I am reading Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” at the moment. I love it. A perfect symmetry of complex characters and fascinating story set on a stage of fantasy and myth weaved with such precision that you almost feel as if it is real.
Without going into great detail about the story, I’ve been thinking about a beautifully scripted concept that features in the book – the snip n stitch. Just imagine that your reality is a fabric, a complex fabric that is always growing with new experience, development of different attitudes, personal growth and of course the influences of the external envirnonment around you.
I’m talking an ACTUAL PIECE OF FABRIC.
Well, now imagine that you can zone in on specific life events, things that are internal (things about yourself), or things that are external (things about everything and everyone else in the world), and actually CUT THEM OUT. And then with the whip of a nimble needle, you can mend the fabric as if that thing never existed. And better than that, you can magically weave in an alternate scenario so that you can stitch your reality up perfectly according to your own personal pattern.
That bully in grade 7 who made you feel so small, ugly and useless? Snipped!
What about when it was you who created the upset in someone else? Snipped!
What about some life choices that you’ve made, that in hindsight, you could’ve made better? Snipped!
Would you snip n stitch?
Would you really?
I think the reality that we find ourselves in, is sometimes far from the fabric of reality that we once have might imagined. The quest for happiness, having great purpose and fulfilling the vision you have for yourself and your loved ones, is so central in so many of us, and as such, the desire to change ourselves and our world in order to make this vision a reality can often create a dissonance that is difficult to tolerate.
I put to you this; that it is this very fact that we can’t change our fabric, that we can’t snip n stitch, that we must endure the lessons of our life, that makes our fabric so rich, so valuable. It is what makes us who we are.
I wouldn’t snip n stitch.
No, instead, I shall wear my fabric, own it, iron it carefully if there are wrinkles, and based on the puckers and pinches of the past, I will carefully weave new fabric. Slowly. I will treasure my fabric, because it is the only fabric I have.
(I must postscript here and point out that this it is short-sighted to suggest that all and sundry should endure every lesson of life for the betterment of themselves. Obviously there are many, many instances of inhumanity that should be snipped right out of individuals lives, and out of collective human reality altogether. With sharp scissors and impassioned zeal, I would snip this kind of reality out of the collective fabric of humanity in a heartbeat.)