NaBloPoWriMo Crow-vember: Day 6
Life can be beautiful sometimes, and hard. Three years ago last month, my most serious relationship to date ended. It was sad. I was sad. My thesis was due two weeks after the break-up, and in the interim I had to go to a wedding. It was comically tragic. It was the worst.
Even worse than the October three years prior to that when my apartment was broken into shortly after I moved to Minnesota and all of my pictures were taken. All of my writing: gone. The statute of limitations on burglary is three years, so even if the police were still investigating the case (which I’m sure they’re not), and they found someone (which I’m certain they won’t), they wouldn’t be able to prosecute.
If it’s possible to walk around the shell of a person, after the break-up I did. I cried so much that I literally* cried myself dry. I went to the eye doctor, it was that bad, and I had to stop wearing contacts for a while. I hurt all over, all the time. I couldn’t eat; I wanted to sleep all-day, every day. I lost a lot of weight. I hid in the bathroom at work a lot. I felt like no one must understand what I was going through.
And I wrote.
It was hard, but also beautiful, or at least I see the beauty in creating art from sadness. I had learned, after the break-in, that people don’t want to hear about things that are sad or bad, because then they feel sad or bad because they love you, and no one wants to feel sad or bad. It’s not their fault they want you to get over it; what they really want is for you to be okay. But, if you’re the person who is in it, it can seem like you don’t have the space to feel what you’re feeling, so you push it down, pretend you’re okay. I learned, also after the break-in, that this is an unhealthy way for me to be, so, after the break-up, I had to “face into my grief,” which my friend read in a book somewhere, because sometimes a book can save your life.
So I did just that.
The evening of the day I defended my thesis, I put on a little black dress and sparkly earrings and took my turn behind a podium at a flash non-fiction reading with people who are far better writers than I am, with lots of publishing credits and accolades and renown. I read a piece that I had written, specifically for that evening, about the relationship and the break-up and what I was feeling. It had been two months. It had been a lifetime. I was still very much in it.
After the reading, I submitted it to a few places and got a few rejections; I started feeling much better and started focusing on other things, so I set the piece aside. I started doing improv. I started writing my second book. I made a Halloween costume, and then another. I dated. I had more break-ups. And almost a year ago, on the last day of the submission period, I sent the piece out again, this time to the journal I helped edit in graduate school. It’s an artful journal; putting it together was beautiful, and also hard.
Tonight, I’ll be reading a revised version of that piece I read long ago. I’m no longer in it, although the memory of that time lingers like the ache after you wake up from a migraine: foggy, sluggish, but still alive. Some pain is indelible; I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.
I know that it’s “Crow-vember” and my posts are usually funny, but life isn’t always funny, and sometimes, even when it is, it’s comically tragic. I’m not writing this to make you feel bad or sad, I’m writing this because it happened, and I’m okay. I’m really proud of what I made, and I’m thrilled to be in this journal of beautiful and sometimes hard things.
If you’re in the area tonight, I hope you’ll join me for the reading. If you’re in it, I hope you make it through today with a little less pain than yesterday, and tomorrow with a little less than today, and so on and so on. Feel free to come up to me–whisper if you have to, nod if you can’t–and I’ll hug you and tell you that you won’t always be in it and that sometimes the best things really do come from the worst.
*I hate that people have made this mean figuratively; I legitimately gave myself dry eye.