From where I’m sitting, in my chair by my bedroom window, I can see my back yard, although the nice view is obscured by the fact that my mom has parked a car and a trailer in the back yard directly in my line of sight. It’s currently dusk, it will be night very soon. I was listening to music before I started writing this but I stopped, and now the things I can hear are the fan I’ve placed in my window because it’s finally starting to cool off outside, the faint hum of my ceiling fan (which will drive me crazy if I notice it, to the point that I usually have to turn it off), and the distant echo of crickets outside, a sound I’ve heard all my life because my family has always lived in or near the woods. When crickets sing there’s a kind of breath to it, their sound goes in and out like air passing through lungs, it’s cyclical and that’s probably why people find it so soothing. I don’t know if I find it particularly soothing.
I do find rain soothing, though. I remember the first time I realized that I actually LIKED rain, it was kind of a surprise. It was in sixth grade and I was walking home after getting off the school bus, and it was an overcast, dreary day, and the street was slick and fog hung in the air. And all of a sudden I realized that I LIKED this, that I felt calm and safe, and it struck me how unusual that is. It might have been my first “I’m not like other people” moment, except that I know I had those thoughts a lot as a kid.
We view that whole “I’m not like the others” thing as a cringeworthy affectation of adolescence but I’m starting to think that the things we look back on from youth and cringe at are actually precious things that we should cherish the memory of. So much of my life in the past two years has become about looking backward. I don’t know if I CAN look forward. I was having trouble with that BEFORE the world was plunged into a chaos that seems to be only getting worse, so I certainly can’t say that I’m any more capable now.
The one skill I’ve cultivated throughout my life – hunkering down and passing time idly – seems to be suddenly useful in this new quarantine lifestyle we’re all living through. Of course, I live in America, so most of us don’t have the luxury of being quarantined. That includes me. I went on voluntary leave from my job in April, and for the past five months I’ve been trying to make money doing Uber Eats, which has been steadily paying less and less while doing a lot of damage to my car. I’ve been in several scrapes, a deer broke one of my headlights, and my engine is having troubles despite just recently getting an oil and filter change. Fixing all of those things costs a lot of money. And I’ve spent months now just trying to keep my bank account above $50 on any given day.
The truth is, I’ve felt lately as thought things are coming to an end. It’s something I’ve spoken with my therapist about (and yes, I have started therapy, but I’ll get to that). I can’t explain it, but it feels like I’m standing at the end of my life and looking back, taking stock on everything that’s happened. It’s a combination of things that makes me feel that way.
The first is that I turned thirty in May. I was prepared for it, because I spent my entire twenty-ninth year having an existential crisis about my age. Along with another crisis I’ll come to. But now that it’s actually here, well… maybe it’s because the circumstances of the world have so drastically changed since my twenty-ninth birthday, but it doesn’t seem so CLIMACTIC and as big of a deal. I mean, I’m still anxious about it, and I still feel aimless and tired and listless all at once. But my problems don’t seem so big anymore. That’s helpful, I think.
There’s so much to talk about that I don’t know where to begin, and actually I’ve learned that it’s important NOT to try and talk about everything all at once. That’s part of why I’m starting this project.
My goal is to write every day. About my thoughts, what I did that day, what I accomplished, no matter how small. If I’m sad, I want to express it. I had an emotional breakdown about a month ago that despite being very difficult, would have made for an excellent blog post, and I’d started writing it already in my mind. But a difficult lesson I’ve learned is that writing ideas slip through your fingers if you don’t sit down and write them. Sometimes the idea has a shelf life of a few days, sometimes it’s gone when you go to sleep. I have note documents full of hundreds of blog ideas that I never ever came back to. All you can write is what it’s in your mind and your heart right now. At least that’s how it is for me.
There are two big things that have been on my mind in the past two years. The first has been aging, getting older, and the existential crisis of realizing I’m now incredibly nostalgic for a time I didn’t even love that much when it was happening (that time being the 2000s). That whole emotional breakdown is something I still plan to write about, but it was all sparked by the stupidest thing: an Avril Lavigne song. I didn’t even LIKE Avril Lavigne when I was a teenager! But the floodgates opened anyway.
The other big thing is too personal to talk openly about right now. I actually wrote several paragraphs about it but I’ve decided it’s something I’m not ready to share yet. Although I hope someday to be in a better place where I’m able to talk about it. I’m a very open person, so not being able to talk about something is difficult for me.
I’ve always been very open, and very honest on this blog. Because this is, and has always been, for me, and not really for anyone else. I appreciate that other people sometimes read it, I appreciate that other people sometimes enjoy it, but this is my journal, my record, at times it feels that this blog is my only legacy, the only thing I have to leave behind. If I die suddenly and unexpectedly, someone please save a copy of this blog. I don’t care what you do with it just save it somewhere.
Earlier this year, when quarantine started, I started therapy. I found a therapist online, made sure they took my insurance, and he gave me a call. After the initial consultation over the phone, which lasted maybe only five or ten minutes, I found myself weeping with relief in my car. The pressure valve had been opened. I hadn’t even TOLD him everything yet but I felt unburdened. I was doing SOMETHING about these cancerous thoughts that had been lingering in my head.
This is not my most beautiful writing, but it is where I am today. I made myself a list of things I wanted to talk about: the fact I’ve been trying to cram the entire Kingdom Hearts series for the past week to try and deepen my appreciation of replaying Kingdom Hearts III, which ironically now I’ve almost lost interest in doing because I’m so overloaded on Kingdom Hearts. The fact that I went jogging today, and plan to do some form of walking or physical exercise every day. The fact that my memory has been total shit lately. I can’t even REMEMBER the fact that my memory has been bad. That I improvised something pretty good earlier, and I wanted to upload it to soundcloud and share it. Maybe I can do that tomorrow.
But today I went jogging, and I didn’t do much, but I did enough. For twenty-five minutes, I walked or jogged or ran. I was moving. And I was struggling to breathe, and I was a bit scared because we live in the woods and even in the day time it can be creepy to walk alone on a dirt road in the woods. And I guess my blog is going to be like that too: I could erase everything I’ve written and try again tomorrow, but tomorrow I won’t have the same thing to say that I have to say today. And I also know if I put something off till tomorrow I’ll probably never do it.
So here’s the imperfect beginning of a project where I write a little every day. Not every day will be a masterpiece, but it’s something, it’s mine, and it’s honest.
That’s all for today. Maybe I should come up with some kind of sign off? I could say “blessed be” like I used to in the early blog posts in 2010. Except those are uncomfortable to read now because of how clearly forced my enthusiasm was and how I was pretending to feel more positive than I did.
Well, this is something. It may not be articulate, it may be a fumbling start, but it’s something.