It’s 10:21 on a Saturday night, and I feel happy to say I’ve progressed beyond feeling sad about not being somewhere else, somewhere interesting; a party, an event, socializing anyway. I am simply here, home, Monty nursing a busted paw and me trying to avoid the cold most of my family has succumbed to. There was a time not so long ago where being alone at this moment would have a certain angst to it, some restlessness that I should be out, I should be doing something. And I can’t say that struggle is completely over, because it’s not. Not having daily expectations and tasks is oddly work in itself, at least psychologically, if not just a certain re-education of everything I’ve learned about what it means to be important, what it takes to matter. I am still learning those ropes and how to keep a solid hold on my psyche being in one place often and for long periods of time. I imagine those kinds of feelings could haunt anyone, and I remember working full time and still encountering angst of this nature, but of another category. Yeah I’m working a 9-5 job, I’m busy and have a business card with my name printed on it, but do I give a real shiznit about what I’m doing? Am I into this life I’m living, or just numbly going through the motions. I could never be sure I was doing what I wanted or what I thought I was supposed to–taking the natural expected steps that people like me were expected to take. At times I was so disconnected from myself, I would have no idea at the end of a movie whether I liked it or not. I remember specifically feeling this way shortly after watching the movie Punch Drunk Love when it came out on rent. This was in the days of Blockbuster, RIP. My boyfriend at the time, a veritable nihilist who really only showed positive feelings for Dashboard Confessional now that I think of it, thought it was stupid and totally forced. My brother Nick, with whom I watched the film and who I respected exponentially more than my boyfriend, really liked it. I remember thinking I might like it, but not actually knowing with certainty–I couldn’t explain with any critical feedback why I did or didn’t enjoy it. I only hoped I liked it because I looked up to someone who did. I also realized around that time that my boyfriend was a racist and that was the end of that. Big weekend for me. Anyway, I had a point here. The point is that, even if the veneer of this is a little sad– a Saturday night alone with my dog–and even if maybe one day in the future I’ll look back on nights like tonight and feel bad for my little lonesome self, it’s feels good now to be alone and also feel no pressure to be otherwise. It’s reassuring to remember I’m OK and the conditions to this state are not reliant upon anybody else, really. Sometimes I think I end up doing things or going places just to combat the opposite of that thought–as long as life is loud enough, as long as I’m preoccupied with enough distractions and expectations and tasks of mild importance, I don’t really have to face the question of whether I’m OK or not, vague as it is. I like to know that when everyone goes home at the end of the day, I’m not going to fall to pieces or lose the shape of my self completely. I’d like to know my self and my stability isn’t so pliable. I don’t say any of this with the delusion that being single or living your life alone is an optimal choice. I guess the point is that wherever you find yourself is usually an OK place to be, it’s where you’ve ended up and usually for reasons that won’t make sense for a very long time. Rare is the gratitude to be exactly where you are and the appreciation of a quiet, without interference, with all expectations and plans and goals coming to a haunted hush of OK and evenness. There is a lot of questioning yourself and guesswork, and there’s not always someone to tell you you’re doing the right thing or making the right move. It can be sobering to realize I am my own source of good judgment, or that I have to be, because there isn’t anyone else who will endure the consequences of my choices but me. And maybe that is true whether you’re alone or surrounded by people. But it can also be empowering and calming to know you’ve made it this far. You’re still breathing. You’re doing OK. And with so much attention given to pain and drama and the hardship of life, I just felt some need to highlight a very average Saturday, where I watched a little football and laughed out loud at SNL, and at the end of the day in the sharp stillness that comes after turning off a TV, I felt fine. Unworried. Unphased. The opposite of out of breath. And since I know how prevalent those other feelings are, and how fast and easily everything can change, I wanted to get it in writing that on October 9th, 2016, nothing great happened. But nothing terrible happened either. I’m on my own but also far from alone. Of course, I get more help than most my age and I’m often fighting for a sense of independence and self sufficiency despite the help I require and receive. Tonight I just feel grateful that during those times I have help, and during other times I have myself, and both are good things. I guess I just feel plugged into a reality in a way that isn’t exciting or new, but would usually require fireworks or drugs or people or noise, but it’s totally quiet. I’m about to get into a bed with sheets that I picked out, because I trust myself OK?! Actually come to think of it I don’t love the sheets on my bed right now, but they are clean and that’s another simple pleasure that if you’re tuned out, if you’re just moving ad hoc from one point to another, you’ll miss because you’re always waiting for something large and shiny and loud to wow you. I’m well aware that most days aren’t like this. They’re dramatically more tilted toward feelings, good or bad, and those feelings are informing almost every move I make. I encounter moments, I react, I remember, I feel guilty, blah blah blah. Rarely do I live in the hushed middle of compliance and peace, untinkered by time. Probably soon I won’t feel this way, I’ll lose this stillness and the stirrings of my psyche will resume and I’ll make faces as my ego restarts–in the past, moments like this haven’t lasted very long. But maybe I’ll want to remember that at one time I did feel this way, which means I felt very little at all, and so here it is in writing. There is a lot happening. Hurricane Mathew just took a lot of peoples lives and demolished a lot of homes, and like most catastrophes I watch and read about it feeling disconnected and helpless and I hate that feeling. What can someone like me do but pray for the ones who need it and be grateful that this time, the storm didn’t hit us. There is a lot happening. A major political parties presidential nominee just said worse things than your racist uncle or fundamentalist father-in-law, or creepy older cousin in this case I suppose. There is a lot happening. I’m petitioning my government for 100 million dollars, and it’s not a joke at all. It may actually be possible. It is a weird time, and it will all pass. But for now I feel happy to be here, to have what I have and know what I know. Which isn’t a lot, but for tonight, it’s enough.
Health, Happiness, This