Written but not posted until now: 25 December 2021
As I write this, it’s mid-afternoon on Christmas Day.
This year has been wild and beautiful and terrifying on every level.
This pandemic isn’t over. I’m only just figuring out that 2021’s lockdowns affected me far more than the lockdowns of 2020, and figuring out how to work through that.
The consequences of not vaccinating poorer countries with the same urgency that we vaccinated ourselves has inevitably come back to bite us. Omicron arrived just in time for the holiday season, and panic has set in.
Fortunately, I made a choice a little while back to completely opt out of Christmas this year. After this year, I needed time to breathe. Socializing, presents, and all the intense pressure that comes with Christmas felt like the worst thing for me, so I made that call. And it was the best possible decision I could have made.
In the last 24 hours I’ve worked out, cleaned, made delicious food, laid in the sun, taken a long bath, sat on the deck with a book and a beer, and then sat outside by the fire pit and watched the sun disappear to make way for the stars. I had a long, restful sleep last night. I feel a sense of peace that’s impossible to describe. The house is quiet and beautiful.
Speaking of the house: what a fucking rollercoaster. Looking back, my fear and dissatisfaction with this property hit a peak during lockdowns, but I couldn’t see that connection. All I could think about was moving back to the Pacific Northwest. All I could see was stuff to be done and stuff I didn’t like, instead of how incredible this place is.
As soon as lockdowns ended and we started hosting people and taking occasional weekend trips into Melbourne, that dissatisfaction evaporated. I started seeing all the reasons why we bought this place, instead of all the reasons I wanted to leave and run back to North America. Seeing the house filled with people, light, food, music, and laughter changed everything. It was never the property – it was lockdowns. I’m still homesick for the Pacific Northwest, but it’s different.
Once that shift happened, I started noticing that I was more present. The more good I noticed, the more good showed up. For the first time since moving back from Vancouver Island, I’ve felt good. Great. Centered. Calm. Peaceful. Excited to see the people I love, meet new people, explore, and take care of myself.
I may be the happiest and most content right now than I’ve been in living memory. I have so much love, and joy, and happiness, and so many incredible people who I consider family, that it’s hard to feel sadness right now, despite some family conflict happening in the background.
Reading back over the December draft fills me with immense gratitude all over again – gratitude that has persisted since that period. Our home, our space, feels like a calm eye in the midst of a raging storm. We are so unbelievably blessed.
I don’t have much to say here anymore, because I’m more compelled to write when things are hard, and writing when things are good feels like gloating. But I’m not. Sure, I’ve worked hard, but much of my life and its blessings can be attributed to luck and privilege. I’ll never forget that.
One of the things that helped me work through CFS/ME was focusing on the small, good things, and making a conscious choice to stop and acknowledge the good whenever I felt it–
this toast is delicious
what a beautiful, sunny day
the way the light hits that window is gorgeous
I feel strong in my body today
BIG STRETCH! feels so good!
I love my dog so much
how is it possible to be cared for, by so many great people?
my legs hurt – but it’s from dancing all day
that deep breath felt like a reset
(and Jesse – always, always Jesse – sometimes it’s hard to write about how much I love him. It’s like looking at a bright light. It’s borderline painful to fully acknowledge a love like this)
–over time, this habit became baked in, and I see more and more good. Small things, big things. Fine threads of light embedded in dark fabric. Discovering that most things are shades of grey – not black and white.
I feel less anger and judgement towards people, and more care – I see my past behaviours reflected back at me, I recognize how I felt when I used to behave the same way, and I silently send love. I look at people and I think: I hope that one day you can feel the way I feel now.
This isn’t really going anywhere. I’m trying to post because it’s been so long, and I feel compelled to keep planting a flag in this corner of the internet, a flag with my face on it that says “I’m still here!” – for better or worse.
My next post may be filled with just as much bliss, or it may be filled with pain. I don’t know what’s coming, and I don’t care.
I’m still here – for better or worse.