Last week I wrote that I had retaken all the weight that had encumbered me when last in the city. This was mostly true. And though it was a bit of a shock to so quickly revert to bad habits involving toxic people, I was proud of myself for quickly recognizing my internalizing habits and how they make me feel about myself. I took a step back, re-centered, and returned to myself. And so I learned a lesson about how change isn't quite as obvious as I believed it to be and realized that I will always have to face these things about myself. But face them with more awareness, less self deception and more willingness to ask for help. But after getting the health insurance squeeze, and attempting to ween myself off of my anti-depressants, I have had for the past four days, the kind of relapse into depression that I haven't seen since before my dad died. I realized there's a final piece to the landscape of my mental health that I have been painting since returning. Chemical imbalance.
In my six weeks back I have begun to take on all of the weight that I held in the past (and I have a stiff neck and shoulders to prove it). I remember now, how hard it is to deal with (indignant, irrational, unknowing) people. How hard it can be to see those around you stuck and bleeding over and over again. The dull pangs of people unable to dig themselves from the mental or physical trenches in which they hunker down with their notions of themselves. And I see how hard it is for me not to think about these people. To try and understand the ways we hurt each other and allow ourselves to be hurt. To try not to feel superior to those who are hurting and lashing out or who cannot escape the patterns of their self-sabotage. Because, clearly, I cannot escape the self-sabotage of my patterns. I internalize this election, I internalize racism, I internalized the cat calls I hear my friends describe, I internalize the callousness I see at work, I internalize the relationships around me. I am a pulverized little peach who puts on a bat cape and expects to be recognized for his armor.
It is not easy to come back to yourself. You cannot pause who you are for a year, and return with a few new doohickeys under your emotional utility belt and simply resume. If every moment you are who you are, then who you were is only that. I sit in my living room in Windsor Terrace and I feel worlds apart from what I felt when I sat here a little more than a year ago. I feel much calmer, less scared of the world. I feel optimistic about my life and what it will hold for me. And yet I also feel the loneliness that has held my heart while I have been in New York. I have realized that I was always free to simply enjoy any given moment and never had to work to score on other people's rubrics. I am grateful for everything that has come before, all the messiness, all the pain. And though it doesn't always seem like the last year should have counted, I am one year from 30 and I have lived a beautiful life.
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