We’re driving around, me and dad. Places I have never seen – not that I’d remember.
Dad tells me there are a lot of artists – and by that he mostly means painters, visual, multi media perhaps – living in this coastal area… He lets the information hang in the air as I say uh-huh or something equally eloquent to signal I’ve heard.
I wonder how they can afford to, with new looking cars parked out front, house and all.
I also wonder where I went wrong.
It is a pretty area, and it doesn’t call to me. at. all. There is no pull. Places look perfectly fine – but I feel nothing.
I wonder if I could live there. I scan the energy and nothing blips. I feel transparent like a ghost. People look cheerful, content even, going about their lives, and I feel no kinship to anything. Secretly I had hoped I would. At last. After all, some of my ancestors lived in the area.
For I don’t care for what gives their life meaning to them. What makes life worth living, or at times enduring. I don’t understand that which makes them tick; family life and after school activities, sports-day, and routines.
And I feel intensely envious and like a giant failure at life. It’s like that part of my software was never installed, not even a factory version. I feel defective or deficient in what they take for granted, the relatability to family life and bringing up children, the natural order of things.
I want so badly to find somewhere I want to stay. I tear at myself, at my mind and my heart, in search of a key that will unlock something, to let me understand. Allow some imagined escrow to wash over me like an avalanche of love and belonging, friendship and help.
I seriously doubt I’d find kindred spirits here, they weren’t there before, and I don’t think they have moved in during my absence. Just salt of the earth people living their family lives, each in their own way.
And because people buy artists, or charisma, rather than art, I guess my lovingly crafted creations would continue to go unsold.
For extreme outsiders who aren’t “cool” or relatable don’t waltz into the kind of employment needed to allow you to live comfortably here. And don’t tell me about doing what you love and what you make will fly of the proverbial shelves. It’s a myth. Monetizing hobbies will suck the joy out of what you used to love. It will slowly turn it into work. Unpaid work. No. Made with love does not work for freaky. “Be yourself” is not enough, it never has been. Wanting more than what’s beyond the scope of the village and the nearest towns does not sit well. UNLESS you return a success, triumphant. A person who has “made it” and want to go back.
If I go back, does that mean that it’s over, the beginning of the end of everything I wanted and dreamed of? My chance and opportunities at making a life my way somewhere else expires?
Finally the escapee has been caught and brought back. Chastened and told to be thankful; ‘so many people what to live here now’. Except me. As soon as I could, I set out in search of my tribe and what I had spent my life up until that point longing for; somewhere I wanted to stay, fulfilling work, and I’m still searching.
Will I ever find the strength and funds to leave and start over somewhere else again?
I recall as a teen landing back in the big city after visiting parents for a weekend, the high of being back, the persistent glow of hope that something I want might come my way here, and at the same time something tore inside me. Gratitude to be back, mingled with an undefined feeling of guilt like oil and water in the pit of my gut.
I recall countless bus and train journeys, watching through the window the passing land or cityscape, occasionally feeling such profound spontaneous gratitude that I did not have to step off, that that was not my destination. That I didn’t have to make my way home anywhere around there. It all felt so…wrong. Energetically.
Sometimes places looked quite pleasant, only to have that gut-wrenching deep despair hit me. In me, not the area. Energetic mismatch.
Wiser or more jaded?
When you move a lot, your safe space becomes something else but your home, something you can bring with you, your music collection perhaps. Pieces of music and the emotions they invoke supply that feeling of connection, familiarity, a virtual hug. When you let go of almost everything you own what you do have becomes precious.
One evening, out of curiosity, I compared what I listened to when I first moved here, and it was startling. It didn’t feel like bliss, but hope. Faith that life would continue to improve now I was in the right place.
I expected to find my feet and my stride, friends, and meaningful work. My happily ever after, travels with my love. I was ready and gladly gave it my all.
I did not anticipate loneliness, extreme isolation, and the impossibility to learn the language proficiently.
I wouldn’t say I made a mistake, I’ve had experiences I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on, but I feel done. Cooked.
Now I want to experience the counterpart, what I thought I was heading into; connection, in person friendships, joy.
How do you look forward, when there’s nothing to look forward to?
How do you get your life back on track? When you hardly have enough spoons to get you through the bare minimum of the day as it is?
Moving just three blocks in June meant leaving behind the opossums I’d become so fond of, and made me cry. I want to hug my cats and never ever let go… Leaving them behind is absolutely out of the question.
Can one write oneself out of the hole you find yourself in? Does the pointless tears ever stop coming? So many questions, so few answers.
I wrestle sometimes with crippling separation anxiety. So much so, I hardly know who I’d be without it. I struggle to appreciate beauty in the moment because the thought of it’s fleetingness is agonizing.
I am aware enough to know this stems from trauma, in my case from an other lifetime, watching the first earth blow up; losing almost everyone dear; and never able to go back. Nothing so far has managed to shift this.
I even feel angst when I read friends who are travelling and meet others for an evening and no contact details are exchanged. I hand mine out at random instead of asking people for theirs.
At times my world seem filled with “what if I never —–again?”
What if I never get to see and spend some time with this or that friend again, – or these days – never get the chance to meet at all?
Not being able to separate myself from the anticipation of having it ripped away again robs the moment of joy.
Torn apart, over and over, and no amount of tapping I’ve done has managed to shift it. It’s like a bottomless well. And to complicate matters further this happens over possible future events too…
That and lack of visual memory. I can read my words describing to myself the gorgeous bright stars flying at night high above the clouds; the Himalayas painted gold in all their glory, passing over Ireland at dawn showing exactly why it’s nicknamed the emerald isle, etc. I can’t picture it, and on either occasion not having a camera to hand to capture a pale impression of it for posterity, breaks my heart.
When you love people in many places you end up like me, Fractured. Pieces I can never reclaim.
My apparent inability to ‘be in the moment’, ‘live in the now’. Even as a young person I was always living in or for the future. Learning anything that could be of future use, for when I can leave school and this place behind, go in search of MY life.
And now, having failed to find home, and for the most part also tribe, I feel lost.
Where the summer is short it is precious.
The woman I read on IG wrote about the end of summer, how her kids go back to school soon, and this was the last weekend away from the city and the humdrum of everyday life. She started her micro-blog when the pandemic first hit. I found it a lot later.
It reminded me of the unbearable end of summer holidays as a kid who hated school, (or at least the bullying and demand to ‘conform or else you will not be allowed to play later, as an adult’).
It’s hard to wrap my head around; at the time I read it we were still in the midst of summer here, with months of hot humid heat to endure. The steady stream of drops of sweat making their way down my spine at regular intervals confirmed this, the burning sensation on my face whenever I strayed out of reach of the fan.
I miss enjoying the summer, or perhaps the shared experience of it. I enjoy the winters here so perhaps I ought to look for new friends in New Zealand or something.
The hurricane season was very active, I can hardly believe we’re in the middle of November; this year has been one long exhausting fug from the get go. For the first time ever I didn’t even look forward to the autumn, my favourite time of year, it’s just been TOO uncertain and a feeling of constant brazing for (and trying to outsmart) what may be served, even for me who can’t abide routines. I feel drained and exhausted, and unprepared for everything.
I look again at her photo, the lit candles on the windowsill against the deepening blue, the last colours of dusky twilight, the sea view. I cry.
No doubt she has worked hard for many years to build her life and get to where she is today, but so have I and countless others. And I have nothing to show for it. No successes, no shoals of friends to celebrate my birthday or other milestones with, no treasure island.
The last days of summer, the end of things. I don’t know why it always hurt so much? The tears I never cried, my stomach in knots. Time being something you never get back. Anxieties galore.
“LIVE LIFE! This isn’t a dress rehearsal” I once had a key-ring proclaim. Thank goodness for that, I couldn’t deal with having to do this all over again.
When the longer evenings and the cosiness of autumn returns
I greet it the same way my mother used to greet spring.
A kind of return of life, rather than light
A time of rebooting; evening classes commence, new projects, enthusiasm at work.
Everyone knows daylight is important to your health, and as someone who’s experienced the long dark winter months where you only see the sun for an hour of two on your day off work – if it’s not raining or cloudy that is – I get it.
S.a.d. is a very real for a lot of people.
But we forget darkness is important too
unless you are terrified of it I suppose.
In the dark resides the opportunity for reset. It is so much more than sleep.