There, I said it.
We’re just over a week out from the 2-year anniversary of John’s death. Boggles the mind. The last two years have been a series of ups and downs, and I’d venture to say more ups than downs. I’ve tried my hardest to make the best out of a shitty situation and on a lot of days, I feel really good about the things I’ve done. Like Leon Bridges sings, “I made a good, good thing out of bad, bad news.”
But some days, I feel really fucking awful. This month has been particularly difficult, which is something I thoroughly didn’t anticipate. When I first started reading about the stages of grief, most sources advised me against believing the myth that once we pass one stage, we’re done with it forever and can simply move onto the next. Good advice, I daresay. I don’t care to remember what all the stages are, but I’m pretty sure I’ve experienced every single one every day this month, and it’s made doing normal life things that much more difficult. My income is essentially dependent on how much work I can produce, and if every week were like last week, I’d be in poverty.
Luckily my parents have provided me (once again) with a free place to rest my head for a few months, so I’m not in the dire situation I would be in if I had more bills to pay. I’m extremely fortunate in that regard and am very aware that many who experience emotional hardships don’t have the luxury of taking a few days off to recoup. I’m one of the lucky ones.
Life is heavier right now for a few reasons. First, February in the Midwest objectively sucks, and I know I’m not the only one feeling the emotional toll of perpetual gray skies. It’s hitting me harder this year than most, probably because I spent a year living in the tropics and have run out of patience for this bullshit weather. Once you get a taste for how it can be, it becomes harder to tolerate how it actually is.
Second, I’m 27 years old, balancing three jobs, and living with my parents. That does something to one’s self-worth. If you had asked me two years ago where I’d be today, I would’ve told you I’d be living in a bright and airy apartment in Chicago with my husband John and a lot of animals, down the hall from Nate and Gab. I would’ve told you that I’d be working my way up in the marketing world and making a good living. I would’ve told you that I’d be happy. I can honestly say that today, I’m not happy. I’m actually pretty unhappy. I have really happy moments and make an effort to fill the open spaces with people who make me happy, but overall, I’m unhappy. Admitting that to myself is liberating in a way, letting me see myself for what I really am in this moment rather than lying to myself in the hopes that it’ll make me feel better. I don’t need to be happy right now. It’s okay to be unhappy sometimes.
Third, I’m single. I’d like to think that I’m a badass independent woman who don’t need no man, but I actually really do. I know that I don’t need a man, but I want one. I want to fully love someone who fully loves me back again. I want that unconditional, (im)perfect love. I want someone to see my flaws and pull me closer instead of push me away. I want to rest in the truth that I am once again safe in my partner’s arms, without question that it’s forever. I believe that I’ll find this again one day, but not really knowing how or when or who is scary.
Also, I broke a toe on Friday via slamming it into a metal chair, but honestly it’s been a really exciting experience for me because it’s my first broken bone. She hurts, but you know, purple looks good on her, so it’s fine.
Through this murky month, I have found little glimmers of joy, as I am wont to do. I really love my job at School on Wheels and have begun to formulate a plan to get my future self where she wants to be. I discovered a grapefruit sparkling water at Trader Joe’s that makes me happier than sparkling water should. I spend time with friends who I love so dearly and who make me laugh a lot. Whenever I have a moment of, “I gotta get out of here,” I think about them and I change my mind. My community is the reason I came back and as always, they continue to show up when I need it most. I also have some exciting travel plans with various gal pals coming up over the next few months, the one thing I’ve been spending most of my money on since I don’t have rent right now. No ragrets.
I stumbled across the image below on Instagram the other day and it brought me a great sense of calm. It’s important to be reminded that grief’s a bitch and healing isn’t linear. All of this has been entirely out of my control, something I need to acknowledge more often. All I can do is my best and if my best is making it from my bed to the couch some days, that’s excellent. Powering through pain is possible, but sometimes it’s better to rest in it, knowing that happier days are ahead. I’ll keep rooting for that sun to come out, running with my motivated moments when they come, and resting when I can’t because this too shall pass.