It’s overcast in Austin right now. Too many warm, sunny days in a row, maybe. Wind gusts threaten to push me over, but I’m dancing against them – wiggling in place while waiting to cross the street. The light changes and I’m half skipping, half floating over the crosswalk. Giddy happiness feels odd, but I don’t want to scare it away by addressing it directly.
Here I am, a mess of a girl on a stormy day.
I am beaming, brimming, blushing, beside myself.
“Out of the desert and into the sun,” they say.
Rent has been paid for this month. Next hurdle is my car payment, but I’m nearly positive it’ll be fine. I love who I live with and where we live. My boyfriend is the sweetest boy in all of Texas. My family is happy and safe and still as much a circus as ever.
Things are going well.
I haven’t posted anything on my blog since mid-October. One thing led to another and I completely fell off the blog horse (Blorse?)(Hlog?). I’ve missed it a lot, this talking-into-the-void-and-hope-someone-shouts-back agreement I have with the Internet.
One of my closest friends passed away shortly after my last post. She was my friend long before I ever deserved a friend like her, and believed in my poems like no one I’ve ever known. Writing felt silly if Julian wasn’t going to be there to read it. It hurts so much to think about her being gone, and I still break down about it sometimes. A song will come up or someone will say her name and all of a sudden my heart is turning itself inside out.
Two weekends ago, I found a page in an old journal where I had handwritten a text Julian sent me ages ago. I was struggling with something dark and heavy, and I remember reaching out to her for some type of guidance. She assured me, in the gentle, knowing way only she could, that I was infinite and full of dreams watching to be achieved, if only I could not be so hard on myself. She signed off with a line that I think about nearly every day: “You will escape it soon because so much potential never had stood so still. Okay?”
I wrote something about her death the day before I drove to Dallas for her funeral. It sat unpublished until now because I didn’t feel like it could ever do the pain of it all justice. You can read it if you want, but I still haven’t found a way to reconcile the ache in my chest with words.
So, needless to say, my public writing has fallen by the wayside in favor of internship presentations and nannying and hiking dates and general life things. But, at least this time, not because I fell into darkness and sadness again. No, not this time. I’m right off shore, basking in the sun.
I’m working two jobs (soon to become three?) and volunteering for SXSW and managing social media for a ovarian cancer coalition chapter. I’m hiking when I can and exploring Austin and buying concert tickets and even remembering to clean my room from time to time. I am working my tail off to make it work, and I think it’s working.
I’m really proud of myself for keeping my head above water for this long.
Thank you for those who’ve helped me. I owe you a lot.
I wrote the piece below about coming out of darkness (again) at the beginning of February. The power of suggestion must have worked on the Universe, because I feel amazing. I hope you’re thriving too.
“The Opposite of Memento Mori”
I take the time to snapshot my days. To remember the difference between Monday night and Thursday morning and Sunday afternoon. I spread them out on the rug, dozens of polaroids with my handwriting scrawled across the bottom.
This, I tell whoever listen, is how I dragged myself out into the light again.
This is how I am still alive.
This is how I drive home every day. This is how I find comfort in the same commute: to and from, there and back again. This is how I pull into my driveway.
I rise with the sun.
Half asleep and still groggy,
But not unhappy
This is how you dive into your work. This is how you bury your fears. This is how you stand on your own two feet after all these years.
This is how I learned to hold myself. This is how my favorite boots click on the tile like I know my worth. This is how to put on lipstick so you won’t care that you’re scared of everything.
“Glowing like summer
So men shiver like winter”
Is my new mantra
This is how to shake off those who want you as a stepping stone. This is how to cry when someone says “I love you.” This is how to cry when you don’t know what else to do.
This is how we found center again. This is how we stumble back into each other even though I could have sworn we were running in opposite directions. This is how I kiss you again and again and again.
My heartbeat skipping
Is the butterfly effect
Of this newfound light
This is how I made it. Through two more deaths. Another funeral. Another winter. Another death. Another New Year. Another anxiety attack or two or 10. Another round of rejection. Another avalanche. Another mountaintop.
This is how wings look when they’re finally spread. Isn’t it a sight?
This is how I stayed alive.
“Si vis amari, ama.” — Seneca