I walked down the stairs by myself and got the mail yesterday. I want to ring a fucking bell and announce myself to the lobby. I mean, I took the elevator back up, but – progress is progress.
It’s now been about a month and a half since the treatment for SIBO and candidiasis started. D. is at a conference for 10 days so we had a mad cooking party which we broke up into 3 days so I could get through it, even with his help. The freezer is stocked.
Every morning, I wake up and if I feel good, I cook an egg and microwave some brown rice and bacon. If not, I just nuke something savory.
I have emergency numbers. I have a loft stacked to the rafters with supplies. I have Amazon.com and 911.
But I feel good. For three days now. Three eggs.
A good friend came to visit Friday. I was Awake. I talked her ear off. I was tired and we stayed chatting on the couch, but I could stay awake and talk and listen and emote and care and pay attention and notice the breeze and the glow of the sun sinking through the window behind her. I was Awake.
I’ve been saying a sweet, small prayer of gratitude since then. Over and over as my heart shines a tiny bit brighter. I slept for 16 hours after she left and every extra bit was also a ‘thank you’.
I’ve fallen a long way, when I stop to measure. It’s been a slow fall, so I forget. I forget that I used to go to the gym every evening for an hour and a half. After working a full day. And after then attending evening class for my Masters degree at Harvard. And then, at 9:30pm, go out for drinks with love on the mind. I was strong. So strong.
Now, the two flights of stairs down is a real victory. More real than those easy days, because I know the value of it.
I’m coming through the depression. Not gently. Not easily. I am stubborn ambition. I must help. I must heal. I must constantly and unrelentingly prove my worth to others. It’s wired in.
Luckily, the wiring is flexible and I am beginning to see a pattern in how.
I’m coming through it now. But after an adjustment period. A private, sacred hell in which I learn a new level of letting go. In which I face down reality until I realize it is not a standoff.
I let down the wall between the ‘self’ and the self. There’s no room for pride. Or shame. Fear is not going to stop it. It’s already happened. It’s not negotiable. It’s not a punishment. It’s not going away right now. Right now is as it is.
I have to give up the struggle to ‘be someone’ and just let myself be, as I am.
And so my life, today, is surprisingly peaceful. I spend time with D. and with Benjamin, our kitten. I read when I am able and write when I am able and sleep a lot and water the mint and basil on our windowsill, listen to the neighbor playing piano. I hold onto my gut, the scared and sacred place in me that is always raw, always real, and feel love there. I breathe. I notice. I let go.
Coming through, it was bound to happen.
All the research says the lottery winner and the amputee end up about as happy as before their unholy luck. I’m starting to see how.
Happiness is never that big, inflated thing, way out there on the horizon, beaming. It wasn’t in hitting my goal weight, when that mattered to me. It wasn’t even in my graduation ceremony.
Today, it’s small, quiet, common. It barely shines at all. It’s sighing in contentment and it’s right here.
A bit of Emily Dickinson. She reached across the century to me when I was in high school, and I find myself hearing her voice in my ear again now: