I remember the first time my mom let me buy a pair of ripped up jeans.
I loved them in the store. At 18, they made me feel rebellious, youthful and free. But I remember wearing them to Sunday morning church, and spending the entire sermon trying to tie each strand back together. Hoping that somehow it might distract my thoughts from the pastor up front, who was unaware that the words he was saying were not stitching the pieces of a crumbling relationship, a stressful senior year, and an endless amount of questions about the future of my life, into something that might make sense to me. A futile process that only led to further frustration as to why I couldn’t just have my jeans put back together.
I knew the purpose of the jeans was to wear them with holes, and my mom even poked fun at me when she noticed what I was doing. “You can’t tie the strings back together, Alyssa,” she whispered while she rolled her eyes. The holes may have showed character and a story, but dammit if I wasn’t going to tie them back together thread by thread.
I’ve always had the natural desire to put things back together: pieces of me, pieces of other people, trying to make sense of what was once, and why it can’t go back to being the same anymore.
My jeans proved that was near impossible. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t stay put together. Why was it so hard for one string to pull back on the other so that another piece of the puzzle could fall back into place?
And still I wonder, why can’t I keep it together, or keep things organized? A variety of different threads left untethered to something bigger than myself. Why is it so hard for the big picture to just stay in one place?
If graduation was just a concept then why was it so hard to get there. Settling down, finishing school, getting a job, having a family, all pieces that would eventually come together, but for now leaving a gaping hole in life’s big puzzle. Like all of the edge pieces have been found, with an impossible amount of combinations for the middle part to be put together.
I’d get two strands done, then three, four if I was lucky. Then I’d make one wrong move again, and they would all fall back to pieces.
I take this class not another. I turn one job down and take the other. One wrong choice, and I start back at square one, where everything that had already been stacked neatly on a shelf where it belonged. Only to turn around after time, and the arrangement I had made was something I no longer recognized.
It’s when I stopped looking at the strings as forgotten and lonely pieces did I get over my obsession of stitching the holes back together. There’s nothing wrong with the emptiness if you don’t focus on it. Rather on the fact that the holes make a statement, and the strands that stuck around through the wear and tear are the important ones that create the character.
Not everything in this life can or should be put together in such a way that there are no gaping holes to fill. Not every plan has an outline, not every map gives you step by step instructions. You just have to know you will eventually arrive at the destination.
And a life without the search of fulfillment is not one I want to live. It’s what we search for that matters.
Besides, without holes in our jeans who would come around to check and see “Did you buy your jeans like that?” and you can proudly look back and say that yes you did.
So cut up your jeans, sew them back together and wear your story.
More serious pieces of writing dedicated to making readers feel something.