I promised myself I would start writing again. I thought it would help. Force me to talk about the things I was feeling with paper the way I used to.
Writing was one of the only things that truly understood me for a really long time.
So, I said it was time to start back up again. That was over 6 months ago.
A couple weeks ago, I made myself say it out loud to a crowd full of women. I thought maybe that would help me hold myself accountable and I really felt sincere and genuine in my promise. But the writing didn’t come easily like it used to. It felt like a chore and it felt like open wounds being salted all over again.
Writing didn’t feel like my friend anymore, it felt a lot more like my enemy.
But today, I made the decision to sit down, write a post, and publish it.
I gave myself an hour. I promised I wouldn’t go back and proof read or worry about what people might say or think.
Today, this writing is for me.
So, here I am, sitting in the middle of Starbucks with tears streaming down my cheeks trying to avoid making eye contact with the barista who for some reason feels the need to sing every order aloud. “taaaall Americano with extraaa whooole milllllk”
At least her singing distracts customers from focusing on the teary eyed girl awkwardly typing on her keyboard.
So. Here. I. Am.
I’m a mess.
I have convinced myself, along with the rest of the world, that I’m keeping it all together, but writing is the one thing that always finds a way to reveal all of the reasons I’m falling apart.
My words at the moment are screaming the fact that holding it all together feels impossible.
I didn’t think it would still hurt this much nearly a year after my dad passed away.
Nearly a year.
It feels like an hour and a lifetime all at once.
My hands are shaking and my lip is quivering and for some reason all my fingers want to talk about is the obnoxious singing barista.
I don’t know what I’m so damn afraid of.
Maybe the fact that writing it down makes it real. I used to write about all the things I wanted to forget. All of the things I wanted to get rid of. I’d write and write until my hands were numb and somehow getting all of the words out of my head and onto my keyboard made things make a lot more sense. And even when it didn’t make sense it at least gave me somewhere to keep the thoughts that were throwing rocks at my window in the middle of the night and stealing my attention when they knew I needed a break.
But I don’t want to get rid of my dad. I don’t want to feel better or normal or like everything is going to be okay, because it isn’t.
It isn’t ever going to be okay again.
I remember waking up the first few mornings after it happened.
It hurt, so bad.
I remember it being so hard to breathe.
I remember wondering if it would ever stop hurting so much and I also remember feeling kind of scared for the day that I woke up without the pain.
But one day I did and I made it to brushing my teeth before the tears started falling. That became my new goal, and for a while, making it through brushing my teeth was the only sign I had telling me I just might survive.
And here I am. Surviving. Writing. Trying.
God, I am trying so hard.
I just want to be the little girl my dad always thought I was.
Brave, fearless, happy.
I want to make him proud and I want to try my hardest remember every single thing about him.
One night, in the midst of my grief, I looked up ways to ensure certain memories were stored in our long term. You want to know the first tip I came across?
Write it down. Touché.
So here I am. Writing. Crying. Releasing. Storing.
At this point, I’m not entirely sure what I have even written down. Words used to come so easily and it used to be more difficult to not write than it was to get my thoughts on paper. But it’s like I built walls around the part of my heart that remembers how to string words together in a way that the world understands.
I was hoping maybe I could help someone else going through a loss or grieving or failing miserably at holding it all together.
But, who am I kidding?
I haven’t a slightest clue how to help.
My best advice (to myself, and the world) is to keep swimming, even when your legs are tired and your lungs want to stop.
Keep fighting and breathing and bleeding and surviving, because what is this life even for if we don’t do our best to give it all we’ve got?
The waves are relentless, the water is deep, and there are no second chances or take-backsies or do overs.
Sometimes, we just have to swim.
But other times, when the waves take a deep breath and the water steadies, we have to force ourselves to lay back and float and look up at the stars.
There’s an entire world above us that we often forget about when we are doing our best to keep swimming forward.
There is a world above us that only calm, peaceful moments will reveal.
Perhaps the stars spend their days looking down on us, hoping someone will take a minute to look up and notice them.
And maybe the night sky is there to remind us that there will always be something bigger than our grief. Bigger than our loss. There is always something bigger and scarier and darker and emptier.
The stars will forever prove to our bitter, unwavering hearts that even the tiniest one knows how to break up the darkness.
Even the smallest star can be seen no matter how empty and black and dark the sky might be.
Some days, our star in the darkness comes in finding the strength to brush our teeth without crying.
And other days, the star comes in finding the strength to write a bunch of jumbled thoughts and push “post,” even if for no other reason than proving to yourself that it can still be done.
So here I am. Writing. Posting. Sharing. Swimming.