(above: 'Glory', an optical phenomenon as seen from the air, early January 2017)
I slept through the ‘ball-drop’ of 2017, because I was physically and emotionally too upset to stay up and 'celebrate'. 2016 had been difficult. Relationships had been extremely disappointing. There had been deep sadness. I wanted it all to end, hoped that 2017 would be better. We were out of town, I wanted to go home.
But, despite my best intentions, for a good part of 2016 and 2017 I remained depressed.
Sharing publicly what the black cloud of my fathers’ passing and his unchanging absence felt like, helped me tackle my grief a little. But each time I shared, the ‘relief’ did not last. The load was only momentarily lighter, I felt sadder knowing that his permanent absence was the reason my first ‘personal essay’ was picked by a magazine.
And, I found it strange that deep expressions of pain were celebrated in media all over - not just mine.
As I embarked on a new, personal book, it was fraught with hurdles. There were events and public appearances. At each milestone and through each challenge of 2017, I wanted to call dad and tell him, because he was part of it, because he was the reason.
But I did not want him to have been the reason. He was not there, not in person.
As I looked to lighten myself of the grief, anxiety, or turmoil, when I wanted to talk to him, I wrote. I wrote and wrote, hoping to find him, to talk to him, to talk about him. With each set of thousand words, my vocabulary became bolder, stronger, centered. Some days I felt a little closer to him, a little closer to who I was.
Some days I felt like I did not understand him at all.
And in trying to understand everything else, I found something else, my voice.
For those who have known me long enough know that I’ve written in some form, for decades. Writing has helped work through things that affected my physical, emotional, and mental health. The old adage, ‘Pen is mightier than the sword’ proved itself true as I returned to writing again. Sometimes I received criticism, sometimes support. Some folks encouraged. Some understood.
But passionate writing is a solitary activity, reflective, introspective, and sometimes adds to the sadness I am trying to replace.
Much like the 'glory' I saw in the sky that day, somewhere over Texas last year, the optical illusion, the natural phenomenon, I am going to take that as a sign, that what I am looking for is not outside me, but within. Even though many relationships and associations disappoint, I have to remain true to who I am, and learn. I may look to the skies for inspiration, but only I can decide what I see, and how I respond, and what I use for inspiration.
As the next year dawns tomorrow, I will be in my own bed in a box that we call home, in my comfy pj's and in a warm bed. Life is nowhere near perfect. And neither am I.
But, I am grateful for the people who surround me with selfless love, kindness and advice, and help me grow in bits and pieces. I remain grateful for those who understand that humans are a work in progress. Thank you. You are part of my innermost soul, the ones that will stay with me, tied to me through eternity.
The blueprint of this human may have been damaged, but I am recreating its missing pieces with new tools, new ink, and may even redraw it if the need arises.
I shall shed the burden of feeling less than worthy.
I shall illuminate my world with words.
I shall erase the doubt, and seek silence instead,
For silence brings peace, the everlasting truth.
Wishing you all a year laden with peace, love and encouraging possibilities.
PS: If you missed any of the many pieces I wrote this year, you can find them here. They are not chronological.
I post things on Instagram too, if you like pictures more.