I’m working through a potential article for Thought Catalog, y’all. Writing an article for an external site is a bit different than a blog post, as I’m sure many of you already understand. Unlike the ability to bounce nimbly-pimbly from thought tree to thought tree, I take a core concept or question and create an arc of exploration, usually through the guise of a personal experience, from which I glean some kind of insight, like a concluding thought (or something like that). Question -> Evidence -> conclusion(s). This time around, I’m actually working on a larger arc, across more than one article. I’m completing what I think is the resolution to two previous articles I wrote for TC, both regarding Mr. Red. Beginning, middle, end. Nothing uniquely special, by any means.
I’ve been meaning to verbally catalog that glorious moment when you finally realize that you’re over it. Over the whole goddamn thing. Like, finally, truly, over it. It took much longer than I wanted and required a certain kind of catalyst to come to fruition, but in a split second I found myself laughing, and it was as if this ankle weight had lifted itself, not from my ankle (because then the metaphor would make sense), but from my heart.
It doesn’t come with a giant fanfare, confetti falling from the ceiling and a busty blond bursting from a cake. It’s funny how the moments, the changes that feel the most profound, happen almost instantaneously. But I suppose they don’t happen so quickly, exactly. All the subtle shifts happen below the surface. Even when it feels like you can’t get through 10 minutes without thinking of them directly or indirectly, really you’re going through the motions of moving on without them. The cord connecting you to them is fraying even when you think it’s an impossible knot. And then, in an instant, the life preserver-turned-suffocating cage around your heart deflates, and it’s like you can breath again. You can like things, people, again, in ways you thought you had forgotten. You can be optimistic again. You can believe the best in people again. The problem is, or it was for me, at least, is that I craved that instant like an impatient child. I fought the idea of having to wade through that pain, lugging my barely floating heart behind me, because that “life preserver,” aka the pockets of emotional air you put up to protect yourself from receiving any more of that pain so freshly incurred, quickly becomes a burden. Its weight slowly increases until the burden is no longer the pain but the baggage attached to the shell of that pain. But, like that fraying cord, you don’t notice it until it sloughs off like dead skin. And that sensation, of feeling somehow lighter, makes me giddy.
I just wish there was a shortcut; a foolproof equation to get you to the other side as quickly as possible… but there isn’t one. And now I see some people I was involved with, and how their suffering seems to have renewed itself, and I feel for them. Because I’ve been there. There’s no pain like it, and it sucks. I wish I could help them, but I can’t. Because they are the only ones that can get themselves through it. You can’t ask anyone else to lug that burden for you; you gotta get over the hill yourself…
As much as it feels like I should end there…. I can’t find it in myself to do that. Because if I had read that in the midst of my pain puddle, I would have felt so helpless. So, let me offer a few silver linings:
1. You are not incapable of a meaningful relationship during this tumultuous period. That being said, this is a period of transition, of great change, and you may be a different person when the change comes to fruition. That doesn’t mean you can’t connect with someone, but that connection may prove fleeting.
2. If you are lucky, you have people who, while they can’t carry the burden for you, they can encourage you through the marathon of grief, and finally across the finish line. Never shy away from contact with the outside world, or of talking about what you’re going through. Even if you’re worried about airing your grievances, remember that it helps. Besides, like Dr. Seuss so aptly observed, “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
And 3, because this cannot be stated enough: Social media is not your friend. You hear me?! It’s not your fucking friend!! Resist the temptation at every post, especially if a bottle of wine and Morrissey are involved. It will most likely come off melodramatic (even to you, eventually), and you will facepalm yourself later.
But, if (hah, let’s be honest, when) you fuck up, forgive yourself. Please, forgive yourself. Because the world isn’t ending. You’re gonna be okay. Just give it time. I know that’s infuriating, but that’s what it takes. That’s all it takes… time.
Current Jam: “Precarity Rules” Worriers