It was too much beauty for my little heart to take. When that incredibly gorgeous woman looked at the camera, broke the fourth wall and held my gaze, and told every story of all human beauty and loss without saying anything, my heart burst. It was breathtaking in its optimistic sorrow. Even now, there was a beauty. Even now, a smile. It was too magnificent to bear. I ached for this imaginary soul, too remarkable, who endured too much and was given too little time here. I ached for all the real souls, throughout all of time, that have been given circumstances too hard and lives too short to travel through the incomprehensible and vast beauty of the world. I lamented the horrible truth that even the luckiest among us will only ever see a tiny fraction of what the world has to offer, because we can’t live every life in every place simultaneously. I grieved for all the dances and bike rides and random connections that never were.
And I fretted over what is on the other river bank. What happens when you’ve made it across Styx. That question consumed me. I was reminded of Thich Nhat Hanh: “Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realizes it’s water.” I did battle with that quote for weeks. When I finally admitted defeat, I acknowledged, if not fully accepted, that consciousness is the wave. It is real, but it is temporary. The water itself never disappears, only changes. But when the wave hits the shore, it is gone forever. When Poussey smiled at me, I mourned for the moment when all the waves hit the other shore. And I dread and fear the day my wave will take me no farther. I’ve grown fond of this feeble little consciousness of mine. I wish I could ride it forever.
Thank you, Jenji Kohan, Lauren Morelli, and Samira Wiley, you beautiful souls and inspiring women, for creating something so remarkable it hurts.