Some Things Change, Some Things Stay the Same

December 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

So it’s been a pretty intense week or so, which is likely why my period is late. I worked… I honestly don’t even know how many hours last week. I kept accepting new, last-minute clients so it’s hard to keep count of my hours. Basically I was getting up at 5am every single day last week, leaving the house by 6am, walking dogs and sitting cats until 9am, working at the museum from 9am to 5pm, then petsitting until 9:30pm. Walk Asha, brush teeth, sleep, rinse, and repeat. The first two days I was like “I feel GREAT! I could do this all day!” but by Christmas day I was over it, feeling exhausted and like a zombie. I accidentally drank an entire bottle of champagne and passed out on the couch, waking up late to do my afternoon dog walks. Ah well. I needed the break and I definitely needed the rest. 

Some things change, some things stay the same. 

Last Saturday I went to pick up keys for a client from their leasing office. The office was supposed to be open at 9am but when I got there at 9:02am there was a sign on the door saying they would “return” at 10:00am. Normally, or at least in the past, I would have been absolutely livid, knowing that my morning was going to be spent waiting on people I shouldn’t have to wait for who were strolling in late to work out of laziness, like they weren’t negatively affecting anyone else. This day, though, likely because of my magical meds changing how I feel day-to-day, I just shrugged and decided to go check out my favorite thrift store. Accidentally left the house without a bra on (because I thought I would just be seeing cats that day and wouldn’t have a reason to take my jacket much less my shirt off) so I just tried on stuff without a bra which felt simultaneously liberating and incredibly awkward. I did get a good haul though, and I paid half-price for everything because it just happened to be a one-day-only 50% pre-Christmas sale. Fuck yeh.

Some things change, some things stay the same.

I made it through Hell Week but I did fuck up royally. It was bound to happen because there was a lot of chaos leading up to Hell Week. I’ve accepted extra responsibilities for my petsitting job doing the client and employee newsletters, holiday cards, thank you and birthday cards, etc. so I get a million emails from my boss a day anyway, plus with the crazy holiday schedules, I was getting emailed client info all the time. I don’t have time or reason to read those emails immediately, I usually just read them on the way to the client or once I get there. Turns out one of my client’s leasing office closed at 6pm (a lot of my clients live in fancy pants places with 24/7 desk service) so I couldn’t get the keys for when I was scheduled to see the cat. There was a lot of panic from the client and my boss, as both feared the office would be closed Christmas Eve (and of course Christmas day) so I wouldn’t be able to see the cat for three days, but it was alllll fine in the end. I got to the cat at 9am the next day when the office opened. 

But I was, as I always am, incredibly hard on myself for making the mistake. Was the mistake understandable? Absolutely. My boss kept trying to calm me down because I was so apologetic to him and to the client, offering to pay for the cat sit so he didn’t lose money (he credited her the cost, of course, because I fucked up), and I offered to stay with the cat longer or to do extra visits for free. He told me he wasn’t even mad because he knew this was my first mistake since I started working for him in September, and he knows my mistakes are few and far between. But I still felt wretched about it, beating myself up even though I completely understand why I made the mistake. Alas, some things don’t change. 

The money will be incredibly helpful as the paycheck from Hell Week (should be more than $600 even after taxes) will come right before my move back to Alabama in January (did I tell you I’m moving home? Because I am!), so it’s really great timing. 

Great timing has abounded with this move, really, kind of in an astounding way. I’ve been toying with the idea of moving back for a while, first thinking I would move in May, then wanting to move as soon as I got a job offer, then just over a week ago I decided I was just going to move without a job because 1. I’m really unhappy working at the museum and 2. it’s going to be a hell of a lot easier to get a job once I’m in Birmingham because it’s so insular and everyone wants to interview me in person rather than by phone. Within a week of making that decision, I’d secured my dream apartment, booked my moving truck for less than $400 including the car tow and a hand dolly, and listed my Dallas apartment on craigslist to sublet. 

Today a girl came to do a walk-through of the apartment and this evening we completed the paperwork at the leasing office to transfer the lease to her name. EASY PEASY. Ridiculously wonderful timing. She’ll move into my place the day after I move out. Also, she’s from Georgia. Not only that, she’s from Atlanta. NOT ONLY THAT, she used to live on North Druid Hills. Know who used to live on North Druid Hills? ME. HOLY FUCKING GOD IT’S A SMALL WORLD. Lordy… head trip. 

Anyway, things are working out perfectly for this move so far. Perfect apartment, perfect location, my Dallas apartment is totally taken care of, the moving truck is already reserved… all I need to do is find movers which has been surprisingly difficult to do but that’s likely because of the holidays and everyone is out of office. Will get back to it after the New Year when I return to work. 

My dickhead boss never even responded to my letter of resignation. He just forwarded it to his boss instead. Excuse my overdramatic eye roll. I’m hoping I won’t see or have to talk to him at all before I leave. I’ll miss the other interns but they’ve promised to visit so hopefully they will. I do have a guest room in the new place! So they’ll have to come visit. Just the favorite ones anyway. 😉 

Some things change, some things stay the same. 

It kind of amuses me that I make major decisions like quitting my job and moving to another state so quickly and easily. It also amuses me that I can arrange the move so quickly though perhaps not quite easily. I do harass people to get apartments and things, and I get pretty anxious until the move is over and the apartment is unpacked. Some people take a while to unpack, but I’m usually done within 48 hours including hanging art. I’m SUCH a nester (some things stay the same!) and I’ve been acquiring thrift shop and craigslist finds to stock the new apartment, which will be the largest place I’ve lived in to date. I’ll have a studio which is helllla exciting, but I need to get an art/work table and new supplies containers. I bought new placemats and a new set of dishes as well as durable/cheap wine glasses both with stems and without because I plan on having people over much more often now that I actually have a place that’s big enough to fit more than two people. I bought the most wonderful leather arm chair that I just want to curl up in all day every day. My adorable sofa seems neglected, but I can’t help it I love the new chair! I bought a great new rug for the living room as well, that I fell in love with because it reminds me of medieval illuminated manuscripts and trompe l’oeil flowers around the borders of pages in books of hours. I’m having difficulty deciding on a rug for the dining room and my bedroom. Ah, decisions decisions. 

These all may seem shallow and/or superfluous but I take great joy in my home, in it feeling like me, like I live here, like it’s a part of my life not just where I drop my shoes and sleep. I’m excited about the new place because there will be more wall space which means that not only can I hang more art, but the art will have more space to breathe whereas now it’s all very crowded and cramped on the walls. I could hang less of it… but that’s really tough. I have art, I want to see it (museums should take note!).

I’m so excited about moving back to Alabama. All signs point to this being the right choice and the perfect timing!

Am I overexcited and hanging onto hope of a better life somewhere else? Possibly. Some things change, some things stay the same. I always think the grass is greener on the other side… 

…but I have a funny feeling this time will be different.

SHAZAM!

December 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

Okay, so meds actually do work. And when they kick in, you’re like “MOVE OVER MOTHERFUCKER. I’M TAKING OVER THIS WORLD.” But not in like a violent, dominating kind of way, you’re taking over the world by giggling, humming christmas music, and basically wanting to hug everyone until they can feel as good as you do. I’m sure eventually the ecstatic excitement of every day being an opportunity rather than an obligation or a struggle will wear off, but right now I’m giddy and trying really hard not to run around screaming “THIS FEELS AMAZING” all the time. 

I mean, seriously. This is pretty unbelievable. I can’t believe normal people just walk around like this all the time. It really explains a lot, though it makes me question even more why the hell anyone would have been interested in me while I was depressed. Now I look great and feel great and want to scream that I finally feel good to anyone who will listen. This is a huge change from Monday, when I was sobbing on my drive home and was so desperately sad that I was actually considering pulling over and hugging the first person I saw on the sidewalk. Monday was a really, really, really shitty day. And I hardly slept that night which really didn’t help matters.

When I woke up feeling great on Wednesday, I tried not to get too used to it. “I’m just having a good day,” I thought. “This won’t last,” I thought. 

But on Thursday I woke up feeling great again. 

And last night I actually SLEPT COMPLETELY THROUGH THE NIGHT. I had a bad dream, but when I woke up, I was like “Girl, you crazy. That dream was bullshit.” And I didn’t think anymore on it. And now, it’s Friday night, and I STILL FEEL GREAT. 

I’m still not totally convinced this will last… I’m certain that I’ll still have some bad days as I’m adjusting to seeing what feeling good feels like and dealing with the grief, anger, and frustration of the decade I lost feeling so fucking shitty. And of course I’m desperately afraid now that I’ll relapse and go back to how I was before: exhausted, angry, over-critical, and super negative all the time. I don’t ever want to feel that way again. Ever. EVEREVEREVER. 

Okay, okay. I guess I’m still the same person for the most part, because yesterday I went to a fancy pants museum party for the junior associates and where did I hang out… In the sunroom? Nope. By the giant fireplace? Nope. Outside on the patio? Nope. I hung around the food table and stuffed my beautiful little face full of some SUPER yummy delicious food. How many times did I refill my little dessert plate? Uncountable. How many times did I snag stuff with my fingers from the table rather than put it on my plate and then eat it like a fancy pants adult? Uncountable. Seriously, rich kids, you can’t delay eating bacon-wrapped dates by wasting time putting them on your plate first. Baby crab cakes, stuffed mushrooms, some kind of tuna (?) salad cream cheese thing with an almond sliver on a piece of lettuce, tiny little pie squares… Ermahgerd. Plus the free booze was nice too. The other girls where like “Ooh, which guys do you think are single?” I have real priorities: BACON. 

The meds kicking in is perfect timing, too, because I have Hell Week coming up next week where I’m working back-to-back 12-14 hour days for the entire week. OH BOY. SO EXCITING. Know why it’s exciting? MONEY. AND KITTENS. Cause, seriously, those are my two favorite things in life that aren’t edible next to puppies (I have one already) and shoes (I have WAY too many). I’m so glad I live alone because I sing all.the.time.now. and if I had a roommate it would probably drive them up the wall. I’ve apparently been humming a lot at work all week, but I never notice when I’m doing it, so I guess when it starts to really grind someone’s nerves, they’ll let me know… 

AND. My mom is coming to visit for New Years! ANDANDAND I’m actually going to take a couple days off to hang out with her! ALEXA IS TAKING A DAY OFF HOLY SHIT IT’S AMAZING. 

Lots of exciting stuff in the works as to the rest of my life, so I will hopefully have some big announcements soon! Cross your fingers and toes for me! And whatever else you have… that crosses……

Girl Talk

December 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

Today was the best day I’ve had in a while. No, the meds still aren’t working. Had a long dream last night about working at the museum coordinating tours again, and there were so many kids everywhere and no one could hear me, so I was running around trying to wrangle them but failing. I ended up feeling beyond exhausted, like one of those zombie-moments you get when you’ve been up for 24 hours straight or after a major run of exams. I was wandering around in my dream, struggling to keep my eyes open and being fairly unresponsive/despondent to everyone who tried to talk to me. Then something good happened, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer so I fell asleep just at the happy moment of the very exhausting, stressful dream. Then I woke up. Exhausted. So the sleep meds still aren’t working like they should… You really shouldn’t be dreaming about how tired you are. 

But I had a good day once I dragged my ass out of bed (which took a while, but I had three dogs to walk!). I went on a brunch date with a friend of a friend. He’s a really nice guy, went to art school for sculpture, plays piano and classical bass, owns his own house (that dates to 1911, which is awesome), and has definite career goals and a plan for the future. He also surprised me with a handmade dark blue glass ornament. He used to have his own glass-blowing company before he moved back to Dallas. And you know how much I love handmade gifts! Even if they’re made from popsicle sticks, haha, but the glass ornament is really beautiful too. I was very upfront with him (surprise, surprise! how unlike me…) about my depression, my treatment, and how I’m trying to get back to Birmingham ASAP, so he’s fully informed of the situation and he can easily draw conclusions about my expectations and intentions. 

What happened with Mark, you ask? Well, it’s complicated as always. Or maybe not so much. He basically said he didn’t want me, doesn’t want to date me, but still wants to be there for me as a friend. I’m sure it’s unsurprising that I wouldn’t want to be that girl who’s a basketcase and calls him crying when she’s depressed while he’s getting numbers from other girls at bars. No thank you! Talk about terrible for my self-esteem. 

Speaking of my self-esteem, let’s have a little girl talk (if talking about boys wasn’t enough for you). The following may seem superficial to you, but please bear with me. 

I’ve been watching a lot of What Not to Wear lately since Netflix added it to their instant streaming collection. In the past, I’ve considered it a guilty pleasure and trashy television, watching it only in private and most often when I was wasting time in my hotel room on business trips. I started watching it when it was added to Netflix mostly because of the guilty-pleasure aspect but that quickly changed into an educational venture. I was never taught much about hair, makeup, fashion, and presentation so what I’ve learned over the years has been sporadic and unreliable.

What hooked me into the show this time was realizing how much of it I could relate to, how I fell into the same cycles as the women on the show. Because of my depression, my energy level is naturally very low in the first place and then extremely low when you add on a job or two and being in school. I didn’t have the energy to really spend time figuring out fashion and all that jazz, much less have energy or confidence to do it. So my clothes and lack of makeup and hairstyle reflecting how I felt — feel like crap, look like crap. Then I would hate myself even more because when I would look in the mirror, I would see that I looked like crap which only made me feel more like crap. Crap Crap Crap Cycle. Ew. But you get the point. 

I am incredibly insecure about my looks. I always have been. I’ve never been the prettiest girl in the room and I don’t expect I’ll ever be. I’ve never be as skinny as I think I should be. 

What Not to Wear is all about embracing who you are and presenting yourself in the best way possible. They don’t try to fit you into some mold or formula, but instead show you how to let your personality show through your clothing while teaching you to dress for the body you have, not the body you want. Their use of makeup is to accentuate your features but not put on a mask or cover up what makes you unique, which to me is exactly what makeup should do. These things make you feel beautiful and reinforce it as you constantly approve of yourself when you see your reflection rather than thinking you look like crap, making you feel worse. It’s not narcissism or superficial, it really isn’t. It’s taking care of yourself, showing people that you care about yourself and are a confident woman who embraces her body type, her personality, and the features of her face that make her unique. 

So I’ve been rethinking the way I’ve been doing things. I bought some new makeup and have been trying out some new things. I’m still not going crazy with makeup just because I don’t like the look on me, but I have been doing more of a winged eyeliner and more shadow (sometimes, not often. most days I just wear eyeliner). I’ve been experimenting with blush as well because I have no natural blush to my face and no tan to speak of, so my face is pretty pale and flat. Plus I have awesome cheekbones apparently, so I should be highlighting them! 

I’ve also taken major steps to get my wardrobe in check. I’m trying to embrace my body and love it for how it is, not hate it for what it isn’t. I’ve been trying to buy more clothes in stores rather than online to ensure that they actually fit, because keeping clothes that don’t fit just leads to more negativity when you keep trying on the same thing and feeling shitty because it still doesn’t fit properly or you look bad in it. If it doesn’t fit or I’m not 100% in love with it: 1. I shouldn’t buy it and 2. I shouldn’t keep it. I went to the thrift store and bought about 7 tops and today I went to Ross and ended up getting three party dresses. There are a lot of holiday parties coming up and all my dresses are spring/summer, so I needed to go shopping anyway and the thrift store didn’t give me anything in the way of dresses. 

The next big hurdle is cleaning out my wardrobe. If I don’t love it and/or it doesn’t fit, it has to go. Unfortunately, I have a stupid amount of clothes so it’s a big undertaking, but it has to be done and I know I’ll feel better when it is. 

I think I feel pretty good today because I FINALLY GOT MY CHRISTMAS TREEEE! It’s the first one I’ve ever bought (my roommate in college bought one for our apartment once) and I absolutely adore it even though it’s not really the best tree I’ve ever seen. It’s a little ungainly, but it’s also stupidly adorable because my ornaments are awesome. I was going to make ornaments but I don’t have the time or the energy (all energy needs to go into making christmas presents!) and after I got all the ornaments that I’ve been given or bought, there really isn’t room on the tree for any more decorations. The ornaments I bought were really cheap–just from Big Lots–but they’re super cute, as is the penguin tree skirt I got. My aunt sent me some really adorable ornaments as well that keep with the cute bird theme, which I put high on the tree just in case Asha gets curious about them… 

Is it the rainbow-colored lights? Or the many birds in scarves (owls, penguins, and sparrows, oh my!)? Or the smell of the tree when I come home? I’m not really sure what it is about the Christmas tree that makes me so elated, but I’ll ride that train as long as it keeps truckin on! I do hope I don’t burn the apartment down though because the lights I got are crazy hot. I’ll just have to be good about watching them and not keeping the tree very long once it’s dried out. I’m looking forward to cozying up on the sofa with hot chocolate, admiring the tree with all the lights off so the tree really glows. Maybe I’ll write a letter to Santa as well… Why not! Adulthood be damned! 

No Improvement

December 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

So even with the melatonin and the anti-depressant sleep aid additions, I’m still sleeping like shit. I’m falling asleep faster, sure, but I’m still sleeping really restlessly and having some of the most fucked up dreams in my memory (which is saying something. example: last week I dreamed mark and mom had a baby and mark let it drown in the bathtub. I woke up practically screaming “I’LL NEVER HAVE KIDS. THEY CAN DROWN IN TWO INCHES OF WATER!!” cause obviously that’s the most disturbing takeaway from that dream.). 

It may be true that I just need to give the meds time to work. I doubled my dose of melatonin tonight and took all my meds on top of about a bottle of red. My psychiatrist says I metabolize medications faster than normal which is why pain meds and antidepressants, etc. don’t have a strong effect on me. Funny story: when I was taking pain meds after getting my wisdom teeth out I was CrAcKeD out to a crazy productive extent. I raked my friend’s entire backyard, bagged all the leaves, dragged all the bags up the driveway to the street, and swept his pack patio and porch completely clean. Most people just sleep or eat jello, I’m told. 

Anyway, point is, meds don’t respond to my system the same way they do to more normal people so I’m still not seeing the sexual or alcohol-related side effects (among others) that are apparently common. I’m also not seeing any noticeable improvement so I guess the meds still aren’t working. 

My psychiatrist said to call her if I’m not sleeping better within a week. Looks like I’m on the path to call her! At least I get to sleep in tomorrow instead of having to get up for a pet sit. That’ll be nice. If I can sleep peacefully. HA HA. I made a joke! 

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I’ve applied to quite a few jobs now, including two at UAB and one at my old high school. God, I would *love* to work at my high school. I didn’t appreciate it then as much as I do now, but my goodness I got an amazing education there. I wouldn’t be teaching or anything like that, but I would still feel amazing getting to give back to the school. The new director is my old english teacher. I tried to be happy for him, the promotion and all, but he was SOOOOOOOOOOOO good as a teacher. He changed my life. I told him that. I’m so sad that all the following classes of students will miss out on that. He was just everything a teacher should be. And we rose to the occasion as students. Anyway, I would love to work at ASFA, get a chance to support such a wonderful school and such talented kids, faculty, and alum. But so far they don’t seem interested. No response to my application. No invitation to interview. I would accept in a heartbeat, no matter the pay. 

The biggest thing is that I need a living wage. Oh, right. AND HEALTH INSURANCE. I **desperately** need health insurance. Desperately. I need to get back to Birmingham ASAP anyway for the support system, but I also really need a full-time job that pays a living wage (unlike my current job) and offers health benefits. I can’t continue treatment for many more months without it, it’s just too expensive. Thank god for generics for some of my meds! But still. I need to get back to Birmingham. I need a job that actually encourages me to be productive and gives me opportunities to contribute. I need a job that wants me to work. And I need a job that offers health benefits. Why is this so hard? I have years of experience, an impressive resume for my mere 25 years, an adaptive skill set, and a passion to be utilized and to grow professionally. Why is no one calling to interview me? I have an interview on Monday, but it’s for a job in Sales….. Alexa in sales…. that’ll be the day! 

If I could just sleep, things would be better. My psychiatrist knows this. My psychologist knows this. I have such a hard time sleeping and when I can sleep, I have crazy disturbing fucking dreams. I just don’t know where my subconscious gets this stuff! Shocking. Horrifying. Haunting. I try to redirect my thoughts when memories of the dreams hit me, but it’s tough. 

I think what I miss most about Birmingham is the hugs. I got so many great hugs from so many great people. I think the only hugs I’ve had in Dallas are from the few family members who have visited. They were great hugs, no doubt, but they were so fleeting. I just don’t feel comfortable hugging my few friends here and I don’t really know if they’re huggers in the first place. People never think I’m a hugger… I seem too cold, too unapproachable? Or is that just how I see myself through my depressive lens? Who knows (my psychologist probably…). Either way, I don’t have hugs ere and I fucking love hugs. LOVE. HUGS. 

I think it was in Cast Away when at the end of the movie, Tom Hanks’s character was blown away by the touch of another human being. Was it that movie? Or maybe Life as a House when Kevin Kline’s character is in the hospital. Anyway, I feel like that. Like I haven’t been touched, even in a friendly affectionate way, in a long time. Certainly it’s just been a few days since I had my goodbye hugs at the beach with my family, but here in Dallas on the whole, the affectionate touches have been far between. I need that. Human beings need contact, not necessarily in a sexual way, but in a friendly, familiar way. If I didn’t have a dog, I don’t think I would know how to continue to exist. 

I’ll wait til Monday. 

I’ll wait til Monday to see if the meds are working, particularly the sleeping pills. 

I’ll wait til Monday to send follow-up emails to the UAB and ASFA jobs. SOMEONE PLEASE HIRE ME. Ps. I’m awesome. Oh yeah, and depressed… but that has no effect on my work! 

I’ll wait til Monday. 

Keep on hoping. No improvement can only continue for so long, for everything must change. The Wheel of Fate never ceases to turn. 

All the Meds

December 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Went to both my psychiatrist and my psychologist today. Psychiatrist doubled my dosage of Lexapro and wrote me a prescription for an older anti-depressant that will basically act as a sleep aid for me. She also told me to start taking melatonin as well, but if all the meds together don’t force me to sleep like a normal human being, she’ll start me on a more serious sleep aid like ambien. If I can’t start getting a solid, peaceful 8 hours of sleep, I’m not going to be able to get any better. It’s a huge hinderance to me making progress so we’re trying to force my brain and body into taking a break and shutting down at bedtime. 

I know I’m really just taking three medications (four including my birth control) but it feels like I’m taking a lot. It’s freaking me out a lot, knowing that I’ve got a lot of chemicals in my system that should noticeably affect my daily life and feelings. But I have to take them to get better. 

Gotta keep going, kid. Just keep breathing. 

The Sublime

December 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’m on the last night of my brief week vacation with my parents and cousin at the beach, sneaking a moment alone to calm my mind, go through the car and luggage mentally to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind, and just settle into the knowledge that tomorrow I will be back at home in my own bed 700 miles away and alone.

I had a breakdown the other night. It should have been expected given the stress and shock of a full house–when I’m used to being alone–plus the added stress of two days of travel and the unexpected attendance of my grandparents. Probably should have been expected anyway, with or without the stress of the vacation, since I was due for a crying fest. I get them every couple of weeks. I think it lasted a lot longer since my mother and cousin wouldn’t let me be alone, meaning I had to talk about depression, treatment, etc. while feeling overwhelmed with embarrassment, guilt, and shame. It would have passed so much more quickly had I been alone. But people care. They have every right to and apparently nothing I say or do has much effect on that. So I went to bed with a terrible headache, severe nausea, and the knowledge that in the morning I would feel awkward about my complete inability to control my emotions. Mental illness sucks.

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I love the beach for a lot of reasons. I like laying out, feeling warm and sleepy as my skin soaks up UV filtered through SPF 50. I read the books that inspired the True Blood television series which are just the right balance of thriller, romance, and comedy with just a dash of horror and gore. It’s entertaining fluff and the beach is almost the only time I let myself read it. I like lying around all day and not feeling like I’m being unproductive — after all, I am tanning and reading and relaxing. Being on the beach seems way more respectable than lying in bed all day.

But I love the ocean too. Especially at night or early in the morning when the fog makes the ocean seem like it ends a mere 20 yards off the shore, leaving you with a sense of compression, as if the earth were in actuality a very small place (a la Truman Show).

But the ocean at night during clear skies is where I get my real kicks. When you stand on the cool sand, hearing the deafening crash of the ocean waves and nothing else. You look at this massive body of water that seems to fall from the sky, a black velvet undefinable heaven glittering with the most stars I’ve ever seen. Ocean and sky have no end to themselves, blending together seamlessly and seeming at once nothing and everything, far out of reach and immediate, crushing in on you.

It’s like standing at the beginning of the universe, looking into its completely unknowable face that reminds you how you are simultaneously everything in the universe and absolutely nothing but a tiny speck of insignificant atoms.

I mistook a cloud of atoms for a person. — C. S. Lewis

It makes me wonder about human beings and human nature. What crazy bastard stood at the edge of that seeming infinity of unknowable yet palpable power and kinetic energy and said “I want to sail into that, just to see what I can find.” No wonder humans thought the earth was flat — just stand on the beach at nighttime and you can fully understand why they would think that was the edge of the planet, the boundary with the rest of space, with emptiness.

No wonder ancient peoples looked at the churning waters that seem to be one and the same as the sky and thought that that was what creation sprang from, what humans and light and earth and animals emerged from. Looking at the ocean at night is like looking into the mind of a god, the heart of the universe, the energy and chaos of creation.

__________________________

The first time I saw the ocean at night, the first time I really saw it, was my freshman year of college. A very drunken walk with two of my friends ended with a frolic in the shallow waters of Hilton Head Island under the bright light of the moon.

I started sobbing hysterically, of course.

They assumed it was just because I was drunk, I think, but the truth is that it moved me, deeply, stirring something inside my heart that I still can’t really put my finger on, can’t properly identify or categorize.

This is, of course, my own feeling of the sublime, of feeling the unknowable, feeling in an intimate and primal way the overwhelming nature of the universe, my own humanity that is at once everything and nothing in the world.

________________________

No man is an island. 

This phrase runs so often through my head these days.

No man is an island.

I can’t do this alone. I won’t make it alone. Yet I cope so much better on my own. I feel so much better breaking down alone. No shame. No embarrassment. No awkwardness when I’ve regained control. No one has to know.

No man is an island.

Alone on the ghostly white sand at night, with the soft glow of suburbia safely behind me and only the crashing waves, inky black, spilling from a star-splattered sky spreading out into infinity before me, do I feel truly myself in such a trapped and freeing way.

No man is an island.

Yet there I am, at the edge of the universe, feeling like the last person in the world, clinging to my remaining senses and sense of humanness.

It makes you wonder what kind of bravery explorers must have felt, looking at that force, that energy, that Ultimate, and saying “I will conquer thee. I will know your depths, I will measure your dimensions.”

Is it bravery? Or foolishness? Is it courage or hubris? I can’t know that answer, I only feel a primal excitement and fear when gazing at the source of creation.

Where Am I?

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