I woke up two hours before my alarm this morning in a rage. I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I gave up and watched a bad show on Bravo, which is always good for reassurance that other people are crazier than I am.
Except that I’ve been crying for forty-eight hours—over everything. A random Maroon 5 song. A wacky poem my dad emailed me this morning. A conversation last night with my boyfriend in which I said to him that I felt ineffective and defective. A text thread with a teacher who had to explain a lot of things to a lot of kids yesterday.
I have not been so emotionally distraught in years. Years. Nor have I been so aware in some higher reach of my being, in a place that I seem to only stumble upon by accident when the moon is in Capricorn or some such celestial occurrence, that my emotional state is for nothing. That it means nothing. That it is passing through. That impermanence, cursed as it often seems, is also—in that most maddening way of nature—a blessing.
When I was depressed and angry for the better part of my twenties, I woke up one day when I was thirty and the world was different. I was different.
Every wrenching break-up and crushing disappointment I ever experienced left a trail behind that, in time, grew over with the vines of wisdom.
Every person I ever hated, every punching bag I ever deemed unworthy or wished would “get theirs,” became just a soul walking down the street all by themselves, heading into a future unknown. Any commentary on their journey eventually seemed so stupid; any hatred floated away like dandelion fluff.
I suffered third-degree burns on my legs when I was a child. I don’t even have the scars anymore.
Where does it go?—all the angst and churn, the recoiling and revulsion, the well of sadness we spend days, weeks, months drawing from with the reliable old bucket quenching our melancholy, our futility, our dread, pulled by the squeaking chain sounding a discordant symphony in our brains. Where does it go?—the bruise, the cut, the imprint of the impact.
It goes where the leaves go, when they shed from the trees. Buries itself under the snow in deep winter where it dies with dignity and soaks back into the ground and feeds the roots of something new come spring. In this cycle, we pull back and turn away. Once shed of us, this stuff that was once ours is left alone to do its thing. We are no longer responsible for it. Nature takes care of that. Nature knows what we as humans refuse to acknowledge: that we are as impermanent as everything else, as impermanent as our monuments, our constructs, our ideas, our failures, our blindness, our pain. Even our triumphs. Even our joy.
The heart lifts one day. The rage subsides. The ice crystals wink in the sun.
And the question arrives:
What do you want to do today in this great experiment of shimmering ephemera that never ceases to mesmerize…?
What do you want to do today?