I am trying to be so gentle with myself and it is only half working.
I spent the day reading Chloe Caldwell’s new book, I’ll Tell You In Person, and it is such good creative non-fiction, the kind that makes you want to take out a notebook and start writing every thought you’ve ever had, detail every action, pour your whole brain onto a page or twenty because she makes it look easy so you tell yourself it will be easy. But of course as soon as I open my computer to actually follow through on that impulse and write a blog post my brain gets fuzzy, I’ve started this post three times, I keep deleting everything I type, I gave up on a few drafts before this one, who knows if I’ll get to the part where I even hit “publish.”
On being gentle with myself: it is hard.
I had surgery six days ago and the healing and recovery process is not going the way I planned. The general election happened one month ago and suffice it to say that did not go the way I planned either.
I should know better than to make plans, I guess.
(It’s really hard to communicate that to a Capricorn sun Virgo rising babe like myself.)
(Did you know I actually have five signs in Capricorn? Anyway.)
Alley teases me because of my optimism and unwavering happiness, usually. We have a running joke: Every day, I cheerfully announce that the day is a 10. It doesn’t matter what has happened that day, or where we are, or if it’s sunny or rainy. (We live in Portland. It’s usually rainy.) My personal belief is that I’d like for every day to be a 10, so I make it so. Alley is much more judicious. Her days are weighed against each other. “If a day on vacation in Thailand is a 10, then a day when I have to go to work in Portland cannot be a 10,” she reasons, completely filled with logic and sanity. But I have no such scale. “You have to weigh each day against itself,” I’ll exclaim, hearing myself sound like a total insufferable lunatic. “Sure, a vacation day in Thailand can be a 10. But so can a regular work day in Portland! LIKE FOR EXAMPLE TODAY GRAYSON AND FINN [the toddlers I nanny] HELD HANDS AND DANCED TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME WHICH I WOULD SAY IS A DEFINITE 10!”
Uh but the thing is, recently the days have not been feeling like 10’s.
On Friday night my mom and Alley brought me home from the hospital. They babied me and put me into my bed and I fell sound asleep with the help of pain pills. I woke up early-ish on Saturday, probably when the pain meds wore off, and lay quietly next to Alley, watching her sleep and reading the news on my phone. I felt happy that she was able to sleep in because she so rarely does, and I felt safe lying next to her.
Then I read about the Oakland fire. Reports were only just being posted on Twitter and Facebook and the magnitude of the tragedy had not yet hit me. I told Alley about it when she woke up a few hours later. I hated doing that. I had already texted one of our close friends who lives in the Bay. She texted back as Alley and I were wondering out loud about her. Safe. Alley checked in on another close friend. Also safe. We kept reading the news. My mom came over from her hotel. I put ice on my neck. Alley realized she knew someone who was missing in relation to the fire. A friend. My heart dropped for her. I checked my Facebook feed. Everyone seemed to know someone. Everyone was affected. Suddenly my community was grieving, but before we even had a full list of names to check there were people with opinions yelling at us. About building codes, about wild parties, about being irresponsible, about I don’t even fucking know what.
All we ever want to do is take care of each other, make each other feel safe, create love and kindness and care in this world, and even in death and tragedy there are large groups of people who just won’t accept that. I don’t know. I am having a really hard time with that. I’m not being articulate because my brain can’t process it.
I am just so sad. I don’t know how to stop feeling sad. I don’t think I have a right to despair – as I detailed in my last post, there is work to be done, and anyway, I am white and cis and able bodied and… – and yet. I am just so fucking sad. I don’t know how to wake up and continue being a person every day in this world. I just don’t understand it. Logically I understand that we are gearing up for a fucking fight and I have to get strong, but I am failing at that task right now in more ways than one.
My neck hurts.
It has only been six days since a doctor cut a hole in it so I guess that makes sense. I was told my recovery time would be 1-2 weeks.
My heart hurts.
I don’t know what the timeframe for healing from this broken world looks like. I think I just have to keep being gentle with myself.
I wish it were easier.