I never cease to be amazed by what moves me. On Sunday night, it was a place on the couch, dogs sprawled haphazardly at my feet like clothes I’d stripped off in a frenzy and remote in hand, bouncing back and forth between “The Wizard of Oz” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”
When’s the last time YOU rewound “The Wizard of Oz?”
I always found it a bit strange that once the man behind the curtain is revealed, he turns into a wisdom-spewing sage. Yet on this gazillionth viewing in my 38th year, I found myself rewinding to hear again the quote I posted above.
“Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.”
I’ve never been a practical woman. Believing in true love, fairy tales, the impossible – things that don’t really satisfy a pragmatist’s idea of solid foundations. I love shoes that make my feet hurt, dresses you can’t sit down in and breakfast burritos so big they require a knife and fork.
It occurs to me that everything I love is impractical.
The Math of Impracticality
I’ll preface this by saying that perhaps what will follow isn’t real math, but it’s my blog and I’ll call it witchcraft, alchemy or whatever the hell I want. I can only speak from my experience, but the things I tend to love are the ones that offer challenges, surprises and unbelievable joy and pain (and often simultaneously). If we break it down into and equation of Erika Math, it might look like this:
things we set out to do + shit we didn’t expect = life’s memorable moments
And given that memories aren’t always good, they are one thing for certain: remarkable. There’s nothing practical involved when it comes to being surprised or coping with unbearable pain. Then again sheer bliss is also completely impractical as well. Perhaps it’s time, along with a renewed perspective on unpopular, we begin to embrace impractical as well.
Practicality Has Its Place
Gadgets are practical. I’d give my left tit for a Roomba, which is uber-geeky AND practical. Basic black pants, shoes and skirts? Practical. Clothes hampers? Practical. Dictionary.com offers this: “inclined toward or fitted for actual work or useful activities.” That describes the bike rack on my car, not really anything in my life that I love.
Everything we value in life – all that we love – be it our business, our families, our children, boyfriend/girlfriend, relationships, hearts, souls and minds…can be broken. They’re fragile. They require attention, nurturing, love, kindness and humility to foster. While practical things can break, they’re replaceable. There’s no replacing the impractical, however.
Emotions? Impractical. Apologies? Practical.
Falling in love? Dear christ, certainly impractical. Breaking up? A matter of practicality for our hearts most times.
Taking the corporate job for the stability, predictability and camaraderie? Practical and comforting (and great parking). Launching a business to pursue what we love? Highly impractical, considering the availability of a paycheck with taxes taken out and benefits a few blocks down.
Practicality Isn’t Bad
It’s the water of our lives, the foundation on our house, the chassis of our car. But it’s the nature of impracticality – the shifting sand that moves beneath our feet – that makes the people who drink the water, architects who design feats of structural wonder on top of those foundations and that are the gas in our cars that get us from where we are to where we want to be. It’s never practical to dream of what might be – as for me, it’s what gets me through the bullshit some days. And how I love to dream. They’re my what could have beens and what ifs, and more often, my what could bes and what I wants. Being a highly impractical woman is what made me who I am today. While capable of glorious fuckups and subject to broken hearts and failures beyond compare, it’s the upside of impracticality that rules above all every day when I crawl out of bed.
I’ll continue to be impractical and put my hand on the stove to learn its hot. The shittiest days of my life are those where I let practicality rule, because I lose feeling. Go numb. Sometimes you have to walk around barefoot in the grass and step in the dog crap to realize…shoes are practical.
The laughter that comes from the person watching you wash the shit off your feet? Highly impractical. And memorable, too.