I want you, today or tomorrow, to find some sacred silence and be there. Do whatever you want in that space. You can scream and cry, laugh your ass off, or just sit and think. Give yourself anywhere from five minutes to whenever you think you can’t take it anymore.
Give yourself the time.
Eat something that tastes good AND is good for you, even if it takes some work.
But before everything, give yourself the time.
2017 has brutalized us, that much is clear.
When January was on us, I remember how afraid I felt along with everyone else. I wondered what cruelty would come from our government and how vicious they would be. The speech that Trump gave at his inauguration was a horrible reminder of what we’re capable of as human beings, fulfilling my nightmares about what would emerge from his orange maw in the weeks and months ahead.
Comrades started their fighting, building new structures and campaigns to take things on. I myself started working on a thing I continue to have fun with and we’re going to win. But getting to the win will require much more than what we have constructed to date and that’s true for all of us. January passed by so quickly that I can really only think about life in seasons when looking back.
Winter and Spring was amazing as people started turning airports into arenas. Summer pushed us into thinking deeply about our own security and what we’d do when our families were threatened. Charlottesville made a lot us, myself included, re-examine relationships and really take a hard look at what these times mean for us in terms of who our friends are. A lot of people that were in my life tangentially just aren’t anymore. Summer changed to Fall and we’re still hurting. The fascists might have been sent slinking back into slimy corners, but their damage remains with us.
So why be amazed when Fall turned Winter and we all feel like we’ve been sitting in a blender for months, ready to be poured into holiday-themed containers and served? It’s been really hard and we’re not dealing with it very well.
I’m not dealing with it very well.
Particularly as the days get ever darker and the light hits my face that much less, I find myself getting existential about it. Why now? “I’ve got so much to do! I don’t have time for this,” I say as I struggle to get out of bed. I’m longing for holidays just so I can do nothing and, dare I say it, ignore even the people I really like. I can feel myself slowing and seeking trusted warmth, like a bear during a harsh winter. I’m a lot more introspective and generative in this space and it’s translating into some fun (if not fucking weird) stuff. Why?
Because I’m a computer nerd, the metaphor I’m starting to work with is a hard drive that needs to defragment.
Fragmentation occurs when the file system cannot or will not allocate enough contiguous space to store a complete file as a unit, but instead puts parts of it in gaps between existing files (usually those gaps exist because they formerly held a file that the file system has subsequently deleted or because the file system allocated excess space for the file in the first place). Files that are often appended to (as with log files) as well as the frequent adding and deleting of files (as with emails and web browser cache), larger files (as with videos) and greater numbers of files contribute to fragmentation and consequent performance loss. Defragmentation attempts to alleviate these problems.
– Wikipedia “Defragmentation”
Over the course of a year, I’ve done a lot of amazing things that are fun to remember, especially as many of them are fresh (Turkey! South Korea! Halloween!) and feel so new. Those things take up space, just like the horrible things, and they’re all mixed up together. Some stuff I can try to forget but can’t completely let go. Other things I don’t want to forget but they slip my mind. It’s a jumble and I’m lucky to get out what I can, in retrospect. My file system is like anyone else’s: it has its hiccups and places where it is less than perfect. It makes mistakes. But I think, also, I got lucky in that I got a high-performing hybrid drive in my skull that – like most high-performance things – requires a little extra care. It’s not that it’s better… it’s just intended for different uses. Emotional processes need a little more love. Decisions? Extra processing time. But if I keep things going well enough, my platters will keep spinning.
I’m starting to think, having no idea if its even the right direction to be thinking in, that part of this turn inward is my brain’s chance to reorganize. Depression is still pretty mysterious (hard drive errors stacking up? platters that won’t spin? too MUCH introspection?) but it feels like this turn downward and inward has a purpose and a point. So I’m going to roll with it, I think. I’m going to make some pies and mac n’ cheese casseroles and read a few books. I’m going to knock things off the Wunderlist (I swear!) and spend more time playing with Justice in front of the fireplace. Maybe it’s just time for all of us to take the time to reorganize our minds in preparation for what is to come, trusting that we’ll have the space we need for the lives we want.
Eat well, get some rest and I’ll see you after the break.