At the beginning of the semester, I always promise myself that I’ll post at least once a week. For a while, it’s smooth sailing. And then week 10 hits and project due dates and exams start rolling in and it all falls to pieces. That’s why you usually hear so little from me at this time of the year. But the past few weeks it’s been more than just that. The past few weeks have been hell. Possibly some of the worst days of my life so far. That’s really not saying much because, for the most part, I think my life’s been exceptionally good. Still. Everyone has dark days.
I won’t go into all of the gory details here. Who needs them? Ultimately, this post isn’t about them. This post is about me coming out the other side and reaching for positivity again.
It’s almost eleven at night now, and I’m curled up on my couch underneath my fuzzy blue electric blanket wearing the hot pink sweater Will’s aunt insisted on buying me at Cedar Point this summer. I didn’t think I’d love it this much at the time, but it actually has a perfectly hedgie-sized pocket on the front and it feels like wearing a hug. I’ve needed all the hugs I can get. I have my Christmas lights strung up on the wall along with photos of my childhood and my family. Will is asleep in the other room. He’s completely exhausted, poor guy. He just flew in from Germany today, and he had a twenty-hour layover on the way. He could have stayed at his place and slept it off, but he came here. I’m glad.
The longer I sit here and think, the more I notice all of the happy things around me. My woven rainbow blanket from Guatemala. The art that covers my walls. The big paper butterflies I stuck in odd places. The one glow in the dark star on my living room ceiling, where I forgot it. These things are lovely. When I feel awful, they remind me to look for the bright details in life.
Emotionally, everything feels shaky right now. I’ve had to dig up some old crap this month and come to terms with it all over again. On top of that, every strange little upsetting thing has happened to me these last two weeks, from spilling scalding tea on my hand to being late to class, not doing so great as a teacher, hearing from other people who are hurting, the Trump presidency, not having enough money for groceries, a million due dates, and more. My fish died, too. It’s been a wild ride. But Will coming home today felt like a turning point. He got here an hour earlier than I expected, just after I’d tried to figure out how a curling iron works and just before I was planning on tackling the mountain of dishes in the sink (they pile up somehow when I get depressed). He swooped me up in the doorway, covered me in kisses, and then pulled tons of German candies and an incredible coat out of his bag for me. Happiness.
This weekend, I will take the time to self-heal. Sometimes life sucks. So be it. We deal with it, we step aside for a moment to breathe and regain our footing, and then we keep going. We forgive those who hurt us and if they become too toxic to bear, we move away from them entirely. It’s ok to feel sad about it. But it isn’t the end of love and happiness in our lives. It’s only a moment in them. I’m learning to be there for all of the moments, even the painful or angry ones. I’m also learning to let them slip into the past and to choose joy and love wherever I can. I really suck at it sometimes, but I’m learning. Do the training wheels ever really come off?
A poem for Jules, courtesy of a friend:
In a cool curving world he lies
And ripples with dark ecstasies.
The kind luxurious lapse and steal
Shapes all his universe to feel
And know and be; the clinging stream
Closes his memory, glooms his dream,
Who lips the roots o’ the shore, and glides
Superb on unreturning tides.
Those silent waters weave for him
A fluctuant mutable world and dim,
Where wavering masses bulge and gape
Mysterious, and shape to shape
Dies momently through whorl and hollow,
And form and line and solid follow
Solid and line and form to dream
Fantastic down the eternal stream;
An obscure world, a shifting world,
Bulbous, or pulled to thin, or curled,
Or serpentine, or driving arrows,
Or serene slidings, or March narrows.
There slipping wave and shore are one,
And weed and mud. No ray of sun,
But glow to glow fades down the deep
(As dream to unknown dream in sleep);
Shaken translucency illumes
The hyaline of drifting glooms;
The strange soft-handed depth subdues
Drowned colour there, but black to hues,
As death to living, decomposes —
Red darkness of the heart of roses,
Blue brilliant from dead starless skies,
And gold that lies behind the eyes,
The unknown unnameable sightless white
That is the essential flame of night,
Lustreless purple, hooded green,
The myriad hues that lie between
Darkness and darkness! . . .