This has been a year of humbling defeats in a lot of ways. Doors I thought were wide open to me have closed. I’m sure there are windows opening left and right in response, but when you feel like you’ve taken a fall the thought of climbing up to get to those windows is kind of daunting.
Yep. A lot of setbacks.
Please be more specific, Jessica. For Christ’s sake, you teach writing.
Okay, yeesh. This year has dealt a lot of personal life crap. November brings with it the first anniversary of my dad’s death, and last month my uncle’s poor health finally gave out and he also passed away. Flights home for the weekend were ~$1,000 so I couldn’t go to the funeral. The therapist I found to try to address the low buzz of social anxiety and a sadness I don’t want to claim as depression (but was starting to feel and look a little bit like depression) ended up firing me for not being as poor as she thought I was. “I didn’t expect you’d be going to Europe,” she said, judgmentally. She sucked, but part of being unmotivated in life and needing a therapist kind of bleeds into not finding a new therapist. I’ll do it tomorrow. Next week. Next month. I’ll just drink these beers and eat leftover Indian food with breakfast cereal desert, maybe, instead. Oh, perhaps related to that – I’ve also gone up two pant sizes this year. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my size, but it doesn’t feel like my size. My body feels strange and foreign to me. I’ve also had a lot of weird health issues, though (fingers crossed) those are mostly behind me.
Since this is a dating blog, I guess I’ll talk about this year’s love letdowns, too. Scott, a cyclist from my neighborhood, ditched me because he was “starting something serious” with someone else (I know that line.) Kind of a jerk, at the end of the day, but kissing him felt like magic and I was sad to see him go. Dev, a producer I just started seeing, revealed something pretty deal-breaky this weekend. I haven’t fully decided if I’m giving up on him, but I’m sure enough that I had a nice cry about it. A few minutes later, I got the news that another artistic project had bit the dust.
All of this is not to invite you to a pity party for me. I am fully aware that I am luckier than most and, in an objective sense, I have absolutely no right to complain about anything. Life isn’t objective, though, and I feel the way I feel. This is all just to say- reader, man, I bet you’ve been here. I bet you’ve looked at your life and thought, “the things I thought were solid are not solid.” I bet you’ve thought that your life, viewed from a God-lens, looked a bit like a Larry David-style sitcom. I bet you’ve thought about giving up trying, like I sometimes do.
Add all of this up, and it feels like too much effort to get out of bed when I don’t have to sometimes.
Here’s the thing I keep thinking when I feel like that: all I have to focus on right now is on not giving up.
I don’t have to succeed. I don’t even have to keep trying to same things I’ve been trying. The thoughts of finding a new therapist or opening up my online dating profile or applying to one more fucking performance program are exhausting right now so I’m not gonna. I’m going to go ride my bike to Murray Hill tomorrow to buy tap shoes. Tap dancing- now that sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Hard to think of feeling bad while tap dancing.
There are so many ways to not give up. Being open about my not-so-great feelings on Facebook is a way, because in this “EVERYTHING
IS PERFECT HERE IS MY CAT PEEBLES” era, it can seem like the people we know have no personal struggles. I’ve gotten messages from people saying simply, “thanks for being open. I feel this way too.” Texting and meeting my friends who I know are in similar situations is another way, because isolation together, while still somewhat isolating, is less bleak. I have a friend who also experienced death and some personal losses this year and she’s been so important to me. We had ourselves a “Dead Dad Father’s Day” at The Cloisters this year and it was lovely.
Writing this is a way.
As I type this, I am listening to the scratching sound of the bird who sometimes makes a nest in my wall. It’s a comforting sound. I love those birds, in a dirty city wildlife kind of way. Watching them hop around on my windowsill as I eat my breakfast cereal makes me feel light and free, like a Disney princess(‘s spinster aunt.)
Maybe God doesn’t close a door and open a window. Maybe God closes a door and opens a bird nest in a wall.
I’ll take it.