Friday, December 21, 2018

highs and lows

Last week, I stumbled upon this post from about  a decade ago.  I found it during a week filled with some feelings of overwhelmed-ness and anxiety about life in general (loss, money, impending age-related hypothetical afflictions).  I kind of read in wonder that I could have been quite so blissfully bouyant in 2009.  It made me nostalgic somehow for something I'm not even sure I've lost, but sometimes feel I have.  Also  wondering how could I have been so content then when all sorts of things were actually less ideal than they are currently--mostly romantic dramas and very little writing productivity.  Also, my day job, though technically the same,  was much more drudgery and much less fun in those days and far better now.  Granted the nation is a garbage fire and not at all the country I thought it was, so that puts a dent in things. But if I was that happy and content with my life at age mere 35, shouldn't I be even moreso now--now when my personal life is infinitely more stable? when I am writing up a storm?  when dancing girl press is more vibrant and amazing than ever?

 This is what I keep shaking my head at. If anything, the past couple of years blog efforts should be filled with bubbly gushing about happiness.   But they're not.  All the usual monsters that have always been at the door are still lingering in the hallway, but that the past year after my mother's death has made everything extra troubling, mostly since I have a general feeling of being extremely unmoored.  Sort of like if you were revolving around something your entire life on a rope, and you could always go as far as you wanted, could return and wander again and again,  and suddenly that rope was cut.

In trying to articulate my feelings to a friend last week, I kept stupidly repeating "But I used to be so happy. Like two years ago, when everything was okay, I was happy." It's something I repeat to myself on occasion at particularly lowish moments that seem dismal in a way I didn't feel before.  A couple Augusts ago, we took a work trip to the Field Museum and I took a bunch of photos of the Audubon books and the dinosaur bones and bought a green Mold-o-rama dinosaur. And every time I am scrolling through instagram and spot those pics, or glance at the dinosaur on my bookshelf, there's this plummet somewhere in my chest. It was good day that started with good overnight into morning boy conversation, our awesome grown up field trip, and ended in yummy Dim Sum and an afternoon nap. It was good day and I look at it and think "wow, I was so happy then."    It was good day and it was less than a week before my mother's infection had settled into her brain and made her delerious with hallucinations (which in turn  began the 3 month ordeal, up and down,  of her death.) It was the last time I felt stable and secure.   It was the last time I felt completely that everything was going to be okay, because I really did think it was at that point. I am sort of having a hard time getting back there. 

Of course these feelings manifest as a desire to flee--from just about everything in my life, good or bad, and that's where I was in my mental spin-out last week, which is ridiculous, because I'm not going anywhere.   Every time I am in Union Station around 8pm and here them start boarding for New Orleans I think about running away..even just for a little while. Or at the very least pulling up anchor and moving entirely. But transplanting is definitely not what I need right now.  Neither are long conversations and meditations on some happy past that was, sure, happy, but just with different sorts of challenges.

And I'd be lying if I said there definitely weren't occasional moments of similar elation now, just that the engine drags a little more on me than it used to.  My highs aren't quite so high, but my lows are much lower than they used to be.  Recent highs? Some awesome potential reading-related news yesterday.  Getting much closer to getting caught up in the studio and the batches of books from later this year out the door before the new year.  The swallow poems which are really turning out to be good. Tea and cats and being free of the library for a whole week and a half. 

May I remember this as 2019 rolls in.. 

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