“At a certain point, I realized there’s a huge difference between what we work for, and what we live for.”
Last weekend I had the enormous privilege of watching D&D’s dogs, a welcome respite from the insanity of life in favor of long walks under the summer sun in Central Park and along the East River. It’s so comfortable to be back in that neighborhood, where I spent the first two years of my NYC life; and it’s also a quiet time, where outside of the walks, I’m mostly watching Netflix, snuggling with the pups, and thinking. This weekend’s Netflix binge of choice was Sense8, which was the sci-fi escape I needed while on mini-hiatus from my normal life, and without going into details (because seriously, everyone should watch this show), the quote above caused me to stop, and rewind, and rewind again, just to understand and grasp those words. They were exactly what I needed to hear when I didn’t even know I needed something to hold onto, and they pushed me into making a decision that I’ve been thinking about for longer than I care to admit.
I feel things really deeply. It’s something I’ve had to learn to control in the past few years, in an effort both to protect myself and just to pull back from extremes in emotions, as from experience, they can be incredibly draining. On one hand, the elated high of good fortune, celebrating friends, having a crush, falling in love, those are moments that stick out to me so vividly it’s like I can relive them if I close my eyes and breathe in. I’ll never forget the rush of saying three words for the first time to someone who said them back, and I’ll never forget what it felt like when N clued me in on the date he planned to propose to M. In 10 years I won’t remember the conversations that I’ve had with friends and family, and I won’t remember which night was a night we spent on a rooftop and which one was a night spent on my couch with little miss. But I will remember the way my heart swelled when C and me surprised R not once, but twice in a day with parties. And I will also remember how fiercely I cried when I came home one night, exhausted from 15 hours in the office and needing someone to be there for me, finding myself once again saddled with the full weight of being alone.
When a movie or a television show or a song makes me feel, really Feel something, it’s like a drug for me. I drink in those emotions like a feral beast in the desert: this song made me feel heartbreak, this show made me feel joy, this movie made me feel love. I’m obviously capable of these emotions on their own (*I would hope that’s obvious), but connecting them to songs, stories, images, is a way that I can lose myself in the emotion, the full depth of the feeling, like I can understand it without the distraction of real life. Feeling things like this can get me in trouble, and absolutely has in the past, but I wouldn’t change that part of me for anything, the part that works to connect on a different level, whether real or through my screen, through my headphones. I want to understand what people are going through in some sort of self-destructive effort to feel on all ends of the spectrum, possibly so I know what I’m up against in suppressing those emotions at the end of the day.
There’s something that’s been on my mind for the better part of a year, something I haven’t talked to anyone about, not the Nickname Posse, not my family, not anyone. Little things in the past few months have been pushing me closer to that gut feeling, pushing me to a point where it was on my mind and I couldn’t get rid of it if I tried. And weirdly, my moment of clarity midway through binge-watching the entire season of Sense8 in 48 hours wasn’t an emotional roller coaster, or even a big epiphany. In finally giving attention to this idea, and considering it from the full emotional spectrum, I could feel a wave of calm energy wash over my entire body, followed by a tangible sense of relief, like pushing a rock up a hill for years and finally realizing it’s not meant to be at the top. I texted my anchor G before anyone else to gauge her reaction, and after fielding her perfectly ecstatic replies, I found myself noticing little signs everywhere that maybe this time I’ve made a good life decision.
That calm feeling hasn’t left me, and if anything, it’s given me a better focus for the days ahead. I won’t go into details here quite yet – there are things that people you love should hear from you in person first – and I’m going to need all the emotional anchoring that I’ve learned from years spent overfeeling everything in the weeks and months to come. But in looking ahead, all I can feel is excited, because this next year is going to be one hell of a fucking ride.