I've written and rewritten, and not written. I’ve started paragraphs with darkness and truth, and some with seemingly unjustifiable humor. After nearly 2 months of confinement, I’ve been incapable of composing the words to express my emotions while protecting those who are in too much pain to hear them. I’ve felt guilt over my privilege to be at home while also trying to make light of the habits I’ve recognized in the duration of quarantine. Ultimately, one thing is certain, nothing I say will be ‘correct,’ nothing I say will comfort the masses or provide any sense of ease to the struggle of everyone who will read this. Instead of forcing words onto paper that aren't occurring naturally, I went back to a recent entry I never shared.
“Emotional numbness, a feeling I had become familiar with despite leaving it unacknowledged for some many months. Overwhelmed with feelings only to experience an outcome of, well, nothing. I had slipped into a space of neutrality, my own personal limbo of consciousness. It wasn’t dark in this head space, but it certainly wasn’t light. There’s an immense discomfort in many emotions (despair, rage, heartache), yet ‘nothing’ seems to be the most terrifying - a terror I’ve learned to surrender to. “Your discomfort is fear… fear of the unknown, fear of yourself. Stop running from your emotions, instead, embrace them. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” A mentor whom I trust most deeply granted me the gift of freedom - freedom from my discomfort and conscious hyper-awareness of self. I was consumed by numbness, fearlessly.
Today I woke up after a night of genuine laughter, laughter that left aches in my abdomen. I couldn’t be more grateful for these aches, given that the past several months had been a production. I was starring in my own fictional series, featuring ingenuine smiles, laughs, sorrow, and even love. Today I woke up, I lit candles to fill my studio with the light the 5am sun lacked, I swayed to music while I drank my coffee, I stepped from the doors of my place and found myself in the middle of a cloudless sky. Looking up and grinning, for the first time in a long time I acknowledged this feeling I had so deeply missed, for so long that I had forgotten what it was entirely. This was Bliss.
February 29th, 2020, the day woke up from death.”
This entry was written before coronavirus was on my radar, but it applies to me now more than ever. I’ve learned a lot in these past two months but, most importantly, I’m learning to live.