This, I think, is the third hardest time in my life. The first, I won’t talk about here, but it was a long time ago with a girl who feels like someone other than me now. The second was in May of 2007 when my mom suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage and I spent 5 weeks in Arizona during her recovery.
This is so hard. I have good moments and sad moments in every day, spend some parts of every day laughing and others crying. I have times when I’m sure I’ve gone crazy and that the silent judgment I feel from some friends over my decisions and wild plans must be justified. I think about backing out regularly and just running back to the safety of everything I’ve given up…as if that’s an option.
It’s harder now than it was at the beginning- and that makes sense when you think about it. Then I was just relieved to not be fighting anymore. It felt like a huge weight lifted from my shoulders to be able to have peace and not have to mentally and emotionally wrestle to try to solve the unsolvable. And there was an initial burst of excitement at the realization that I could do anything now. I probably gave the false impression to some that I didn’t give a shit. I did and I do.
My friend Kate told me something a few years ago that I’ll never forget. She said that grieving is non-linear, and I think that’s true. The idea that it’s supposed to “get a little easier everyday” just sets you up for thinking something’s wrong with you if you don’t feel bad in the first week but do a month in. It ends up feeling like a setback when that’s just part of the process as it really is: non-linear. I’ve been trying to remember that, especially now, a couple months in, when it’s become harder. I try not to forecast misery, but I don’t expect to be “done” either.
I’m starting to take solid steps toward my independent life and that’s both sad and scary. Sad, because some of my travel plans were things we planned to do together. Scary, not because of the solo aspect, but because they are things I’ve dreamed of doing for half my life. I’ve built them up, put them on a pedestal, but still prioritized away from them until now. And now that I’m finally going to do them I hope I find them worth the sacrifice and that I don’t fall on my face. I feel in my heart of hearts that they are and that I won’t…in the good moments.
I haven’t made it easy on myself either. I’ve learned some valuable things about myself through this. I try to rush through uncomfortable things. I’m okay dealing with uncomfortable things, but I attempt to compartmentalize them into a clump and bang out the work of them so I can get on to the happier things. Note to self- this isn’t working. Clumping a string of tough things together is mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting, and is a sure-fire way to feel totally off-balance. It also means cutting myself off for that time, from the very things and people that could help boost me through it- and that’s a recipe for some low lows…and head-up-my-own-ass-syndrome, and that’s no good for the world either.
Part of what’s been neglected in this, has been this blog. You wouldn’t know it from my absence, but this blog is my second priority, after family and friends, in my life right now. It’s a symbol of my finally daring to step forward and put on display for whomever will read it, my creativity. Until now, my creative professional life has been collaborative, and ultimately someone else could take the credit or the blame for a given project. This is just me, although admittedly for some time, I used Francisco as a bit of a shield.
I’m not entirely comfortable here on this stage yet. Especially when I’m feeling raw, and that’s another reason for absences between posts. I also get a little trapped by the idea that this is supposed to be a travel blog, but as my friend Sara reminded me, this is part of my journey.
So here’s what I’m vowing now to myself and to you so I’ll be accountable. I will write at least one post per week. I can’t promise that it will fit into a neat and tidy travel category, but it’ll definitely be part of the journey.
Thanks Ayngelina for your kind emails and encouragement to commit to this, to Kent and Caanan, Erica, Beth, Andi, and Kirsten, for awesome “checking in” emails, and to all of you sweet people for supporting, reading, and commenting.