Things have been going really well lately. Like, surprisingly well. I’m busy at work which is keeping me engaged and occupied, I’ve been excelling more quickly than I’d anticipated in yoga practice, I’ve had some great time with my family and my friends, and I have some exciting events coming up in the next few weeks, like the shared birthday for my lovely friend M and my work buddy S, and Friendsgiving with the Nickname Posse. The holidays are my favorite time of year, between the food, the family, the time off of work, and of course, the food (I really like eating). I know life isn’t a straight trajectory, marred with surprises and the natural ebbs and flows that come with being emotional creatures, but I was feeling really good about the past few weeks. Up until about 10 last night, when the third straw in an already emotional day nearly put me over the edge.
My partner-in-crime R and my fashionista C probably know better than anyone that things tend to happen in waves, something they reminded me last night as I sat quietly in my apartment, trying to sort through the tangled mess that comes when confronted with life’s inevitabilities. And M made the point that these things tend to happen in threes, two very upsetting pieces of news, and an unwanted email; the first news was bad enough, the second was enough to be a bad wave, and the email was the final straw in unwanted information. I’ve been able to compose myself today, and with everything else on such an upswing for the first time in a very long time, I’m feeling like I know how to handle this particular situation. But it’s hard to have things finally going well, and then to have a wrench thrown in the middle, like a heckler in the punch line of your best performance.
Good things and bad things are a yin and yang that we can’t predict or control. Sometimes you’re on an upswing as simple as the person at Starbucks spelling your name correctly in the morning and finding free snacks in the work kitchen in the afternoon. Sometimes the bad things are as trivial as someone else getting to that subway seat before you do, followed by more dirt in your shower when you get home from work in the evening. Sometimes a text from an old friend will make you smile, and then in that same thought you’re wishing the text came from someone else. Life isn’t perfect any of the time: there’s good moments in the bad weeks, and bad hours in the good days. It’s so easy to seek out the bad in the good, the self-doubt and the second-guessing, but so infrequently do we try and find the good in the bad. I’m working on the latter today, reminding myself that I’ve seen miracles and those miracles gave us four years of borrowed time, and finding relief in an email that finally cuts all ties, removing all traces of his presence in my life so I never have to see him again.
I have a journal that I write in from time to time, a full-secret space where I can use names and talk about work and chronicle my life through my eyes, for my eyes. There was something I wrote just under a year ago, which was a pretty significant time, and the words came back to me last night while texting the girls. Out of context, it reads:
(Autumn, 2013): It moves, undulating like a wave. Up and down, back and forth. Gone and back again. It moves within me, rocking me back and forth on my heels, my toes. Throwing off my balance like a rag doll, all fluid and no bones. I feel like I’m wobbling on a precipice of happiness, depression, healthy and sick. One comes, the other follows. Happiness lurks as depression looms, then dominates loudly and large, bringing healthy with it until I can be healthy no more, when everything rises up again… Happiness is fleeting; it comes and goes as quickly as it came and went the last time. I suppose I’m on the bottom of the curve these days, but if I swing hard enough tomorrow perhaps I’ll land at the top.
I think about two weeks ago in the middle of the months-long funk, I pulled on what was holding me back and swung away from it with a fiery fervor, a Hail Mary, last-ditch, all-or-nothing effort to get myself back on top before this weekend, because this Saturday is going to be an emotional day. I’ve been mentally prepared for the feelings I know are going to surface on Saturday for a few weeks now, knowing it wouldn’t be a sad day, but more a day for deep reflection on how things change as quickly as the second hand of a clock. The waves this week are a blow to the upswing, calling me back to the chaotic ocean without promise of a raft, but the view from the top of the wave is too good to give up. I’m going to keep seeking that good in the bad, finding the small pockets of sunshine where I can and sharing them with the friends and family who need all the positive vibes I can send them right now. And I would ask, for anyone who has a few good vibrations of their own to spare, to send them out to people in your life that need them as much as my people need mine. Because now and then, we can all use a little push from the bottom of the wave.