Wednesday, August 20, 2008

when everything else is unclear, at least I know

This morning, I woke up early and made pie crust. Then I made a lunch of tofu and vegetables and salad. Then I went to class and paid attention and did not surf the web. Then I ate my lunch while stopping to talk to two administrators about various little projects that I have somehow entwined myself in. Then I went back to class, an interactive one, where a professor and I had a very good and useful conversation about meningiomas. Then I went to the library and caught up on some work while listening to a new mix that I can sadly not put on the mux at the moment because they seem to have run into some copyright issues (whoops, and boo). Then I walked home as the sun was setting. Then I ate my dinner. Then I went to Trader Joe's and bought blueberries for my once-weekly permissible baking extravagance. Then I allowed myself to watch a tiny bit of television while finishing up some more reading. And then I felt it was time to take a break.

Thanks for the support from yesterday's post, be it through comments, notes or just positive vibes. But the only way I know how to get through such times is what I did today- dive headlong in a series of trivialities. It's funny, if you take each thing separately, how insignificant it all is, because it felt otherwise like such a productive day.

At some point, do you call it hiding or do you call it living? I do these things as a kind of defense, a sort of shield. The shield of stuff-to-do. But I'm not sure it's that different from just getting on with the business of living. Pied Piper commented and emailed about something I'd written regarding how inexplicable it is, getting over things, moving on. And then I have a day like this and realize this is kind of how it happens.

It's just that one day, you wake up and decide you're not going to be down anymore, that things aren't going to continue to happen to you. And there's all that cheesy crap about being mindful that zen-masters talk about, but some aspect of it is true.

Obviously, I'm not doing a good job of explaining it at the moment. It's not the time to explain really, since I'm busy hiding or living or whatever you care to call it. Whatever you care. Because I don't really care what you call it. I just call it what needs to happen.

Because on a day like this, I realize, I can think back on the moment that I really first felt truly inconsolable. It was nothing so out of the ordinary really, nothing that would make a good novel, so typical, so run-of-the-mill. But that's the thing about being young- you don't realize how common your little heartbreak is. You imagine it's the only time anyone has ever felt that badly. You imagine you have some special capacity for feeling that makes you experience the pain more acutely than anyone else. Maybe you do, maybe you don't. Either way, doesn't really matter- the end is the same, you have to get on with living.

And I just remember that I don't know how it happened, or why. Nothing momentous, no intervention suddenly snapped me out of the black hole. I just remember that I woke up one morning and realized that I lived a block from the river. And then I went for a walk on that river and came to see that it was beautiful- everything was in bloom, the sun dropped glitter on the water, and on the bridge, the wind could make you breathless for a moment. It was like the world went from a black-and-white silent film to a technicolor musical. The rhythmic, synchronous rowing of the crew teams, the dedicated runners who made their way down the path with disciplined purpose, the roller-blader who seemed so fit but stopped midway to rest on a rock and light up a cigarette. The entire city was humming some off-tune symphony, seemed to be saying, Where have you been? We've been here all this time, and you never bothered to notice. And quite simply, it just seemed clear that, even though I was perhaps alone in some ways, I had this whole city silently offering me a cushion.

But it wasn't the first time I'd ever taken a walk on the Charles. It was just the first time I had been of the mind to see all that was happening around me. And similarly, I know I didn't do anything special today, and that I didn't accomplish anything really. I know I didn't cure myself of all my troubles, and that I still have a lot of I suck moments ahead of me. But I made a pie crust this morning, and it seemed that it just becomes a matter of getting into the habit of saving myself.

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