Spoiler alert, Idealiotic Army™, I started writing my second to last post on day 2 of this thing and about a week later wrote the first 2 paragraphs of my final one. I sort of had an idea of how I wanted to close things off so to prevent me from forgetting I started them in google docs and just never close them. The reason I bring this up is that my penultimate post will be my reflections on my slice posts. Each day after I post I reflect on how I felt writing the day before or what it feels like now that those thoughts are out in the world and viewed by upwards of 4 to 8 people or just whatever comes to mind about the previous post. The plan was to then use my daily reflections as a way to sum up the entire experience at the end.
So today whilst recounting yesterday’s riveting treatise on being a failure that somehow involved ostriches and blah blah blah I looked back for the first time in a while at the whole of my reflections and dude, I am a mess, huh? Ha. I mean, yeah, I am in many ways lost and confused and have a sad streak I just live with, but so many people do. I know I have broached this topic before, me (surprise!), and explained it away saying that I just automatically correlate writing and expression with sadness/emptiness/longing and just sort of soak up and dwell in the happy stuff. And this is true. But also, this is a 30 day challenge and it just happened to be these 30 days. Had it fallen on another 30 days the takeaway could have been different. The 30 days previous, for instance, would’ve been lots more sunshine and rainbows. Yes, there have been 30 day stretches that would’ve been better, and, shockingly, 30 day stretches that would have been much worse.
One beautiful part of this, though, is the interaction. After a few particularly bummer posts that I can’t believe I put out there I had people reach out and express empathy for “what I was going through” or let me know they think I’ll be ok based on this or that. How nice is that? Strangers and colleagues both took what they gleaned from my slices and expressed concern for me as just a fellow human being. That’s a burden I didn’t want to put on blog readers, I promise. I owe everyone in my circle a lifetime of no longer worrying about me after I strung together quite a few bad 30 day stretches a few years back. I do not like putting that on people, strangers or otherwise. I get that it might seem like I do as more than half of my posts reek of me begging precisely for pitying attention. I assure you, it was all just me writing my truth because, for good or for ill, it’s just how i do. Mine is a roller coaster life, emotionally. It has been for a while now. I am more used to the quick changes in altitude than I used to be but will never be fully acclimated I don’t think. But I want you, if you’re reading this, to know that I know I am not alone and that so many people have it so much worse.
I am not “lock myself in a dark bathroom listening to like, The Smiths, with a bottle of whiskey” sad. Ever. At least not when I have my kids. At least not anymore, Ha. We have fun together. Last night my daughter chose Up for movie night. (As an aside – I sleep through every kid movie in theaters. The only ones I did not were Polar Express because it was my first kid’s movie in a theater with a kid I created and I basically bawled the whole time because of course, The new Muppet Movie because it was awesome, and Up because I love it and it’s beautiful and so me. Also I know parenthetical offerings are basically asides so I didn’t have to write that at the beginning of this tangent but I did so deal with it.) (Also I’m aware of how prone to tangents in my writing I am, I’m working on it. But not really.) (Also The Fantastic Mr Fox is bomb.com too.) I wisely waited to start drinking my pinot noir until after the first 15 minutes passed. I still let a couple eye leaks drop but I’m not a robot. The Cubs opening day is Thursday and although I am once again faced with multiple days of solitude because their mom has surprised them with a spring break trip and this leaves me alone without even work to break up the monotony, I have opening day to look forward to. Traditions. I have a picture with the kids and I dating back 15 years now on opening day, replete with signs and evidence in the form of the tv broadcast in each picture. So I have that to look forward to. And summer is knocking on the door and with it a full slate of lots and lots of coaching which means lots and lots of time spent outdoors with my family having something on the schedule to do.
I have so much good in my life and am far from alone in having to deal with the bad. And so many people have it worse. Mental health and suicide are huge issues in our world today for myriad reasons. Those issues are near and dear to my heart. So when I looked back at all the depressing pictures I’ve painted over the course of this slice challenge and thought of all those who have reached out to support or otherwise show kindness I was moved to share the poem below. It is by far my favorite contemporary poem. I like its now-ness compared to other faves of mine like the sonnets (29, anyone?), or cummings my whimsical genius, or the quiet ferocity of soft insane powerful Ginsberg. I like that it mines the depths of sad to prove authenticity while shining such a bright beacon of hope with those who identify with the message. It is haunting and important (unfortunately) and, ultimately, very inspirational. I don’t mean to trivialize other people’s real sadness with my pithy dirges. Hopefully I can rectify some people’s notions (or my own) that I might be doing just that by sharing this in solidarity with showing support for those who need it.
It’s good, right? Most of her stuff blows me away.
Anyways, between reading back through my reflections on this slice challenge as it winds down, getting news yesterday that a close buddy’s very awesome dad unexpectedly passed, watching videos of Emma from Parkland do her thing at the march, living through my amazing sis-in-law’s hospital stay for sudden partial blindness/illness while pregnant and the subsequent totalling of the front end of her husband, my brother’s, car as he rushed to the hospital to be with her, my mom’s struggles with the isolating nature of lupus (which another near n dear was just diagnosed with), my grandma’s deteriorating memory and constant doctor visits, another friend in and out of hospital for an ever increasing list of mysterious ailments leading to stays and operations all while trying to single parent 2 kids, one of which has special needs, and the list goes on and on and the point of this run-on dumbness is please don’t take my self indulgence over the course of this thing as my inability to empathize with the world and those also struggling with the same or worse. I can’t help, in retrospect, how I came off but I have no option but to be fine and have enough left over to support and raise awareness for those for whom the struggle is real. Because god knows it was and has been done for me.
Those of you who have read with open minds thank you for letting me vent and accept my apologies for overstaying my welcome at times. Ha. I appreciate the catharsis this blogging allows. I know I don’t always comment on all of your posts but they are lovely. All of them. I am super heavy handed and aware of it so when I get to read reflections on cutesy everyday things that this challenge is probably more meant to highlight, it usually makes my day more than you know. So thank you, all of you, for sharing slices of yourselves. You have no idea how much it might mean to people getting glimpses into your lives and either recognizing the tough times you’re experiencing, or being lifted by the small moment beauty you so wonderfully articulate. It all matters. So thank you for writing your truth, whatever that is.