Nights spent waiting for the dog to bark again. He's lost his center to the dark. I wake up at two three four in the morning and try to get him to calm down. For someone with anxiety, I don't do a good job at comforting him. I'm short with him, I yell, I get frustrated too easily. I give him distractions to ease his anxiety. Nothing I do or say sinks into him. I can see it in his eyes, he's not there. He's in another reality filled with only his worries.
The seasons have changed once again somehow I've missed it. I didn't enjoy the autumn leaves like I normally do. And winter...well, winter came and went, the lack of snowstorms made time move faster than the average year. I can tell it's spring by my stuffy nose and puffy eyes, I always forget I have seasonal allegories until pollen is flying in the air. I am trying to admire the flowers growing on the trees, pink and white buds. I took one photo of them while a man sitting in the car in front of the tree watched. I haven't written a poem in a while, it's been a minute. I've been busy trying to stay afloat. My mental health constantly changes. One moment I'm well, the next I'm just hanging in there. Trying to get through the day. Physically I've hit a good stride, I knock on the wood next to me after I write the line above.
you were a cat who was always involved, who wasn't afraid of anything. time took away your fearlessness but your personality remained strong as ever until the very end. you were a cat who demanded to be heard, you meowed like an old man who smoked too many cigarettes, i swear you were a smoker in a past life. you were a cat who always came when i called, who loved being scratched and adored, you would bat my hand as I tried to walk away, telling me to stay. most of the time i did. you were a cat who loved a good nap. whether it was basking in the sun or cuddling in front of the fire with the dog, you soaked up every second of sleep you got. i was your person, someone you could always count on for love and safety. you were a rare kind of cat, my best friend for over 15 years, more than half my life. i held you in my arms until the very last moment, you didn't budge or tried to run. you dug your claws deep into my sweatshirt you leaned your head against my chest. i kissed your head and told you i love you, i will always love you. i will always love you. i will always love you, mikey, best cat ever.
Update – 4/6/22
Yesterday, my mom got an unexpected voicemail from the vet. They told us we could come pick up Mikey’s paw print. We weren’t expecting to get a paw print and to say it made us cry is an understatement. Grief over a pet that was in my daily life comes in waves. He was and will forever be the best cat ever.
I don't like rollercoasters. I don't seek them out, I don't ride them, they're not my thing. So how did I end up riding a rollercoaster through the trees at Copper Mountain? About a month ago, I saw a TikTok. Things you can do in CO! Hidden gems as one might say. I sent it to a friend and wrote, doesn't this look fun? Sarcasm doesn't translate over text. She replied, yeah! we should do that! My first thought was, no! Are you crazy? I would never do that! But the more I thought about it and spoke with people about it, I thought maybe it was something I could do. We found a day where neither of us were working and we looked to make sure the weather was good. We went and I had fun! It's something I wouldn't have done but I'm glad I did. I proved to myself that I'm capable of doing things I'm afraid of and having a good time.
The shortest month of the year has felt like the longest month in history. Okay, not in history but how are we still in only the second month of the year?? It's been almost two years of this pandemic and it feels like a decade has gone by. This was supposed to be the roaring twenties! We haven't had a normal year since 2019.
Currently reading –
from 2019 I climbed up a mountain to see the leaves. It was a gradual incline over sixty minutes, I don't know how high I got, But the view took me to another planet. Wide open land between mountains, Empty roads with no end in sight. I was in awe of this view, I had stepped off earth, Into someplace quiet. The quiet rings loud in my ears. No one talks, a subtle breeze Blows through the colored leaves on fire. This is what it's like to stop my thoughts. I'm lost in the quiet depths of the universe. A life on mars, it's all a lie.
In my dream, I'm in the bed I'm sleeping in. I can't move. I try to roll but I can't. It feels like gravity has pinned me to the mattress. Lying on my back, head looking turned right, arms at my side, I hear a sound coming. It's the sound of chaos, it sounds like a plane flying overhead. The sound grows louder and louder. I can't turn my head to see what's going on. I try to move again, frozen in place. I feel helpless and terrified. My breathing speeds up and I try to - . . . . . I wake in the same position. On my back, head turned to the right, hands at my side. The loud noise isn't real. Only a fan and sound of rain from my phone fill the room. I move my head to the left. Nothing there but a sleeping dog. I sigh then roll over. It takes me an hour to fall back asleep.
The ice cold wind gives me no favors. It burns my lungs the way I imagine a cigarette would. It feels like knives are cutting off my airways when I try to inhale. In these moments I feel my incapabilities fully. The pain from the air shoots through my chest as I try to take a full breath. I can do it but it’s difficult. 50s in January doesn’t feel like 50s in spring or fall, a reminder that we’re still in the midst of winter. I carry on with my shallow breathing that hurts less. When I get back home, I look in the mirror and my nose is red as a lobster from the wind. I smell smoke on my scarf when I take it off. Confused, I open the sliding glass door to see what’s going on. Sure enough, the air is filled with hazy campfire smoke I didn’t smell when I was outside.
“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”
When I read on Twitter last Thursday that Joan Didion had died, I was shocked. I kept on thinking, Joan Didion is dead. I don’t know why my brain kept on repeating that sentence as my body began to process the information that one of the women who inspired me to start writing had passed away.
Didion was 87. Her death hit me in an unexpected way. She played a significant part on why I began writing in my early 20s. I was assigned to read her essay Why I Write in a creative writing class in college the first week of summer semester in 2014. A quote from that essay has been on the header of my blog for several years now.
Didion processed culture, grief, mental illness with honesty. She never shied away from hard topics. She wrote about difficult situations as way to process them. I write because I too want to figure out how I’m feeling about something. Writing is a coping mechanism during rough times. It helps me makes sense of situations and emotions. She taught me how to write without shying away from my feelings. Being honest about a topic helps the reader connect to your work.
Her writing and voice has stayed with me throughout the years. I’ve turned to her books and essays time and time again as tough times in my life and in society have happened. She’s been a touchstone for me. Her Netflix documentary is my favorite documentary. I get something new each time I watch it. I watched it again yesterday and felt a sense of hope wash over me.
I will forever appreciate Joan Didion’s writing. How she used language and voice to tell difficult stories. She captured the times in a society that felt uncertain, much like how it feels today. The way she told her internal stories with her own struggles of mental illness and relationships. She’s an icon for a reason and she will be remembered as one.