It’s funny, isn’t it? How one day you can be feeling so confident that you’ve finally arrived at that place where things are going to be better and within minutes of having this crazy notion of normalcy, the wind shift and everything is batshit again? While my persecution complex makes me want to believe this special kind of neurotic cosmic energy is directed to me alone, I know it isn’t. I know I’m not the only one who fights the voice inside that says “Give up.” I know I’m not the only one who is afraid to feel happy because it’s easier just to stay sad and not have happiness taken away. I know I’m not the only one longing for what we used to take for granted….for unmuffled laughter, for festivals, for theater popcorn in a crowded movie theater, for a country not courting civil war, for peace of mind, for a blissful raw-dogging-the-air-without-fear existence. I know everyone is stressed out, broken hearted and fatigued by endless outrage. I know I’m not the only one who is “thirsty” for better…for a time when it feels safe to hope again.
In my last post, I more or less said “goodbye” to this blog. It was created in 2013 after a life event that left me shattered in a way I never thought I would recover. I named it “Thirsty Thoughts and Prayers” because that is what I was feeling when an online friend offered to set up a writing space for me. And for many years, this space helped me makes sense of things while I mended. Having moved through my 2013 heartache and arrived at the other side of the event where hindsight made me grateful it happened, I thought I was “quenched.” I thought I wouldn’t be thirsty anymore. I thought, having survived the hardest thing I had ever experienced, I was done being thirsty for answers and a life that made sense.
If I could go back in time and talk to the 2019 version of myself who had discovered “freedom in shedding my personal belongings on an unplanned journey of minimalism” and embarking on a life of full-time travel, I would try to be gentle but there is no real nice way to say “I know you think you’ve got it all figured out and your new life as a sojourner sounds great but there is going to be a global pandemic and probably a civil war, so hold our happy panties girlfriend…you ain’t quenched. And, what’s more, you fixin’ to be thirstier than you’ve ever been.” Truly…there is no way to say that gently.
I’ve spent the past seven months in utter isolation. With the exception of two one-week visits from a dear friend, I’ve spent every minute of these seven months alone, 1,000 miles away from anyone who knew me and completely without purpose or any idea of how to find a purpose. I couldn’t plan a way from being alone with myself. I couldn’t escape my own company. I was alone, so very very alone, with the person I’ve hated most all my life.
Maybe there are some who have moved through this past year in all ways graceful and successful. I have nothing but respect for these people who have turned tragedy into triumph but I don’t claim to be one of them. I’ve gained weight and lost my direction. I’ve slipped into a comfortable depression and I’ve slept away the days, weeks and months that seems too long and pointless to live. I’ve ignored relationships that needed tending and mending and let things go unsaid too long. I’ve numbed my mind and my emotions with Xanax and Netflix. I’ve stopped having adventures and making new memories. But at the same time that I admit that I have fallen down in a lot of ways ove the past couple of years, I have grown a new kind of grudging respect for myself. It’s true that I’ve haven’t thrived. But…I have survived.
It wasn’t pleasant, it wasn’t pretty and it isn’t over…but at least I’m writing again.