about the past, a lot about my memories. I write a lot about what I’ve already learned, but I guess today I should choose to write about what I am scared to learn.
I don’t feel especially sure of anything. In fact, I feel especially unsure about everything.
The word “sure” is flawed in my opinion.
Most often, “sure” seems flaky, it’s a cop out.
So why then, is “sure” so definitive?
The property of being sure is certainty. The fact or condition of being without a doubt, of being confident. Certitude, conviction, positiveness, surety. Contrary to Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webster, this definition doesn’t do it for me.
“The property of being sure” sounds a lot like something my philosophy teacher would have barked at me my freshman year. He had a very methodical, detached perspective of how things should and should not be perceived.
We talked a lot about moral versus ethical responsibility, which lines we’d be willing to cross for the greater good of a specific majority. He was always so “sure” of his answers, so “sure” of his reasoning. It got to a point where I would sit in the back of the classroom with my hat pulled over my eyebrows, tears just rolling down my cheeks from utter confusion. After his logic became my dissociation, I’d leave the room not even knowing my middle name.
Because of his special little discussion based class, I never attended another discussion section of ANY other course I’ve taken since. My participation grades were lacking, but college attendance is a myth. That’s a certainty.
Sureties and certainties are not one in the same. Like I said, I’m not sure of anything at all. Certain, however, that’s a whole different ball game. The only two certainties in life are death and taxes. Now I’ve never filed taxes, it doesn’t seem like something I’d do. So let’s go ahead and fill in that blank.
Words that you want to say, will quickly become words that you wish you had said.
That’s the kicker, right? At any given moment, it is so damn hard to be sure. In hindsight though, certainty is inevitable, because you know the ending. The two cannot coexist in the same timeline.
One of my favorite parts of a book is the dedication. For a while I used to breeze past these, I don’t know the guy’s wife and kids, why would I care.
What a stupid mistake.
From my own observation, nine times out of ten, the dedication is written after the work is completed. Nine times out of ten, it is thanking those who pushed in the chair after the writing became too much to handle. It’s a thank you to the crutch, the support.
My favorite dedication, however, is to the muse. The one where you can tell the writer was thinking of this person all along. The vision.
It is a dedication from someone who is certain, to someone who has always been sure.
In theory, the entire collection of words the author has wanted to say, has become words they have already said. There’s your loophole, I think that’s science.
I’ve been trying to write my own dedication for some time.
I’m gonna be an asshole right now and be honest. Truthfully, in my dedication drafts I only ever want to thank myself. Like ever.
But you know what, we’ve all been there! We’ve all had those nights when we’re the only one who can pick ourselves back up, or we’re the only one who we can attribute our successes to.
There’s no harm in that.
Everyone could use a little superiority complex every once in a while. It’s like chicken soup for the post-grad, ex-sorority, currently-living-at-home, washed-up-twenty-something soul.
I’ve read through hundreds upon hundreds of book dedications, and I have realized that most dedications are to a loved one or a significant other.
Now I don’t have any of those so I didn’t know where to begin.
I took a brief sabbatical from writing because I found that it made me exponentially sadder to reread my thoughts when they’re a product of sorrow. It’s like reliving the emotion over and over until suddenly I’m enveloped in it once again. As of late, much of my day to day thought processes have revolved around ways in which I could stay young, ways that I wouldn’t have to grow up. It got me thinking, and I wish Alice never had to leave Wonderland.
The story of Alice is dedicated as “A Christmas Gift to a Dear Child in Memory of a Summer’s Day”.
Looking back on my own life, I wish I had more faith in myself. I wish I would have taken better care of my younger self. Been more patient, maybe, because now my Alice is hardly Alice at all. I’m the Mad Hatter if anything!! Hell.
I had the happiest childhood I could have asked for, and I wish I could have held onto that a bit tighter. My imagination is a bit bleaker now, my shoes fit a little tighter.
Those fleeting moments of impermanence that we have in the car, on the front steps, or on the football field at midnight, those are the certainties that we grip onto so tightly. Maybe if we squeeze them tight enough, they’ll stay.
“In that moment I felt happy,” or, “in that moment I felt comfortable.”
We’re unsure of the next time we will feel that way again, right?
Certainties and sureties cannot coexist except in hindsight, and that is the biggest heartbreak I will ever know.
It is never the right time to take the leap, but it’s never the wrong time either. For a while, everything has felt so calculated, and it still does, I guess.
“I wish I had told her that I would've waited.
I wish I knew that it is better to be heard than noticed.
The fact of the matter is that we all wish we had more time.
What’s there to talk about if you’re doing just fine. Embrace your confusion.
I can’t stop thinking about you.
I’ve never asked anyone to hold my hand, but in hindsight I should have.
I don’t care what you think.
I have so much to offer.
I’m proud of you.
It should never hurt your ego to apologize.
Change your major.
Tequila soda. (?? This one is mysterious, I like it)
I’m going to miss this.
I loved you too.
It wasn’t my burden to carry.
“I love you too” to my mom in 3rd grade. She called the night before she passed and I didn’t say it back.”
We’ve all made mistakes, calculated or not.
I can never be certain that it benefitted me to bite my tongue when I should have told him to stay, or that I’m where I am today because I defended myself when I should have thrown the fight, buried the hatchet.
I don’t have answers to it, to the timing of being certain and the probability of being absolutely sure. That being said, I still struggle with leaving things unsaid, to anyone, about anything. You certainly wouldn’t leave a bar without finishing your drink, would you? No one likes going to bed angry, the same way you can’t end a season on a bad episode. After all, look at Game of Thrones. The writers really shit the bed with that one.
To end the chapter before the pen runs out would result in an immense loss of character, and time. This is something I’ve had to remind myself of a handful of times in my life, and I’ll continue to do so until the ink is dry.
I wish that I would have quit my job before adopting my dog.
I wish that I would have never started dying my hair blonde.
I wish at that moment that I would have believed my professor when he told me I was going somewhere.
I wish that I hadn’t told my fifth grade best friend about Santa (I’m sorry Carlie).
I wish that I hadn’t let my brother leave without saying goodbye.
I wish that I wouldn’t have locked my door so often growing up.
I wish that I wouldn’t have lied a few years back when that guy asked me how I felt about him.
I wish that I would’ve known that Breakers was going to lose its liquor license.
I wish that I had a credit card :(
I wish that I would’ve been drinking tequila all along. Way more fun.
I wish I hadn’t blacked out at the Hootie & the Blowfish concert because everyone says it was a lot of fun.
I wish that I would’ve stopped pushing a smile through to a person who could tell I was faking.
I wish that I wouldn’t have stayed so guarded.
I wish that I knew the last time, was the last time.
What do I wish I would have said?
I wish I would’ve told myself that we’ve been reading the same book, just a few chapters apart. All this time.
The property of being sure is not about sureness at all, and I guess that’s why I felt inclined to begin this story at all. There’s no such thing as sure. It’s a guessing game, and I’ll forever resent it. We can never be sure the last time we’ll wake up to them, or the last time we’ll say goodbye. We can never be sure the last time we’ll pick up the bottle, or the last time we put it down.
There are people and places that I am still unaware of that I’ll never revisit, and I’ll never speak to again, but I guess that’s the uncertainty of the sureness.
This is dedicated to whoever thinks I am writing about you,
Also!! If any of my family is reading this, I was just joking about not having loved ones haha. But please give me space <3