It is one of those days. It is one of those times. It is one of those periods where I go through this stagnant water sort of existence. The time goes by and the life moves on around me, but I am just standing still, staying the same, and slipping away from my own life and self.
It isn’t deliberate, of course. It is all wrapped up in my psychology and my physiology in ways that I can sort of explain but cannot fully understand, even with my genius-type brain and self-aware spirit. I avoid. I isolate. I turn my back on the world because I want to turn away from feeling, I guess. Or from my memories. Or from my current situation. Who knows which? Maybe all at once.
I change playlists on Spotify. I can’t write about this sadness while listening to happy music. Bon Iver might work. Let’s try that.
But it isn’t really sadness I feel. It is more like distance that I feel. The otherness of being me, and the knowledge that I am really other right now, keeps me hiding in some ways. I don’t feel safe around people. I feel like my pain will fall out unexpectedly, and pain scares people away. I guess they are afraid it might rub off on them—it is contagious in some way. Or maybe they feel like I do.
Maybe they feel tired of feeling. Maybe they have too much to feel also. Too much to think about. Too much to fix. Too much to deal with. Maybe they can’t let my pain near because their own pain is too much to handle. Carrying a bit of mine would break them, perhaps.
But I don’t think it works that way. I think that the burdens of others can be light to me. Solidarity. Understanding. Release. All that happens when we carry for one another. And I find it easy to carry the burdens of another. I’d rather carry theirs than my own.
I turn the music louder. I’m drowning out the voices in the street, and in my head.
There is some chaos happening on the block. Guys repeatedly opening and shutting their trunk and hollering back and forth to one another as they trade places … one by the trunk and the other in the car, then the reverse. Why they don’t just both stand by the trunk and resolve the issue and then return to the car is beyond my comprehension. Ah…they have just taken that thought from my brain and made it reality. They are both behind the car now. Whatever work they are doing, it seems meticulous and complex. I wonder if it actually is meticulous and complex. Or maybe they just aren’t terribly skilled in whatever task they seek to accomplish.
And again I sit here thinking outside myself. Thinking of nothing of import. Watching the world happen—watching life happen. I am not life right now. Not today. I am stagnant. I am avoiding. I am isolating. Because I can’t cope with life right now. And I’m not even sure what part of life is challenging me. I just know that it is. That I don’t want to deal with it—that my psyche cannot deal with it … whatever “it” may be.
I stare out at the yellowing leaves gently swaying before run down houses. It is both beauty and blight. That thought helps. The admission that the life outside of me—the world outside of me—is also beauty and blight. I take them both as truth. I hold both. I walk in both.
Maybe that is what I need do with myself.
Accept both beauty and blight.
Accept that this stagnant living is a part of the process toward wholeness, and just ride it out. Know that Monday I get to tell my therapist how I feel, and that I pay her more than enough to carry my pain. Know that the brilliance and beauty of my being will once again shine out in bright color above the run down shell of my history and my current struggles. Or that maybe, just maybe, others already see the beauty I am challenged to acknowledge. Just as I see a beauty outside my window that many cannot acknowledge.
So, I will sit in my little corner of the world and watch the living happen outside my window, and see the beauty and the blight—the beauty in the blight, perhaps. And, one day soon, I will venture out into it. I will eventually embrace living again. I know this to be true. I will become life and movement and flow. Maybe not today, but soon.
I see the man across the street quickly look away as I look up and survey the block once more. He is watching me, in my isolation, from his front stoop. Maybe I am closer to life than I know, as he pulls me into his by watching me write up here in my box of brick and glass. Maybe I move more than I know. Stagnant water can give birth to life. All sorts of things grow from it. Even though I don’t feel like I am actively living, life may be happening because of me.
I think I will hold that close.
Even when life doesn’t seem to flow freely from me, there is still life all around and in me, in some sense. And I will hold on to the beauty of that life, until I am able to let the beauty of my own be freely acknowledged and felt.