Friday, October 14, 2011
I have been on the verge of tears all morning. I'm not sure why. Everything feels intensified, like I have profound empathy for and connection to all suffering and struggle. In the midst of that, I am experiencing my own suffering and struggle, really sitting in it, being with it, not trying to numb it with anything. I'm not sure why so much of my life lately has seemed to be about this: holding pain, holding knowledge about suffering, having to just experience it and know that it is real, and not something that will ever go away completely. It feels like there is a lesson in this, but I am becoming impatient. I want to get to the satisfying part, the party at the end, with friends and cake and balloons. It reminds me of a story by Miranda July about showing up at a party, and everyone who has ever been mean to you or hurt you is there to tell you that it's all just been a big test, and you passed it, and now here you are and everybody loves you and life is easy and a delight and you get everything you ever wanted. (And then, the main character, the person who has had this party thrown in their honor, leaves the party and goes home and hides away from it.)
I think most of us can see that something really big is happening right now for humans. Some might say that the Occupy Wall Street movement started a wave, or a shift. Without undercutting its significance, I will say that I think it is simply a current manifestation of struggle that happens to be particularly visible to those of us with progressive networks and facebook accounts. And it doesn't even surprise us, because we've seen it coming for some time, those of us who have been paying any attention at all. Sometimes I can't even look at the pictures without crying. I don't know if maybe I'm losing my mind a little bit - is it sane (whatever that is) to respond so empathically to everything? To people getting maced in the eyes by cops and carrying around clever signs about how they have had enough of this bullshit? Am I a bit off my rocker because this morning I sat on a swing that hung from a tree, and looked at the dew on the grass and watched as people walked by me to go to work at the hospital and cried behind my sunglasses, feeling invisible?
I'm trying to take care of myself. Part of me wants to be in a tent in Oscar Grant Plaza right now, but the other part of me wants to be not in a tent. Not in a transition. Not in limbo, always. Who gets to be in a tent? Who gets to occupy? Not a person who has no idea where she is living next month, no idea if the only hope she has to keep making enough money to live is that stupid bourgie skill she learned at 17, making lattes. Not a person who knows that the odds are stacked against her in possibly living the life she wants to live, and is trying to figure out how to keep hope alive in the midst of that. I've been hoping and working and trying, maybe not always consistently, but still, for a long time. And it hasn't gotten me "anywhere." (Where is this "anywhere," anyway?)
Or maybe that is exactly the person who needs to be in a tent right now. Maybe that is me. And I'm failing again, fucking up. I don't know. I don't know who knows the answers to all of these things. They tell me it's me, that I'm the only one who knows what is best for me, but what if I have been trying to do what my soul says is best for me for a long, long time and I still haven't gotten to any place that feels solid or good? (Is that even something to aspire to? Solid? Good?) At what point is perseverance just insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Sending out resumes and cover letters in application for jobs does not = employment. Or fulfillment. Or health care. So at what point do I take another avenue? Putting my heart out on the line, being honest about my hopes and dreams and needs, and caring deeply for another person, being with them through joy and through trauma and pain does not = partnership, family, or a future coparent. So what does? At what point do I do this another way?
So. I vacillate between healthy & self-harming, strong and broken. Blueberries and soy yogurt for breakfast after a walk, then cigarettes and coffee and wallowing in my own broken heart, my own broken self. Writing poems and reading them to people, being brave, having ideas for publications and collaborative projects and zines! Then crumpling, telling myself I have nothing to contribute, that nobody wants to hear what I have to say or work with me, anyway. Feeling strong and secure, that even though I am underemployed, doing work that just about anybody could do, and even though I'm kind of homeless and kind of hopeless and recently dumped, believing that I am good and I am free and I am honest and I am love. And then looking at all of those things, writing them down and deciding that these surface things are what I am worth, that I am lost, a loser, that I have lost the game of life.
I keep trying. I haven't given up hope all the way, yet, I promise. In the occasional five minutes of yoga, in conversation and laughter and dance with friends, in lovingly preparing a meal, in taking a moment to breathe, and just notice that I am here, and remember that I have integrity, I find hope again. I know I am trying my best to stay alive and to do this life thing right. That there is something beautiful that connects me to everybody else (even those who have fallen off, even those who have vilified me, even those old "friends" who follow me online but haven't bothered to ask how I'm doing, even those who have hurt me, intentionally and unintentionally) and that we are all struggling to stay human, to live with meaning, to heal so we can contribute the best parts of ourselves to the rest of the world. I know that we are all fighting quite literally for our lives.
My friend says to me, via text message, "life has 2 be more than temporary jobs n passin love interest, i hope." What to do but say back, "Fuck, I really really hope so too. I really do."