The truth about waiting


Waiting for the Supreme Court of the United States to issue a decision on California’s Proposition 8 can feel like waiting for your alcoholic ex-girlfriend, who also happens to be a pathological liar, to pay back the money she borrowed from you so she could rent a truck to move her crap out of your basement. She can say she’s going to pay you back, but you’ve heard it all before.

Okay, I’ve never actually had an alcoholic, pathological liar ex-girlfriend, and I don’t have a basement, but let’s just say that one of my Netflix sub-categories could be “romantic tragedy with a codependent twist.” So I’ve seen a lot of love-gone-wrong movies, and I’ve spent the past four years watching Prop 8 wind its way through the court system. Let me tell you, the parallels are uncanny.

First, you don’t hear from the court for months. Then, when they resurface, you find out about it from a third party. Gossip circles form, analyzing what exactly the court will do when they finally speak to you. Rumors fly about a particular event where you might actually run into each other, and though at first you don’t believe the rumors, so many people who really know the court well swear that this event is the real deal. So you soften your defenses a little and note the date on your calendar.

Because the rumors persist, before you know it, though you swore you would never do this again, you start to believe them. You dust off your “Love Is Love” demonstration sign, you move the champagne from the garage to the fridge; you charge the camera batteries, just in case. And despite the committee of inner voices chattering about your naiveté and all those past disappointments, you let hope spread her wings.

And then: nothing. The court stands you up. Again. You feel like an idiot. Or at least I do.

I can’t believe I bought into that whole “on November 30th, the Supreme Court of the United States will decide what to do about Proposition 8” thing. From what I read on Facebook, it looks like hoards of other hopeful folks bought into it too. Again. Damn it.

Now, instead of unleashing my traditional diatribe on the inhumanity of the legal system, and before I get caught up in the inevitable next round of “big news coming soon” hype, I want to take a moment here to write a note to my future self, a sort of “break glass in case of emergency” list of truths to remember when the next wave of “coming soon” excitement swells. (I saw this in a love-gone-wrong movie once. It seemed to work.) Here goes:

Truth #1: No one knows what will happen.

Truth #2: No one knows when it will happen.

Truth #3: The human brain hates not knowing, so it will work overtime to fill the information void.

Truth #4: The myriad SCOTUS / Prop 8 analyses fluttering into your inbox and popping up on your favorite websites are a byproduct of Truth #3.

Truth #5: Waiting sucks.

Truth #6: What is going to happen at SCOTUS is going to happen, whether you obsess over it or not.

Truth #7: You don’t have to wait.

Truth #8: No, Truth #7 does not mean that I have some SCOTUS insider information that I can share with you right now.

Truth #9: What I mean by Truth #7 is this: instead of getting distracted by thoughts about the future (a.k.a. “waiting”), you can shift your attention to the present moment.

Truth #10: While you have been typing this list, your six-year-old son has been climbing on your lap, hugging you, massaging your shoulders, and “blessing your heart” with a piece of rose quartz.

Truth #11: More often than not, the present moment is rad like that: all it wants is your full attention, and in return it gives you abundant love.

Truth #12: Reveling in the present moment is way better than waiting for your alcoholic, pathological liar ex-girlfriend to repay her debt, or for the United States Supreme Court to restore your rights.

Truth #13: If you’re still reading this, go back to Truths #7-12.

Poet, writer, activist, and educator, Cheryl Dumesnil is the author of the forthcoming memoir “Love Song for Baby X: How I Stayed (Almost) Sane on the Rocky Road to Parenthood.” She spends her free time jumping on a trampoline and telling potty jokes, because the sound of her kids’ laughter makes her really, really happy.

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