reaching for the river

It has become easier and easier to feel small. People and places we hold dear are unraveling into either a distant memory or something we do not recognize. The idea of things ever being "normal" again is unfathomable to me. Though there are many "normals" that deserve the boot and should never return, there are other "normals" that are delicate and unique and make us each who we are. As simple a thing as people watching on your favorite park bench can lead to sadness or anger. Not knowing when you'll get to safely sip a beer at your favorite open mic or sweat shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of strangers at a house show. I love traipsing through libraries and bookstore for hours, reading the spines of the books in all different sections and wondering about the stories inside them. It is overwhelmingly beautiful to think about all the universes that exist through worlds in one simple building. I love to spend my days at a coffee shop, or at a spot near the water, moving myself in with books and journals strewn across my spot like it's my own kitchen table. Really existing in the world, inside of it, amongst it, in a way that is unreachable right now.

Yesterday I woke up in a horrible way. I'd been doing this for the past week or so - mornings have always been my weakest time. I am the type of person who needs to go through my morning with at least some intention or the chances of my whole day being fucked increase by something like 60%. The things I need are not hard things: waking up at 7:50 instead of 8:25 to start my job at 8:30, drinking water instead of checking my phone, maybe even a run if I can. But days (or weeks) when I'm in the middle of an episode of heavy anxiety or depression are pretty much a no-go. So, I started my Monday by calling off work and crying in bed for approximately three hours. In those hours, I unleashed all the fear and anger pent up instead my head and my heart. I cried about my friends, my beautiful friends, who always manage to reach out a hand of love when I am drowning in my own depths. We are in a group text together; I watched as messages piled in and felt I lacked the required worth or right to partake. I cried about my family, myself, all the insecurities and uncertainties found in each. When I ponder too long, I can often convince myself that I am a mistake in the universe. A series of wrong choices and bad ideas that all led to me, a single imperfect person to carry the burden though I feel like I cannot. I cried like the world was ending because it felt like it was.

But then I arrived at a point where my tears started to subside. I breathed in, looked around, noticed the fractions of light peering through my blinds. I opened them to find a beautiful barely overcast day, where the sun glowed from behind the clouds and lit up the green in the leaves and brightened the bluish grey sky. A fresh breeze moved through my room when I took a chance to crack the window and I knew. This is a day for a small, unique, almost-normal moment. In front of me was a chance, small but mighty, to take my day and transform it into something I needed. To shape it into an afternoon that would make me feel calm and alive, however I possibly could.

The afternoon itself would not appear overtly spectacular to anyone looking from the outside in. It was not unlike any other Sunday, where my partner and I ride our bikes to our favorite spot by the river to enjoy coffee. But that is what I did. I drove over to my favorite coffee shop, got myself one of the fall drinks they'd premiered just that day, and sat by the river. I wrote, I read, I listened to music. The sounds through my headphones cradled my worried mind. I watched the river move, the water sparkle, and I wrote it all out. My handwriting almost was that of a stranger as it had felt like so long since I allowed myself to freely put my thoughts on paper. I received a few texts from loved ones looking to say hello or see what I was up to. I responded, feeling the sense of safety that had been waiting for me. I checked my email and found a request from one of my old students to edit some posts of a blog she herself is launching. I replied with pride and eagerness to help. The sun reflected off the water, off the buildings, lighting my little corner of solitude in a glowing feeling of nostalgia. I was so full of genuine love in that moment. Sitting alone, with only the sound of the city and the music in my ears, I felt like myself.

Moments like these are hard to find right now. Rather than falling into our laps, they must be excavated from the ruins that our current lives seem to have become. But these moments are reachable. We can dig deep and find pockets of gratitude. We can let them flow through us. If you are like me, and you feel heavy from the weight of the world, know that I am with you. But more importantly, you are with you. You are a magnificent force of your own. Do not be afraid to try, to chase moments for yourself. I promise that I will try too. ☼