The fuck is your life: Thoughts on death

giphy (13)

The other day, death stopped by.

My life wasn’t in danger, neither was the life anyone I know really well and love dearly. It was more like a chat … like one might have over afternoon tea. Only it wasn’t much of a conversation, more like a statement said in passing … and then me reeling to process it.

I was warming up my lunch in the break room of my beautiful downtown office, staring out the 9th floor-to-ceiling windows, and all of a sudden I felt heavy .. weary.

Death brushed by my shoulder. He whispered in my ear.

“One day you will die.” 

And then he was gone.

What a dick, right?

I just stood there, staring out the window at the building workers on the roof of the building next to mine. They were close to the edge and not much separated them from the vast expanse below, just a flimsy little rope fence. It would be so easy to fall.

Those words hit me and I realized that one day this will all be gone, these buildings, these streets, these men … and I won’t be here. I won’t see what the world becomes. And all of a sudden I was overwhelmed with the weight (or lack thereof) of my own existence.

As I stared at the workers, I thought about that morning and how some asshole had cut me off and I was so angry I flipped him off. I thought about how stressful my job can be at times. I thought about the men I have loved, so greatly, only to have my heart wrecked. I thought about drunken nights with my best friend and laughing so hard my face and stomach ache. I thought about how annoyed I get when my phone rings, no matter who it is that’s calling. I thought about how lonely I’ve been these last few years. I thought about how all of my friendships are important, yes, but sometimes I wonder how close we really are (well, with the exception of Ash). And then, I thought about my life … and it’s impermanence … and I wondered … does my life mean anything?

What is my life?

I thought about all of this, the good and the bad. And then I thought … I have no idea what happens to us when we die. I have faith, but I don’t know what it’s like to die. I don’t know what’s on the other side. Maybe there’s nothing at all. This life is colorful. Is death the opposite of that? Is death … just darkness?

“One day you will die.”

This is something we know, every day. We know we will die one day, even if we don’t think about that often. We know in the back of our minds that this life is temporary and impermanent. We know we will die and yet … and yet … do I ever take the time to really think on it? No. Because thinking about death is heavy. Painful. Difficult. Thinking about death can be paralyzing. That day it was.

Continue reading “The fuck is your life: Thoughts on death”

Here’s to the cry babies

0176de4376bdce839825b665b18526cf70afef2d_hq

 

The other day I was in the bathroom at work and I heard someone crying. A kind of hushed sob I know all too well. It wasn’t a loud cry but it wasn’t a little one either. It was weeping in a whisper. Soft, heartwrenching sobs.

It was clear she was trying hard to contain the sound for fear someone might walk in. I don’t think she knew I was there. My heart … ached. I wondered … what is this woman going through? A heartbreak? Loss of a parent? Bad health news? Or was her heart broken at her job? Was she feeling purposeless and lost?

Hearing her cries reminded me of my own dark season I only just now feel like I’m really getting out of. It is bizarre to me how windy and long the path to healing sometimes is … and how unique but also similar the journey is for all of us.

Last year, when I was going through my first and really only heartbreak, the tears and emotions took me by surprise. I expected tears, of course. I’m a cryer. I cry at a lot of things. (My third grade teacher even called me a cry baby at one point … rude.)

But what I didn’t expect was how often or how randomly I would cry as I did in those first few months after losing A.

Oh I cried in the expected places – bars (damn you sweet alcohol), places where we’d been that were romantic to me, the privacy of my home when I’d remember moments that seemed so special. But it was the weird emotional gut punches that came out of nowhere that I wasn’t prepared for that would have me crying in the most unexpected of places. Like on the elevator having a flash of a memory with his hand in mine and my heart racing. Or during a meeting, when I was supposed to be paying attention and suddenly I’d remember the way he’d hold my face in his hands, so tenderly.

The mind is so strange when it’s trying to heal. At least my mind is. It fails to compartmentalize. So the worst moments were when I’d be at work talking to someone about a project I was working on, totally engrossed in the details but somehow my mind would dart to a forgotten moment, like the first time he kissed me and all of a sudden tears would start to well up. In that instant I would remember everything so … fresh. The smell, the feel, how my heart leapt for joy. My mind would replay it clearly and so quickly, before I had a chance to put a guard up, and then I’m having to explain that no, no I’m not crying because I have small changes to this email I’m working on, I’m just tired or someone I vaguely knew passed away.

There were days I had to go to the bathroom nonstop to try and weep in private. It was my only solace. And it was terrible, because I’d go there, weep quietly, sometimes not quietly, then return to my desk assuming all the tears had been cried. Only to find out I was wrong, get back up a few minutes later and return to the bathroom to cry again.

I felt dumb. Hopeless. Here I was hurting over someone who .. didn’t choose me. Who abandoned me in a sense. I felt like a fool. It was embarrassing.

Some people might see this … display of emotion as weakness. And I did too. For a long time.

I don’t anymore.

Continue reading “Here’s to the cry babies”

Good right now: Or how I found my bench in the sun

It is amazing what can happen in a month.

At the end of March, I moved to a new home, started a new job and embarked on a new chapter in my life. I saw these moves as really positive … and a way to start cultivating better habits. Out with the old, in with the new, right?

What I didn’t take into account was how much the change would actually have on my emotional state. Though the new place was bigger and in a better neighborhood, though my new job is exactly like something I would’ve killed to have been in for the past few years, all this change was draining on my heart. My routine was different, my patterns all off. Most of this was for my good. But even though I might know that on a head level, it didn’t stop my heart from silently panicking and getting overwhelmed. I forget that change … even good change … is really hard for me to handle.

Recently all this change came to a head while I was on a trip in Mexico. I had one of those ‘dark nights of the soul’. Are you familiar? Maybe you’ve had them too. It was, of course, spurred on by alcohol. But every fearful, anxious thought I’ve been trying to squash with talk of positivity and how great and promising this new chapter in my life would be, finally came rushing to the surface. And it brought me to my knees in anguish and tears and a feeling of utter hopelessness.

Memories of my ex, guilt over every loss that was my fault, deep feelings of loneliness and unworthiness, fears that every new good thing will also be taken because so much has, heart ache over unrequited love. A deep pervasive sadness in my soul that seemed too unbearable to overcome. A weight in my chest so heavy it was hard to breathe.

When these dark nights happen (and they don’t happen all that often), they are quite terrifying. I know it’s an emotional response. I know it’s likely sheer emotional exhaustion. It’s temporary. I know this truth on a deep level and yet when I’m in the middle of it it feels as if there is a wall between my heart and this truth. And all there is is swirling darkness and an abyss so deep I can’t fathom ever being able to climb out. And nothing I can do or say seems to soothe me. My only choice is to survive it.

And I did.

Continue reading “Good right now: Or how I found my bench in the sun”

March is for ‘Moving Forward’: Or how I learned to let go in my way

Let It Go Dog GIF-source

I’ve always struggled with letting go. It’s a really strange and difficult concept for me. I think partly because it seems like … so sad in a way to me. Rose should’ve NEVER let go of Jack, just saying.

My struggle with this concept of letting go (which incidentally means I also struggle with acceptance, but that’s another post for another day) keeps me holding on to the past well past it’s expiration date. This makes it really hard to live in the present. I end up spending the bulk of my time either reliving the past or trying to envision a brighter future versus just being right where I am in that exact moment. My friends have all noticed this, counselors too. The advice? Let go. Let go of the past. Stay in the present.

But … how?

Seriously.

No one really has an answer for that. It’s unique to everyone I suppose.

Letting go of the emotions attached to a previous experience is especially difficult for me as I am a deeply feeling personality type. This means when I do relive the past, I relive every emotion associated with an experience. If it’s a pleasant one, then that’s great! If it’s a painful one (which, let’s be honest … the painful ones are the ones most people struggle to let go of), I am basically recreating the exact same awful emotions I felt the first time. It’s a cycle of repeated suffering and torture and it’s mostly self-inflicted.

There’s the ick part. The good part is I may have found a way to stop the cycle.

Continue reading “March is for ‘Moving Forward’: Or how I learned to let go in my way”