Healing after Jan 24, 2022
I probably shouldn’t attempt to write something coherent right now. I know better. I’m emotionally drained, physically tired, and psychically overstimulated.
The world, my version of it anyway, is a dire place. I could laundry list my problems, those personal, familial, creative, and professional, but honestly that all seems weak sauce compared to the national and global crises of the past few weeks and years. Since 2016. Wait, since before that. Since, I don’t know, always. It’s oh-so-tempting to throw my hands up and declare nearly everything Doomed and Horrifying.
I mean, unless you’re a rich white cis het man. Then I guess you can still worry about the global climate crisis. If you feel like it.
Anyway, I’m tired and a bit snarky, but I’m here. I’m still here. I haven’t posted to this blog in a while, but I’m here. I’m guessing if we’re close enough for you to be reading this, that you’re tired too. And I want to say, very clearly: I’m with you. I am. This is not meant to be a cheerful, “don’t worry, you’re not alone, tra-la, just be positive and everything will work out” essay. I’m not feeling cheerful right now. At all. I just feel tired. But I also feel clarity in this, well, sort of spiritual way that I’m still learning to feel. Clarity that, perhaps weirdly, first came to me when I had Covid in March this year. (And after many years of therapy, study, and reflection.)
When it finally hit me, Covid simplified my purpose. Everything else stopped. All the clamor and strife of the world outside my quarantine room went quiet. I knew it was still there, and I wasn’t ignoring it, it was just that all I could do was focus on my next breath, the slow movements of the sunlight across my wall, and the enormous love I felt for my family. I had to heal. That was my only work. I had to heal so that someday, maybe, I’d have the strength to get back up and share that strength, and offer my love, and help someone else heal too. That’s it. That was my whole deal. Healing.
Since then I’ve thought a lot about the purpose of Writing and Art, for me, and why I became a teacher in the first place, and all of that kind of “what’s my life about” stuff. I don’t think there’s any ONE BEST WAY to way to heal ourselves and each other, but I think maybe that’s the work.
Sometimes that looks like entertainment and laughter. Sometimes an escape route of some kind. Sometimes it’s company, or wisdom, or a new perspective. Sometimes it’s nothing but the recognition that this is all really fucking hard. But it’s what we have to do. We have to heal. And the best way to do that is to start with yourself. Be curious about yourself, your problems, your aches and pains, and get into it. Get help. Get messy.
I know that not everyone can afford therapy (see global crises above) and that many of us can barely step aside for a moment to breathe. But if that’s all you get, this is me telling you to take it. Breathe. Rest when you can. Lean on your friends. For Goddess’ sake, be gentle and kind to yourself. We are, ALL of us, injured and suffering in some way. That’s being alive. That’s being human. So, I’ll say it again: I’m with you. I want you to heal. I’m healing too. We’ll never be 100% pain and suffering-free, and that’s okay. What we can be is empathetic to ourselves and each other and our planet. We can be gentle. We can be oriented towards ease and love.
It’s okay to want to burn the world down and smash the bad guys. That’s part of being human too. But ultimately none of that will heal. It just won’t. Only connection, kindness, and careful intervention can heal.
I came here today to write about publishing and my writing process and stuff, but this is what happened instead. I guess I needed to say it out loud. Today, I have just enough strength to do that. Tomorrow, I’ll probably need a nap.